18 July 2006

User's Fees For National Security

Maybe you've read economics textbooks talk about how national defense is a common good that we all pay taxes for in exchange for receiving the protection of the national government. Forget about it. The Bush Administration believes in user's fees:

While Europe has been chartering its citizens back home for days now, it was just today that this government got its shit together (to use our Evangelical president's thoughtful language), and began evacuating a few hundred out of the about 8,000 who can't wait to leave. But there's a catch, Americans have to sign an agreement stating that they will reimburse the government for the evacuation. Let me repeat that: Americans being evacuated by our government due to attacks that our government supports, have to sign an agreement, before boarding, stating that they will reimburse the government for the evacuation.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was quoted saying "A nation that can provide more than $300 billion for a war in Iraq can provide the money to get its people out of Lebanon."

I don't remember Congress passing a law authorizing the Defense Department to charge U.S. citizens to be evacuated from war zones, but maybe the President just thinks that this is part of his inherent authority.

UPDATE: Secretary of State Rice rethinks this really bad idea and abandons the user's fee idea.

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