published Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Barrett: Having torpedoed the housing market, D.C. eyes airlines

Gotta love it when the federal government blames everybody but itself for the misery casseroles it deposits on the nation's doorstep.

First we had the housing collapse, courtesy in large part of government-run mortgage behemoths Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie's and Freddie's post-collapse bailouts may cost taxpayers close to $200 billion -- far more than any private company got.

Yet what was Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., saying about Fannie and Freddie in 2003? "The more people, in my judgment, exaggerate a threat of safety and soundness, the more people conjure up the possibility of serious financial losses to the Treasury, which I do not see. I think we see entities that are fundamentally sound financially and withstand some of the disaster scenarios. ..."

Do tell.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said two years later: "I think Fannie and Freddie need some changes, but I don't think they need dramatic restructuring in terms of their mission, in terms of their role in the secondary mortgage market, et cetera. Change some of the accounting and regulatory issues, yes, but don't undo Fannie and Freddie."

Oh we didn't, Senator. Instead, we let them shepherd the economy into an industrial shredder bought on credit from China. The American people hemorrhaged $7 trillion in household wealth, and now Washington types are placing responsibility for that not on Fan-Fred but almost solely on the lenders that were encouraged or pressured by government to dish out home loans that would make a payday lender blush.

More fun still, the federal government -- having deflected culpability for the suffering it created in the housing market -- has now set up stone-throwing operations in another glass house. New regulations are forcing airlines to make taxes part of their advertised ticket prices. The result? There is suddenly less transparency about how much a flight actually costs versus how much it costs once government piles on. (In 2011, federal taxes amounted to 20 percent of the average ticket price.)

In a word game fit for "1984," the government claims it is just making airlines disclose fully the price of a ticket. But customers were already able to see the total cost -- including taxes -- long before they completed the purchase of a ticket, so the disclosure excuse is bogus. Washington's end game is to be able to veil tax increases in higher advertised ticket prices that can then be attributed to gouging by carriers.

Spirit Airlines, which along with Southwest and Allegiant has sued to stop the new rules on making taxes part of advertised fares, had some choice words for this con game:

"Thanks to the U.S. Department of Transportation's latest fare rules, Spirit must now HIDE the government's taxes and fees in your fares," the company wrote on its website. "If the government can hide taxes in your airfares, then they can carry out their hidden agenda and quietly increase their taxes. (Yes, such talks are already underway.) And if they can do it to the airline industry, what's next?"

Writing in The Houston Chronicle on proposed higher ticket and other taxes on airlines -- $36 billion worth over 10 years -- the CEOs of American, Southwest and United pointed out that "Washington has come to use the industry as an efficient tax collection agency that shields those imposing the tax increases from responsibility."

Chattanoogan Wayne Evans, interviewed by the Times Free Press at Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport, saw through the tax-cloaking scheme.

"It's a manipulation to fool the consumer," he said.

That it is. It does violence to the principle that keeping taxes separate from the price of actually producing a good or service holds government accountable by making consumers aware of how much they're paying specifically in taxes.

If Washington can raise taxes on airline tickets while making the price increase look like private-sector gouging -- you know, by airlines such as American, which is doing so great that it had to file for bankruptcy protection last year -- then rest assured you'll soon pay higher prices for flights. You just may not realize tax increases are a big part of the reason why.

Reach Steve Barrett at 423-757-6329 or sbarrett@timesfreepress.com.

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conservative said...

"Spirit Airlines, which along with Southwest and Allegiant has sued to stop the new rules on making taxes part of advertised fares, had some choice words for this con game: "Thanks to the U.S. Department of Transportation's latest fare rules, Spirit must now HIDE the government's taxes and fees in your fares," the company wrote on its website. "If the government can hide taxes in your airfares, then they can carry out their hidden agenda and quietly increase their taxes. (Yes, such talks are already underway.) And if they can do it to the airline industry, what's next?""

The same type of con game already exists with corporate taxes as well. This tax is passed onto the consumer in the form of higher prices for goods and services, yet Lieberals and Demoncrats have gotten their sheep ( sheep are dumb ) into calling for higher corporate taxes totally unaware they are calling for higher prices on what they buy. How dumb is that? Of course these same sheep will blame the "evil" corporations for the price increases just as they will blame the airlines here.

Great article, glad it will be posted all week.

February 5, 2012 at 6 p.m.
chet123 said...

conservative...see you pushing the same old lies....that dog wont hunt!....What americans see is Corporation trying to take over Government.......Just how many lobbyist do working class people have scheming in their behalf......Hmmmmm?...The only Government I fear is Republican Government...Yes Republican Government that is beholding ,owned and a suck puppet to large corporations and rich and greedy.....

Seen to me you are the dummy.....and butt kisser!

February 6, 2012 at 8:59 a.m.
chet123 said...

Good try Barrett.....but next time tell the whole story!You know what party let Corporations run wild.....Be specific.....dont bunch the two party together....talk about the bribes and pay-off the quid pro quo btween the politicians and corporations.......

Washington DC is a reflexion of the politician that is place in office....the media ignored term limitation, the media ignored campaign reform, the media ignored inside trading by congress,you ignored 8 years of George Bush driving down the economy(you only waved the flag and pushed the unpaid iraq war)....heaven forebid anyone say anything aboout George Bush....no matter how true it was(ask Dan Rather)ha ha ha

Now the media people like you finally wake from a deep slumber from 2000-2008 really amaze me ha ha ha now the country have a deep deficit that was created from 2000-2008...when we had a surplus 2000....really amazing BARRETT!!!ha ha ha !

February 6, 2012 at 9:30 a.m.
chet123 said...

PS...barrett....why would you be so concern about air travel in CHATTANOOGA.....the last time I check....there were about a couple of crop dusters in this one HORSE TOWN ha ha ha

February 6, 2012 at 9:32 a.m.
conservative said...

Chet--

I have to admit, you caught me. I should have known I would not be able to fool you. Why there is just no way that a tax raise on corporations would ever be passed onto the consumer. Anyone with any brains at all knows they would just eat the cost of a tax increase untill they were breaking even or go out of business.

Do you write books on how to run a successful business?

February 6, 2012 at 5:26 p.m.
chet123 said...

Hey conservative....Not all corporations are that vinditive...Only the anti-america corporation would be that grudging...American history prove that is not true...This country had immeasurable about of corporations in the past that paid a higher percentage in taxes and noone went out of business...The Rich and Greedy corporation that are determine to evade paying taxes....Let them go out of business!!!..LET THEM GO OUT OF BUSINESS!....I hope they leave the country and stopp blood-sucking America..The middle-class and working-class have made too many sacrifices too many lives have been lost in building this great NATION...too many young lives been lost on battle field to maintain the soveigncy of America the Beautiful!...Other company will fill their vacancy!!!!...and why are you more concern about the big rich and greedy corporation than paying down the debt,rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, or education.

Corporationa have amass trillions of dollars in revenue....beleive me CONSERVATIVE they are during better than you are my friend

You ask me if I wrote books on how to run successful business ha ha ha....whats your point???? I dont understand why you would bring book writing into our conversation ha ha ha ha..THAT A STUPID QUESTION TO ASK CONSERVATIVE.....People who have change this country for the betterment were not book writers....one of America greatest Industrialist was a man name Henry Ford...DO YOU THINK FORD SAT DOWN AND WROTE A BOOK BEFORE THE FIRST T-MODEL ROLL THROUGH THE ASSEMBLY LINE Hmmmmm????

CONSERVATIVE.....i like the way you flaunt your twisted idiocy....you are persistently wrong.....And you talk as if you were a Multi-Billionare....ha ha ha....you are middle-class my friend!!...or you wouldnt be living in this town ha ha ha ha

February 7, 2012 at 12:28 p.m.
chet123 said...

Conservative...please let me know when you will be back posting....i have some question for you to answer.... OK???

February 7, 2012 at 12:38 p.m.
tipper said...

Conservative: You do know that Ray LaHood, Transportation Secretary, is a Republican and ex-congressman from Central Illinois, so not all conservatives talk the talk and walk the walk?If you want someone to blame, know to whom you are pointing your finger.

February 7, 2012 at 2:06 p.m.
chet123 said...

WHEN TALKING TO THESE REPUBLICAN RIGHT-WING NUTS..ITS LIKE SHOOTING FISH IN A BARREL.....

CONSERVATIVE IS PROBABLY A GOOD GUT BUT IT IS REALLY SAD TO HEAR GROWN MAN LIKE "CONSERVATIVE" TALK ON HIS CHILDISH LEVEL

February 7, 2012 at 2:38 p.m.

Joining the republican party doesn't make someone a conservative. Both parties are working for the same goal. There is no difference between the two. Conservative is absolutely right. Nothing you or chet123 has written addresses the facts.

The fact is as chet123 pointed out, that corporations are buying the corrupt politicians on both sides of the aisle. The problem is corrupt politicians that can be bought.

February 8, 2012 at 3:24 p.m.
chet123 said...

FLYINGPURPLRSHEEPLEEATER....what world are you living in....i talk to HUNDRED'S of republicans and they all are goosestepping to the rich and greedy......they are all supporting the conservative agenda which have drove this country into the ground....and for you to say there is no difference....dont play games.....maybe 40years ago the two parties had some similarities but that was when the republicans had respect in congress with congressman like Bob Michael(Ilinois) politician that you could respect eventhough your views was different.

The Republican Party today have whored themselves out to the rich and greedy,the oil corporation,the banks, the Big Insurance corporation.....one good example is the supreme court....the republican appointed judge are puppets for corporation.....i.e.CORPORATION ARE PEOPLE MY FRIEND OR MONEY IS SPEECH(THAT SAYING IF YOU WORKING CLASS YOU HAVE NO SPEECH)those were REGAN and BUSH appointees

And for you to say theres no difference in the TWO.....ARE YOU DELUSIONAL????.....AND YOU SAY JOINING THE REPUBLICAN PARTY DOESNT MAKE A PERSON CONSERVATIVE....THAT ONLY TRUE IF THEY NEVER VOTE ....HOW MUCH SENSE WILL THAT MAKE......STOP HIDING AND ADMIT YOU ARE CONSEVATIVE REPUBLICAN....EVERY DAY PEOPLE SEE YOUR CANDIDATES BRAGGING ABOUT WHO THE MOST CONSERVATIVE.......

FLYINGPURPLE.....I HAVE READ ALL YOUR TRACKS....YOU ARE A RIGHT-WING REPUBLICAN NUT.....GUESS YOU DECIDED TO COME TO CONSERVATIVE RESCUE HA HA HA....YOUR PARTY IS KILLING THIS COUNTRY....YOU HAVE UNDERMINDED THE MIDDLE-CLASS....YOU HAVE SOLD YOUR SOUL FOR "30 PIECES" OF SILVER.....

February 8, 2012 at 10:55 p.m.

Uh huh. The meds you are taking are still off. Have your doctor adjust the dosage.

It seems the debt we are incurring and the stone around our necks are from socialist policies. They were put in place by both parties. They are what is destroying our economy and our society. Both parties are working to destroy us. Both parties are selling their votes. While most of the non-politician republican voters are conservate, the politician portion at the federal level is mostly corrupt. They are selling us down the river.

I am conservative, but not republican as it is being represented by the federal republican membership. Socialism is killing this country and undermining the middle class. Our country is under siege. If the "conservative agenda" you are referring to is the agenda being put forward by the congress and the senate, you are talking about the socialist agenda. I don't support that. I support the constitution and the bill of rights. I support your right to put your thoughts into semi-cogent sentences and make a fool of yourself. You can thank people like me later if we make it through this siege of facists. If we don't.....

February 9, 2012 at 11:08 a.m.
chet123 said...

HA HA HA....SO YOU WANT TO BE A FUNNY MAN....SEE YOU DODGING THE ISSUES FUNNY MAN.....WITH YOUR PSEUDO INTELLECT.......DID YOU USE THE WORD SOCIALISM HA HA HA HA HA...HEY FOOL....WHAT DESTROYING OUR ECONOMY WAS YOUR "FASCIST" REPUBLICAN CONGRESS PUSHED NAFTA ON AMERICA....FOOL YOU SENT OUR TAX BASE OVERSEAS....CAN YOU UNDERSTAND THAT....NO JOBS NO TAX REVENUE.LISTEN CLOSELY....NOOO... JOBB...NOO... TAXX... BASEE....."HOW CAN ANYONE BE SO TONE DEAF"....MAYBE IT WAS BECAUSE YOUR RICH AND GREEDY FRIEND WANTED CHEAP LABOR SO THEY COULD MAX THEIR INCOME Hmmmmm???? HEY WISE GUY... HAVE THAT EVER ENTER YOUR LITTLE PEA-BRAIN..Hmmmm?

YOU SAID YOU WERE CONSERVATIVE BUT NOT REPUBLICAN HA HA HA HA....SHAME TO ADMIT IT?...HUHHHHHH?..CONSERVATIVE HA HA HA HA BUT NOT REPUBLICAN HA HA HA HA......YOU ARE REALLY FUNNY!!!!...MAYBE YOU ARE A FUNNY MAN!!!! HA HA HA.....LET ME ASK YOU SOMETHING?????WHAT IN THE RAT BUTT HAVE CONSERVATIVE EVER DONE FOR THIS COUNTRY,,Hmmm?WHAT!....BESIDE BLOOD SUCK AND PARASITE THIS ECONOMY...RESPONSIBLE FOR A CIVIL-WAR THAT LEFT 600,000 AMERICAN DEAD..SEAGREGATION IN THE SOUTH THAT MADE SECOND CLASS CITIZEN OUT OF PEOPLE OF COLOR.....AND YOU STICK OUT YOUR "BIRD CHEST" AS IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO BE PROUD OF.....I'M CONSERVATIVE...I'M CONSERVATIVE...I'M CONSERVATIVE...WHAT BS...WHAT BS!!!

AMERICA WAS A STRONGE NATION UNTIL REAGAN WAS ELECTED WITH HIS CONSERVATIVE PLATFORM....IF YOU LOOK AT A INCOME CHART YOU WILL SEE THE 1% AND MIDDLE-CLASS INCOME GAP WAS CONSISTENT FROM 1940--UNTIL 1980...BUT 1980 IT SHARPLY TOOK A TURN UP FOR THE 1% AND STAGNATED FOR THE MIDDLE-CLASS..UNTIL 2008...THIS WAS BECAUSE OF REAGAN CONSERVATIVE POLICIES....THE STUPID TRICKLE DOWN THEORY..HA HA HA......INDUCE AN ATMOSHERE SO THE RICH COULD MAKE ALL THE MONEY AND OUT OF GENEROSITY THEY WOULD DROP A FEW CRUMBS ON THE MIDDLE CLASS....THE ONLY PROBLEM IS IT DONT WORK....AND YOU WANT TO GO BACK TO IT HA HA HA

FLYING PURPLE...I KNEW ALL ALONE YOU WERE A REPUBLICAN WHO CANT DEFEND HIS BELEIF.....YOU ARE ALSO A HATER....I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE ABOUT TEN MINUTES WITH YOU MY FRIEND......THE FIRST THING I WOULD TELL YOU IS TO CEASE WATCHING FOX NEWS....MAYBE IT NOT TOO LATE....STOP READING THOSE LYING RIGHT-WING LINKS(THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF THEM)....THEY ARE ALL INTER-CONNECTED MY FRIEND...THEY ARE BANK-ROLLED BY THE RICH AND GREEDY......THEN I WOULD TELL YOU TO PRAY MY FRIEND....BECAUSE YOU SOUND LIKE AN OLD GRUMPY MAN......ONCE AGAIN AS YOU WERE DURING THE 50'S AND 60'S...ON THE WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY....YOU MAY WANT TO CHANGE CHURCH AND YOUR BIGOT FRIENDS.....MAYBE YOU ARE NOT A LOST CAUSE MY FRIEND....

February 10, 2012 at 5:04 p.m.

I am NOT your friend, but I am your countryman. I would defend your rights to my last breath, but I would break you down in a heartbeat if I saw you violating someone else's. Have you tried decaf?

February 27, 2012 at 12:25 p.m.
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