29 March 2011

BTC's Call to Action For... Additional Government Expenditure and Taxpayer Burden ... But For Why?

When pressure groups call for additional Government oversight - it is usually to right a wrong and prevent a hurt inflicted on a group or individual.

So you have to ask why is BTC asking for additional US Federal Government intervention into what is already one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world. So what are they asking for?

Here is the relevant section from a recent press release from BTC:

However, current legislation will not require the airlines to share the information with TMCs. If amended properly, however, the law would make price information about these services clear and easy to find and purchase through TMCs servicing managed travel accounts.

For all the rhetoric that has come from the Open Allies for Transparency in Airfares - this is the salient sentence that BTC wants you to petition your Congressman....

Include language in the Conference Report instructing the U.S. Department of Transportation to adopt a rule, already being considered, under which all airlines will be obligated to disclose airfares and all ancillary fees to consumers and to TMCs through which they choose to sell airline tickets.

So I ask you to examine this request and consider it VERY carefully.

There are two contradictory words in this statement.

They are OBLIGED and CHOOSE. That to me just doesn't make sense.

Further - why are we (oh yes the Professor is a law abiding and tax paying individual in the USA) - the US public being asked to pay for the additional big government at the very time when the US Government like many around the world are trying to pay off such huge debts.

Especially when you consider that there is already a vast amount of existing legislation that ensures that all pricing is indeed transparent.

So who actually benefits from this legislation? Actually it benefits 3 companies of which 2 are based in the USA - the third in Spain. These 2 US companies are owned by Private Equity firms. All three of which operate in a monopoly manner controlling volumes of business larger than any airline on the planet.

The proposed legislation is unnecessary, expensive and anti-competitive. It will set a dangerous precedent for any commercial enterprise in the USA who will be forced along with their intermediaries to disclose all pricing options.

This will add huge overhead to all and cause a nightmare of compliance. Can you imagine a travel agent who has to read to his customer the full pricing and fee information for every option he provides to his customer?

As I have said before - be careful what you wish for.

Now before another round of pork gets added to the VERY necessary legislation that this country needs - which is a next gen Air Traffic Control System - make sure you tell your legislative representative that you don't want him wasting our money.

Thanks for reading.

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