Disney, unhappy with a drop off in tourism, has come up with a novel idea to get people to go see the rat and his minion in Florida: tax them.
Jeff Birnbaum, writing in the Washington Post last year, did a stunning job capturing just what an astroturf campaign the tourism industry has created in Congress.
It is widely accepted at Disney -- if not empirically proved -- that one of every 15 visitors to the United States ends up at a Disney park. Leveraging the power of the federal government to bring more tourists from overseas, therefore, would wind up filling the pockets of the Mouse.
After gaining a consensus among his colleagues at Disney, and talking to people at the Travel Industry Association and the Roundtable, Gluck drafted his boss's "Apollo speech." It was meant to be Rasulo's call to arms. A big lobbying push was needed for a big Ask -- the term lobbyists use to describe what they are pleading for from Congress. Rasulo would not say so publicly, but he told colleagues privately that his Ask would be for at least $200 million a year in advertising funds -- four times what the Commerce Department had previously been directed to spend.
So Disney and the travel industry has convinced Congress to impose a $10.00 tax . . . "fee" . . . on visitors into the United States to pay for a handout to the travel and tourism industry — in addition to already allocated American tax dollars. The Senate is going to be working on this legislation shortly. It is called the Travel Promotion Act.
To put this in perspective, we have gone from a bailout for businesses to handouts for businesses. At what point does Congress realize we cannot afford to keep up the spending spree?
Oh, and you want results? Here's one of the ad campaigns to be subsidized by your tax dollars and foreign visitor "fees":