Just something I saw today that reminded me that the government states that it is trying to maintain costs and increase efficiency, while, from the side where action occurs, costs for everything are rising at an alarming rate. Since there is almost zero inflation, there should be zero increase in governmental costs, right?

Wrong.

The cost of the United States passport, which, until yesterday was $100, is now, as of July 13, $135. That’s a 35% increase [overnight] for you not mathematically inclined – a major increase for a paper booklet.

Also on the rise is the stated importance of the booklet. Where once it was simply used when you traveled to other nations (which, until recently did not include Canada and Mexico), now the passport is being used more and more like the papers that German citizens were required to carry with them at all times in the time of the Third Reich.

from the Travel.State.Gov website –

New passport fees for the U.S. Passport Book, the U.S. Passport Card, and other passport services went into effect on Tuesday, July 13, 2010.

Use of Passport Fees

Passport application fees are not only used to cover the costs of producing a U.S. Passport Book or Passport Card. Passport fees also cover the costs of providing emergency services for American citizens overseas in crisis situations, such as the current earthquake disaster in Haiti, helping Americans who have been the victims of crime while traveling or living abroad, and providing support to the families of American citizens who have died overseas.

Passport application fees enable us to keep up with technology and implement fraud prevention initiatives to protect the United States passport. The security features of the U.S. passport book have received high praise from document security specialists the world over. Investing in new technology to prevent passport fraud is one of our key priorities, and an ongoing initiative.

Passport fees fund the expansion of passport infrastructure and service, allowing us to offer more timely service to the traveling public, maintain high standards for adjudication in accordance with US citizenship laws, and provide appropriate attention to fraud vulnerabilities.

Over the last few years, the demand for passports has increased to an average of 15 million per year. In FY 2005, we issued 10.1 million passports; peaked at 18.4 million in FY 2007; and expect to issue over 15 million in FY 2010. To increase our presence in underserved areas, the Department has undertaken a systematic expansion of the passport network, particularly in communities affected by the land border-crossing requirements associated with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. By the end of FY 2010, we will have 23 agencies providing emergency passport services to the general public, three high-volume application processing centers, and two large-scale document print centers.

Value of the Passport

The U.S. Passport Book and U.S. Passport Card for adults are valid for ten years. Passports for minors under age 16 are valid for five years. The U.S. Passport is not just used for travel anymore. It serves as proof of U.S. citizenship and identity for important purposes such as work authorization and eligibility for many Federal benefits.

As I view the above, the explanation makes sense to me, yet where things run off the tracks is when I think of another article I was reading, telling how many people (Americans – people who have lived here all their lives) are leaving to go to other countries, so that they may retire with some sort of life other than crude existence and the wait for the release that death brings.

This is fairly sad for a nation that is supposed to be the land of the free, and the home of the brave. How sad is it that we are being priced out of living in our own nation?

Not anything to jump up and scream about, but it should get at least some careful reflection, no matter where you find yourself on the circle of life.

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Marvin-the-martian

It never used to be so difficult to prove that you weren’t an alien…


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