OUR VIEW: Paying to visit

We say: Border fee would punish U.S. businesses as well as travelers

America wants to charge us for the privilege of visiting.

The Department of Homeland Security recently proposed a crossing fee for visitors traversing America’s northern and southern borders. The fee would help the department pay for the ever-increasing cost of keeping Americans safe.

And with a deficit already more than a trillion dollars combined with the indefatigable sense of paranoia that has gripped many of that country’s legislators since the terror attacks of 9/11, that cost is becoming onerous.

So why not hit up people crossing the border to buy a brick of cheese or fill up the gas tank in their car, or spending thousands of dollars on vacation to California? After all, income tax was supposed to be a temporary measure, and eventually everyone just became resigned to it as a less-than-beloved necessity.

A border tax isn’t a new idea. It gets floated every few years and is inevitably shot down by strong lobbying from border states that dread the hit their economies would take if Canadians decided it would be just as cheap to buy their cheese at home.

With the smell of gunpowder from last week’s bombings at the Boston Marathon still fresh, it’s a tempting source of revenue; charging the 350 million travelers who cross into the United States every year a few bucks every time they go through a border station would buy a lot of X-ray screeners and bomb sniffing wands. Not to mention pay the inflated salaries and pensions of bureaucrats who cook up and administer such programs.

But those travelers contribute $21 billion each year to the American economy, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. Even chipping away a bit of that would be devastating to a lot of gas station operators, hotels and grocery stores.

– Black Press