January 16, 2017

1968. An Idea for a More Productive Congress

On President Johnson's Proposed Travel Tax on American Tourists
Bill Downs in Washington, DC reporting for CBS in the 1950s
Bill Downs

ABC Washington - Information Reports

January 3, 1968

Reports that President Johnson will propose a kind of travel tax on American tourists who want to vacation in Europe or other areas outside the Western Hemisphere has both the travel bureau industry and the international jet set in a state of shock.

Most everyone understands and sympathizes with the government efforts to stop the gold drain, but to slap an exit fee on the American who's been saving up his money for his only lifetime chance to see Paris or Rome, many think is carrying the "balance of payments" bit just too far.

Besides, for years the government has been pushing this people-to-people thing; propagandizing the US citizenry as well as foreigners on all sides of all curtains that the shortest route to international understanding is for ordinary people to travel in each other's back yards.

Besides, it smacks of a police state for an American to be forced to pay an assessment to leave his own native land.

We suggest the government could substantially increase the national gold hoard at Fort Knox if it slapped its overseas travel tax on the senators and representatives who each year junket around the world to inspect the foreign beehive industries and other such important missions.

Why, during the next six weeks alone, the government could pick up a tidy sum from the parade of congressmen junketing to Vietnam to have a peek at the war and therefore make themselves instant experts on Southeast Asia. At least thirty-eight members of Congress will junket before the winter is over.

A travel tax on Capitol Hill might enable Congress to get more work done if its members were not contemplating that impending free junket to far away places with strange sounding names.

This is Bill Downs in Washington.