Jun 172009

Radley Balko:

Just so I have this straight… the U.S. government is going to charge foreign travelers $10 per visit in order to… fund a campaign urging foreigners to travel to the U.S.

And this is all because tourism is down, due all the money we’ve spent on post 9-11 efforts to make it more difficult for foreigners to come here.

Can’t wait until these people are in charge of health care!

  2 Responses to “Your government at work”

  1. 23.89 million tourists in 2008…let’s see, that means a marketing budget of $238.9 million.



  2. I won’t dispute the appearances of making the charge explicit, as this seems it may have done, but the principle strikes me as straightforwardly equivalent to the funding of most advertising. If General Mills runs an ad for Cheerios, they pay for that ad by a combination of raising the price on my box of Cheerios and taking a per unit profit cut that they’ll make up in volume (digging into the articles, I see that the $10 fee is to fund a third of the campaign, with the government providing the rest). If I’m less willing, as a consequence of the price increase I face, to buy Cheerios, then the advertisement hasn’t done its job. And if sales increase, but General Mills earns less profit, then the accountants haven’t done their job. Both of those are potential concerns one could have about the particulars of this policy, either that the campaign is going to be ineffective or that $10 is the wrong amount. But Balko’s implication that it is inherently foolish is only sound if you presuppose the ineffectiveness of the campaign.


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