Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Uncle Sam, Thou Art One Frugal Bastard

by Pa Rock

I guess I must be getting too old.  For instance, I have been around long enough to remember when creditors, the people to whom you owed money, were delighted to be handed a credit card for payment.  The use of plastic was quick, efficient, and highly convenient.  That was then, however, and this is now.

Now government entities are very reluctant to accept credit cards.  I pay monthly utility bills to two different municipalities.  One will accept the use of a credit card  if it is accompanied by an extra "convenience" fee, and the other will not accept a plastic payment even with the attendant bribe.  The fee, of course, has nothing to do with convenience - for a credit card sale is much more convenient than dealing with a check.    A check requires more physical effort and may or may not be good.  The "convenience" fee for credit card usage is to reimburse the merchant (the government collectors) for the fee that the credit card companies charge them - and then some.  It has nothing to do with anyone's convenience.

But those are small town and county concerns - places that know they must squeeze every penny out of every source to avoid raising the taxes and fanning the anger of their residents.    People will grumble and accept these small inconveniences as long as they don't bear the labels "taxes" or "tax increases."

The Feds are also running this same scam.  That's right.  The same federal government that funds the military and wars with almost no accountability - the same federal government that sent pallets of American currency into darkened warehouses in Iraq where much of it just disappeared - that federal government is now pinching pennies through the credit card collection of income taxes.

Yesterday I tried to pay my federal income tax on-line.  That effort was short-circuited when I got to the convenience fee.   Uncle Sam wanted an outrageous add-on of 1.87 percent for the privilege of taking my money.  But as I continued reading the fine print, it got even worse.  If I wanted to use a VISA card, which I did, the fee was 2.29 percent!   Who would have imagined that VISA was that much less convenient that the other types of credit cards?

It's highway robbery - sort of like Robin Hood but in reverse.   When a poor person uses a credit card, the bank or financial institution issuing the card makes ludicrous profits - and now the government slides a little into its pocket as well.

What an outrage!

I blame Bush.

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