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Trip July 26th, 2011 03:34 PM

Air fare tax refund???
 
If you just flew recently, or will soon, they say you are due a refund on taxes, due to the goverment debaucle....are you holding your breath?


Airlines Benefiting from Ticket Tax 'Holiday', Not Passengers - ABC News

Rev22:17 July 26th, 2011 06:33 PM

Linda,

Quote:

Originally Posted by You (Post 1383535)
If you just flew recently, or will soon, they say you are due a refund on taxes, due to the goverment debaucle....are you holding your breath?


Airlines Benefiting from Ticket Tax 'Holiday', Not Passengers - ABC News

Ah, don't expect a refund.

>> 1. Nearly all airline ticket taxes apply as of the date of sale of the ticket rather than as of the date of the flight. Thus, if the government raises a tax or levies a new tax after you buy your ticket, you are not liable -- but, conversely, if a tax expires or gets reduced after you buy your ticket, there's no refund.

>> 2. And in any case, all of the the airlines raised their fares by the amount of the tax that expired when one of the taxes on airline tickets expired recently. (In the past, they typically have lowered their fares by the amount of a tax hike when the government has raised taxes.)

So the bottom line is that there's no change in what you pay. All that changes is where the money goes.

Norm.

AR July 26th, 2011 10:25 PM

To me, whether or not somebody gets to beat the tax on a plane ticket or two is a sideshow compared to the real downsides of the FAA shutdown.

First and foremost, 4,000 more people nationwide have stopped getting their paychecks. Even though air traffic controllers and FAA safety inspectors are still working, all those other people have, temporarily at least, joined the unemployment roles. The nation can obviously not afford that.

And there's more. Two years ago almost exactly, not long after the Colgan crash in Buffalo, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt convened an Aviation Rulemaking Committee, comprised of pilots, airline management, and the FAA itself, to examine the regulations regarding flight time and duty time for airline pilots. You may remember this happening--it actually made the news. These regulations have not been revised in any significant way in decades, since the days of prop planes, when crews seldom crossed more than a single time zone in a day. Moreover, the current rules were written before there was any significant science about circadian rhythms and all the other medical issues concerned with the kinds of lives pilots lead.

The president of the Air Line Pilots Association asked Cap'n Matt to take part in the group, and he spent six weeks at FAA headquarters to hammer out a draft of a new set of regulations. It was nice to have him home for a time, and he and the rest of the group worked very hard come up with a new set of regulations. They heard testimony from top people in the scientific world, worked to balance the impact on both pilots and airlines, did a lot of good-faith give and take.

In the two years since then, the regs have been slogging their way through the bureaucracy. There had to be a public comment period; the whole thing had to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office to determine any impact on the federal budget; all sorts of hoop-jumping.

Exactly, one year ago, Congress got impatient, and actually passed a law saying that if the final regs were not promulgated by August 1, 2011, the FAA's funding would be withheld.

This got their attention, and as far as anybody knows, the whole deal is supposed to come down this week, or Monday at the latest.

Naturally, we're checking the news every day to see whether anything happens. The cruel irony would be if because Congress has already withheld funding and shut down the FAA, the people who were supposed to publish the rules are out of work and can't do it. If they're not published by Monday, of course the FAA is in violation of the law passed last year by Congress, and is subject to having its funding withheld. . .again.

I believe this is what is known as a classic Catch-22.

And far from a ticket tax, this issue is one that impacts the safety of all aboard every airliner. It will still take some time to implement the regs after they're published, because all pilot contracts will have to be reopened and adjusted to mesh with the new rules. So the sooner this happens the better for all of us.

Aidan July 27th, 2011 12:18 AM

AR, I'm not so sure it is "Congress" as much as the group of Tea Party congressmen and women who are literally opposing everything.

President Obama could promote a bill promoting Christian love and they would rail against it.

Most Americans see it as "just politics", but I suspect that is about to change.

Rev22:17 July 28th, 2011 06:14 PM

Aidan,

Quote:

Originally Posted by You (Post 1383626)
I'm not so sure it is "Congress" as much as the group of Tea Party congressmen and women who are literally opposing everything.

That's not really a very accurate characterization of the "TEA Party" members of Congress. The members of the "TEA Party" have been very clear for what they stand -- cutting government spending from the current levels, which are historically unprecedented, to balance the federal budget. This is in fact very sound policiy. We simply cannot go on mortgaging the incomes of future generations without disastrous consequences, and raising tax rates above current levels will plunge us itno a much deeper and more protracted recession.

BTW, "TEA" (for "Taxed Enough Already") is correctly all capitals because it is an acronym.

That said, I fully agree that the enforcement arm of the FAA probably is not the best place to make deep cuts.

Norm.

Rev22:17 July 28th, 2011 06:35 PM

AR,

Quote:

Originally Posted by You (Post 1383609)
First and foremost, 4,000 more people nationwide have stopped getting their paychecks.

They are far from alone. There are a lot of people out of work right now due to cut-backs of government contracts, too. But the fact that government spending pays salaries does not justify the government spending money on jobs that don't need to be done. I'm not saying that all 4,000 non-essential FAA positions suspended by the agency's shutdown are in that category, but over half probably are.

Quote:

Originally Posted by You
And there's more. Two years ago almost exactly, not long after the Colgan crash in Buffalo, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt convened an Aviation Rulemaking Committee, comprised of pilots, airline management, and the FAA itself, to examine the regulations regarding flight time and duty time for airline pilots. You may remember this happening--it actually made the news. These regulations have not been revised in any significant way in decades, since the days of prop planes, when crews seldom crossed more than a single time zone in a day. Moreover, the current rules were written before there was any significant science about circadian rhythms and all the other medical issues concerned with the kinds of lives pilots lead.

The president of the Air Line Pilots Association asked Cap'n Matt to take part in the group, and he spent six weeks at FAA headquarters to hammer out a draft of a new set of regulations. It was nice to have him home for a time, and he and the rest of the group worked very hard come up with a new set of regulations. They heard testimony from top people in the scientific world, worked to balance the impact on both pilots and airlines, did a lot of good-faith give and take.

In the two years since then, the regs have been slogging their way through the bureaucracy. There had to be a public comment period; the whole thing had to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office to determine any impact on the federal budget; all sorts of hoop-jumping.

Exactly, one year ago, Congress got impatient, and actually passed a law saying that if the final regs were not promulgated by August 1, 2011, the FAA's funding would be withheld.

This got their attention, and as far as anybody knows, the whole deal is supposed to come down this week, or Monday at the latest.

Naturally, we're checking the news every day to see whether anything happens. The cruel irony would be if because Congress has already withheld funding and shut down the FAA, the people who were supposed to publish the rules are out of work and can't do it. If they're not published by Monday, of course the FAA is in violation of the law passed last year by Congress, and is subject to having its funding withheld. . .again.

I believe this is what is known as a classic Catch-22.

And far from a ticket tax, this issue is one that impacts the safety of all aboard every airliner. It will still take some time to implement the regs after they're published, because all pilot contracts will have to be reopened and adjusted to mesh with the new rules. So the sooner this happens the better for all of us.

In that case, the agency needs to take a good look in the mirror and ask why it took nearly two years after the panel finished its work to complete the process and get the new regulations into effect. If sound, these regulations should have been in force no later than six months after the panel completed them.

As an aside, there are far too many bureaucrats in our government whose job is to draft new regulations. Most of these bureaucrats have to issue new regulations frequently to justify the continued existence of their positions on the federal payroll, and the new regulations often provide marginal benefit with considerable cost. The particular example that you cite is a notable exception in that there's a substantial body of new research behind the proposed changes so the new regulations should provide substantial imprivements in safety. Nonetheless, dragging out the process provided justification for the positions for that much longer while our airspace still is not as safe as it should be. AFAIC, this whole dynamic is completely unsatisfactory and thus needs to be changed.

Norm.

venice July 28th, 2011 09:04 PM

you can go online to the PBS website and view the excellent Frontline segment that AR is referring to..duty time for a flight crew is calculated once the aircraft door is shut and the jetway pulled and not the waiting time in the terminal thus most flight crews have very long actual days which lends to fatigue

this was a perfect opportunity to be proactive with all the keystakeholders having input..instead we usually only see action (and televised hearings) when there is an incident

Norm..the TEA Party may have started out with those lofty intentions but their agenda has taken on dark clouds and entered into the states rights arena and some very serious racial implications from the many factions of their leadership

AR July 28th, 2011 10:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by venice (Post 1383910)
you can go online to the PBS website and view the excellent Frontline segment that AR is referring to..duty time for a flight crew is calculated once the aircraft door is shut and the jetway pulled and not the waiting time in the terminal thus most flight crews have very long actual days which lends to fatigue

this was a perfect opportunity to be proactive with all the keystakeholders having input..instead we usually only see action (and televised hearings) when there is an incident

Norm..the TEA Party may have started out with those lofty intentions but their agenda has taken on dark clouds and entered into the states rights arena and some very serious racial implications from the many factions of their leadership

Venice--Not to split hairs (OK, I will), but you got your terms wrong. "Flight time" starts when the emergency brake is released and ends when it is reset at the destination. "Duty time" is the work day, and includes the time between flights, etc.

Currently, duty time ends when flight time ends on the last segment of the day. This means that the time it takes for the crew to get off the plane, through the airport, find the van driver, and get to the hotel are all considered part of the "rest" period. One of the changes will be that duty time will not end until arrival at the hotel. This may dissuade airlines from contracting with hotels where they can get rooms five bucks cheaper, but that are a half hour from the airport.

As to the Frontline doc you mentioned, Matt says that while there are some errors and misinterpretations in it, overall it is very good. He said he became emotional when he saw it.

As far as Norm's overall disdain for regulation, this is a common conservative battle cry, not entirely without merit, but often painted with far too broad a brush. I'm glad he sees the merit in the regs we're discussing, especially because they aren't new, but simply replacements for the outrageously outdated rules that are in place now.

It is also worth noting that the partial shutdown of the FAA has nothing to do with anybody's belief that the agency has too many people working there (whether or not that's true). There are two issues: one is about the extravagent funding for construction, maintenance and flight subsidies to put air service into small airports that could never justify it based on traffic volume. Clearly, this amounts to what many consider pork, and others consider fairness. But it has nothing in particular to due with staffing levels at the FAA. The other issue is that conservatives want to make it harder for people in the aviation industry generally to organize; liberals want to make it perfectly OK. Those are the issues that have currently put the FAA out of business.

That said, in my opinion it wouldn't have been too stupid for the FAA to publish the new regs a couple weeks ago in order to clear the decks, since they knew then that all this nonsense could come to pass.

Manuel July 29th, 2011 07:34 AM

I am not interested in the Tea Party at all.

I am more in favor of a huge keg party.

TM

venice July 29th, 2011 10:16 AM

AR..thanks for the clarification of flight/duty time...organized labor was the principal deciding factor in the election of our current POTUS...guess which political party wants to make sure that it never happens again

I'm with Manual..I think a big tailgate party is just what our Country needs right now

Luanne Russo July 30th, 2011 11:03 AM

Norm..the TEA Party may have started out with those lofty intentions but their agenda has taken on dark clouds and entered into the states rights arena and some very serious racial implications from the many factions of their leadership

This statement makes me so sad. I am not a Tea Party member, but know many fine people who are. They work very hard to sound off in their country, they work hard to elect people who will go to Washington to make those much needed changes. THEY ARE NOT RACIST.

If organizing like our forefathers intended for us to do, gives you a slanderous label, then our country is screwed.

God help us all if we spend all our time tearing each other apart, instead of making things better for all!!!

Lakers Fan July 30th, 2011 11:16 AM

Some of my friends are Tea Party members .They know better than to discuss their beliefs with me .

I am hoping for a revision of the Peace and Freedom Party as it was when Dick Gergory was its Presidential candidate .

AR July 31st, 2011 12:02 PM

Are all Tea Party members racist? Of course not.
Are some of them racist? Certainly.
Is a higher percentage of them racist than the general population? Logic would say probably (extremist views generally, combined with demographics), but this is nearly impossible to prove.

But that's a side issue at this point.

What the Tea Party is for sure is a minority group that has hijacked the House of Representatives by putting their fingers in their ears, closing their eyes and holding their breath. They are not leaders and they are not followers. They are juveniles. . .they are willing to scuttle the economy and the nation in favor of an ideal. . .they are arithmetic deniers. . .they are the classic example of "I know what I think, don't bother me with the facts."

This is not to say that the two major parties are without blame. They have both acted irresponsibly and outrageously when it comes to the budget. And in doing so they have relinquished the field to those whose ideals trump any trace of good sense, analysis and reason. The two major parties gave birth to this extremism, and now the nation is suffering the consequences.

It is long past time for the grownups in both parties--and there are some--to take the keys away from the children, start acting responsibly, and get this nation back on course.

Luanne Russo July 31st, 2011 12:30 PM

What are the extremist on the other side? Does it go both ways? Is it really possible to have unlimited money to spend, and spend, and spend in Washington?

Or is the word extremist just a hurt word? I never minded being called a conservitive. It was an okay word, but now days the word extremist is used, which to me sounds a lot like terrorist.

In a household, those who spend more money knowing the funds are running low is called one name, but in Washington it is called another.

I just don't get it.

Someone please make me understand why wanting the best for this country has a name attached.

I have to go to church now, so I will read what everyone has to say later. How long will it take for a name to be attached to those who believe in God. Oh wait, it already is there.

I am going to pray for those who see the need to shame those who want the best.

AR July 31st, 2011 07:19 PM

Luanne, I am not going to argue with you.

People who want the best do not intentionally put the nation's economy in peril.

I do not consider these people conservatives, nor do most of my conservative friends. True conservatives know how to do arithmetic.

Sorry, but we're just going to have to disagree on this one.

Trip August 1st, 2011 04:21 PM

Guess what....

Breaking: Delta to refund taxes collected during FAA shutdown | Gadling.com

Aidan August 2nd, 2011 10:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Luanne Russo (Post 1384144)
THEY ARE NOT RACIST.

This is the frantic claim, but the historic timing of the party's rise is curious. We had a balanced budget in 2001. The Bush administration began running tremendous deficits when they took power. Not a peep from that crowd. Two unfunded wars were undertaken. The deficit skyrocketed. Not a peep. Medicare Part D, the biggest social program since Johnson days was championed by Bush and passed ... unfunded .. and the already gigantic deficit rocketed ahead. Not a peep.

Then a black man is elected president. Now the deficit and government spending that he inherited is a "crises" and his fault. But they aren't racist, of course. Perhaps just hateful, illogical people?

I think they are racists.

AR August 2nd, 2011 11:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trip (Post 1384583)

The airlines should not be raising prices to match the taxes that are not being collected. That is patently immoral and unethical, and the rollback mentioned here is entirely in order.

But there is a larger question here: if, as is being reported this morning, FAA funding could be withheld for at least another five weeks while Congress goes on vacation, how shall we make up the gaping revenue shortfall that will result?

Shall we stop fixing the potholes in airport runways?
Shall we stop work on next-gen navigation efforts that will increase both safety and fuel-efficiency? (we've actually halted that work already).
Shall we further delay safety regulations like the ones I've discussed here?

Heartiest congratulations to all those who will snooker the government out of twenty bucks on their next airline ticket. After all, the battle cry here is to "keep the government out of our lives," isn't it?

Until, of course, we need it.

When a plane crashes, it's always "Why didn't the FAA have stricter requirements?"

When a hurricane hits, it's always "Where's FEMA?"

When there's a drought, it's always "Where are my farm subsidies?"

When you forgot to (or couldn't) save for your kid's education, it's always "Where's my cheap college loan and tuition discount?"

And, of course, we want the government out of our lives, but nobody better touch our Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.

So, rejoice if you like over your ticket tax windfall. Splurge on a nice dinner or buy a trinket from QVC. But, whatever you do, don't think about tomorrow, because that subject is getting more depressing every day.

Kuki August 2nd, 2011 12:31 PM

Once again, with an outsider's point of view, the one thing I don't think the American people "get", is that in order to enjoy the high standard of living you want, and to have the services you want to go along with that standard of living, and infrastructure to support that standard of living and services, your taxes are simply too low.

No question there's waste in programs and there's corruption within some programs, even if those were all found and cut off, it wouldn't even put a slight dent in your debt. Higher taxes along with watchdog cutbacks are the only thing which will ever make it possible to pay off the debt.

Your choices are simple really... a deep austerity program, where most of the services you're used to disappear, including fire, police, education, roads and bridges, military and on and on and on.... or people pay more taxes in an attempt to maintain any resemblance to the standard of living Americans are used to.

The people with the private jets, who don't want to pay more taxes, aren't going to love their airplanes, when the runways are too pitted and broken to allow for take-off. Just as the guy driving the 10 yr old Ford Focus aren't going to be too happy, when freeways and bridges they use to go work are impassable because they're crumbling.

Everyone wants someone to put in place the austerity measures to cut the debt, with the exception of the cuts that affect them directly. Everyone wants someone else to pay, when, if you actually want your country to be debt free, everyone is going to have to pay more.

It's very basic math, not any fancy economic theories.

AR August 2nd, 2011 12:55 PM

Kuki--

As we native New Joiseyites like to say. . .

Bada-BING!

Last evening I got thinking about one of my favorite musicals, 1776. In it there is a scene in which John Adams stands in the empty legislative chamber in "foul, fetid, fuming, filthy Philadelphia," and laments. .

Is anybody there?
Does anybody care?
Does anybody see what I see?

Well, I'm certainly no John Adams, but it's nice to know that Kuki sees, and so does Aidan, and so do a lot of others, in truth. Just not enough. Not enough.

Aidan August 2nd, 2011 03:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kuki (Post 1384793)

It's very basic math, not any fancy economic theories.

Agree with your post, Kuki, but even economics isn't all fancy theory. A formula every kid learns in Econ 101 is the definition of gross domestic product:

GDP = Consumer Spending + Industrial Investment + (Exports - Imports) + Government Spending.

No economist in the world outside of North Korea argues the validity of this basic economic fact.

For everybody but the Tea Party, it is a given that growing GDP is a necessity for growing prosperity, and if consumer spending is down, and industrial spending is down and if we import way more than we export ... there isn't any way to raise GDP except for government spending. Cut that in the current environment and GDP will decline ... there is no way around it.

Still waiting for the trickle-down effect of the tax cuts in 2001 to bail us out ...


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