Sunday musings: Peru Video, TSA’s union agreement, fighting EU’s carbon offset rule


Today we take a look at what I consider an exceptional video that creates an urge to travel — to Peru this time. TSA ratifies its new collective bargaining agreement; is it good for security? Lastly, we examine the coming Congressional action against a European carbon-offset plan directed at US airlines.

Peru tourism video rocks
Here is a creative video that touts the beauty of Peru. It doesn’t simply present images and sightseeing focal points, but it creates a desire to travel, a desire to explore, a desire to experience something different. It is one of the best travel videos I have seen recently. I hope this is the first of many more.

TSA’s first union contract
TSA employees just finished voting on their first American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) union contract. It doesn’t deal with anything security or pay related, but rather on the more everyday mundane — discipline, uniforms, time off, tattoos, tie tacks and other work-rule issues.

“This agreement will mean better working conditions, fair evaluation practices and safer workplaces, and in doing so, it will improve morale,” Cox [AFGE President] said. “This is important because low morale leads to unsafe levels of attrition in an agency where a stable, professional workforce of career employees is vital to its national security mission.”

In a separate statement, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee noted:

The Congressional analysis of the TSA labor agreement for 45,000 federal security screeners concludes that it provides few real benefits to TSA employees and only further diverts focus from TSA’s core functions of analyzing intelligence and ensuring the security of air travelers. “This agency should be devoting every available resource to improving upon its poor track record of security blunders and missteps, not diverting its attention to deals that stipulate which direction screeners can wear the brim of their hats,” Mica [House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman] said.

Opposition to the European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) intensifies in Congress

A group of airline industry, travel and consumer associations such as Airlines for America, American Society of Travel Agents and the Consumer Travel Alliance have been working in Congress to develop a national stance on the imposition of European Union (EU) carbon offset taxes on US flights to Europe. Their opposition is based on the collection of fees for flights over international waters as well as the continental US; plus, the fees collected do not have to be used for environmental purposes. It smacks of taxation without representation. Meanwhile, an international organization under the auspices of the United Nations is developing environmental rules.

Both the House and Senate have already passed legislation; now they have to compromise in conference committee and send it to the President for signature.

The purported reason for this illegal tax is to benefit the environment. But none of the funds collected by the EU have to be used for environmental purposes. The ETS system is nothing more than a cash-grab by money-starved European countries. Congress has no choice but to act to prevent the illegal tax from being imposed on our carriers and passengers.

The U.S. is not alone in its opposition to the EU ETS. Other major countries, including Australia, Brazil and India, have expressed concerns similar to ours. But the U.S. should lead this fight, not only to protect U.S. sovereignty and jobs but to help bring the EU back to the negotiating table in support of the right way forward — the Global Sectoral Approach.