Why is the Senate in the Tourism Business?

The Senate yesterday voted to charge international travelers a $10 fee to help pay for a new nonprofit corporation that would promote tourism in the United States. See here.

A reasonable person could be forgiven for wondering why the Senate is even bothering with such minutiae, as well as questioning the economic wisdom of such legislation, fraught as it is with unintended consequences to other sectors of the economy, possible retaliatory fees for U.S. travelers, etc. But, once again, scratch the surface and there’s a perfectly rational (political) explanation:

In backing the legislation, Democrats were also looking to give Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a boost as he seeks a fifth term representing the state of Nevada.

Mary L. G. Theroux is Chairman and Chief Executive of the Independent Institute.
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