Tag - finance

Airlines In America Are Now As Terrible As Airlines In Russia

Boarding A Flight in AshgabatLet me make this prefatory remark up front: I take absolutely no joy in writing this or in making these criticisms, but someone has to tell you how it really is. If you disagree, fine, but back your disagreement up with something more than a mindless assertion that “‘Murica is the best.” Why? Well, for starters, chances are I’ve forgotten about more of my travel experiences than you’ve ever had travel experiences. Second, I have observation and experience on my side. Third, well, do you really want to have a pissing match you’ll lose? Just trust me, I know what I am talking about.

I say this each time I am at IAH (Houston Intercontinental) airport: it’s a filthy pit. And I’ve seen some in my time. While I was waiting for my last flight to San Antonio (having flown from Istanbul to Munich to Houston) a man said in Spanish to his wife, “this airport is filthy.” I was embarrassed. But then I looked around even more closely. The paint on the walls was peeling, the blue carpet was filthy, the chairs were leaning at angles and the fabric was torn or stained. I expect this in an Uzbek airport or one in some other post-imperial shit hole. But in America, the so-called greatest, richest, most awesomest country in the entire galaxy?

We should be ashamed of shitty air travel infrastructure.

Second, American airlines are fast approaching the quality of Russian airlines. United, Delta and American are and should be a national disgrace. Turkish National Airlines is better than all three and there are many airlines in the world better than Turkish. The point is that our domestic airlines are pathetic and now equal post-Soviet Russian planes in decrepitude, discomfort and cost. The food is not much better, either. I now do everything I can to avoid flying American airlines internationally. They are that bad. Domestically? Hell, I will sit on a bus for ten hours to avoid a three hour flight and the subsequent TSA bullshit involved.

Oh, you don’t believe me when I say the quality is as terrible as Russian airlines? Well, have you ever flown on a Yak-40 from Bukhara to Tashkent? Or a Tupolev 154 from Amsterdam to Moscow? Or an Ilyushin-96 from Tashkent to Moscow? Well, I have and they aren’t much different than the crap planes Boeing is now making. Airbus Industries in Europe simply makes a better quality and comfort plane.
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The Deal: Various Responses

Zaid Jilani:

Because the payroll tax cut is expiring and the Make Work Pay tax cut is not coming back, most working Americans will also see a tax increase. The most galling thing is that 98 percent of Americans will actually see a larger tax increase than some of the richest Americans. Working with our friends at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, we compiled the following chart to demonstrate this:

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Why I gatecrashed David Hartnett’s dinner party

Adam Ramsey

(Originally posted by New Internationalist, republished under a Creative Commons license)

Last week, some friends and I burst in on a speech from the retired HMRC boss Dave Hartnett at a tax dodgers conference. The video of our action has since gone viral. Here’s why I did it:

I stood as a Green candidate in local elections last year. If I had bought dinner and drinks for a potential voter, I would have been breaking the law and I would have been disqualified. If you buy someone who has power over you nice things in the hope they will do you a favour, then this is bribery. It’s pretty simple. When people do it in developing countries, the British establishment rolls its eyes.

Dave Hartnett was, until the end of July, Britain’s senior tax collector. He was also the civil servant who was most wined and dined. You can choose to believe one of two things: either the senior tax man has the most scintillating, entertaining dinner table chat of everyone at Whitehall; or there’s something more sinister going on.  Read More