In times of crisis, American industry and government impose “temporary” fees and taxes to supposedly help them weather the storm. When the crisis passes, those fees seem to stick around. Why? Because those that instituted the fees and/or taxes intended them to be permanent from the beginning. They had no intention at all of making the newly imposed taxes and fees “temporary”.
This lie festers in the wounds caused by government and industry in America. Government’s hidden or “temporary” taxes are a governmental boondoggle that picks the pocket of all Americans. They supposedly pass laws to protect us all, and then they lie to us to tap our wallets.
An example? A temporary law in Massachusetts to help build up its infrastructure. Massachusetts passed an excise tax on automobiles. The tax was to be “temporary” to assist in the restructuring of the state’s roads, bridges, etc. What happened when it was time to repeal the tax?? The state legislature made it permanent.
The moral? There is no such thing as a “temporary” tax. Once instated, the government will find every way possible to make it permanent. As a direct corollary, there is no such thing as a permanent tax benefit. The government will find every way possible once a tax benefit is provided (Capital Gains Tax Reduction for example) to get rid of it. It is their central focus.
The government will always find some way to justify taking away your tax credit or deduction. For example, they will tell you the tax credit was for the rich, so we have to protect you all by removing it for your own good, as they pass the Wagyu beef amongst themselves. They will tell you that tax credit is a loophole that must be closed because it is helping the rich not you. They will claim the tax credit is somehow discriminatory towards the poor, minorities or your pet dog. These are all lies to get you to accept your loss. The next time the government tells you they are closing a loophole (government’s bad word for a tax benefit), think first. Is that loophole really helping you? If it is, they are lying. If they are removing a tax credit because they claim it benefits the rich and you lost money on your taxes as a result, ask yourself if you are rich. Most likely the answer is no, and that means once again, it was a lie.
So, why do we bring this up in the context of discussing the airlines? Because the airline industry has found a way to pick your pocket in the same fashion, and in the process, they have lied to us all. If you have flown any time in the past year, you realize most airlines have added on fees for checked baggage, no matter how far you travel or how long you stay.
The fees are imposed without consideration of the weight of the bag you check (except for exorbitant fees if a bag is overweight). A checked 10 pound bag costs exactly the same as a 40 pound bag. They know you HAVE TO CARRY BAGS and they have you at their mercy when you are standing in line at the check-in!!
Not only are the airlines charging baggage fees, but most have also started charging for everything else in creation. Snacks. Meals. In some cases even charging $2.00 for a can of Coke and $6.00 for a snack!!
The airlines imposed these fees when fuel prices were skyrocketing at around $3.50 to $4.00 a gallon, and claimed they needed to make up for their expense. They were lying and merely using high fuel prices as an excuse. If they were being sincere, they would have just raised fares, but they needed a more insidious way of tapping your wallets. Rather than buying more fuel efficient planes or legitimately raising fares, they thrust the burden on you with hidden fees, those you can’t compare with other airlines and that you are hit with when you are most vulnerable.
The result?? People are now finding every way possible to carry on their luggage items, significantly slowing down the check in process. The baggage fees exacerbate the problem of security because it inherently makes it easier for terrorists to carry on items that get missed because so many carry-ons are passing through security.
This is just extortion in the name of saving fuel. In some cases, baggage charges have gotten so ludicrous that some airlines charging up to $50-$75 for one pound of luggage. But think for a minute, do they offer a discount on the seat for underweight passengers? NO! Certainly a child weighing in at 30-40 pounds should get a discount over a man weighing 300 pounds if weight or fuel consumption were actually the issue. It isn’t.
Now that fuel prices have collapsed, have the airlines rescinded any of their fees? Quite the contrary. They have embraced them making them even worse. This just endorses the fact that their claim the fees were to compensate for high fuel costs was a complete lie.
The fees are great for the airlines, because imposing them allows them to conceal what they are really charging you for airfare. When you shop for a ticket online or anywhere else, you cannot see the hidden fees charged by a specific airline. So, the more hidden fees an airline has, the more competitive that airline looks, when in actuality they are robbing their customers blind. The customer is led to believe that is just the way things are throughout the industry, encouraging other airlines to do the same.
This is the same tactic the banks used on mortgages and other loans for decades before the government caught on and passed regulations making them expose the real costs of loans to the consumer, listing the APR, allowing the consumer to compare loan offers before committing. You should write your congressman today and demand the airline fees be placed under the same scrutiny to provide the consumer a fair comparison of airfares. You should also contact the airlines and tell them how disgusted you are with their fees.