Monday, November 27, 2006

    Pay As You Go

    Nothing is really free - someone is paying for what others perceive as "free". For example, "free medical" is not free - it is paid for by taxpayers or higher insurance premiums.

    One concept for making people pay for what they use is to eliminate charging people for something other people use. Case in point is Ryanair. This is a commercial discount air carrier that is able to offer very low airfares because they have removed extra costs that are not part of the actual transportation cost.

    Why should passengers be charged for snacks and beverages as part of their ticket when they might not even use such items when they fly (I don't). I don't like the idea of paying for someone else's soda or peanuts! This concept allows an average fare at Ryanair to be $53 compared with $92 for Southwest airlines. So even if you opt for that $3.00 water during the flight you're coming out way ahead - and you didn't have to pay to subsidize the treats for other passengers!

    That is a simple and successful model of social responsibility - pay as you go and don't pay for something you don't use. Eliminate the perception that the airline offers "free" drinks and food because it really isn't free.

    A variation of this pay-as-you-go was voted on in California years ago. With all the illegal aliens down there a big problem exists with uninsured drivers. Someone tried to get a concept pass the voters where a statewide insurance plan is in place using a fee added to each gas pump. Now this was a great idea but faced defeat because of the powerful insurance industry.

    With the gas pump insurance fee everyone driving a vehicle, licensed or not, would pay for vehicle insurance. The bigger the vehicle the more gas required and the bigger the chunk of insurance would be paid. I like that concept and wish it would come to Oregon.

    It's possible to apply the same concept to other realms as well - those that use something are the ones paying - not taxpayers.

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