US Government Sponsored Monopoly...

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by dmp, May 14, 2004.

  1. dmp
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    dmp Senior Member

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    Any Army or Airforce veterans here will undoubtedly be familiar with AAFES - Army and Air Force Exchange Service. When I first joined the Army, in 1992, I was very excited to be shopping at the Post Exchange - I'd be thrilled to be able to buy things Tax free. My first assignment being in Europe, the PX was a godsend, for items which would be unavailable, or more expensive to purchase on the local economy.

    After serving stateside, and getting a bit older I came to see the organization for what it really is - no better/worse than any OTHER retail company. AAFES is worse in a couple glaring cases.

    #1 - AAFES prevents competition. AAFES has gone so far to ensure every non-grocery item purchased on base is from THEIR sources, they've come in an shut down soldiers selling candy/pop in their office break areas, (usually done in an attempt to raise money for the organization [for office parties, etc]). We are talking about candy/pop sales, in most offices, which wouldn't equal a couple hundred dollars a year.

    #2 - Fuel. AAFES sells fuel 'cheaper' on base. Rather than strive to give soldiers substantial savings; which I believe was the reason for AAFES creation, it milks soldiers out of every last penny it can get away with. Recently, state fuel taxes were raised. Like every other fuel station in the area, AAFES raised prices accordingly. The kicker is, AAFES is exempt from paying the increase tax.


    AAFES has a policy which says they will contribute 'x'% of their profits back into the Army and Airfoce Morale, Welfare, and Recreation programs. That policy briefs well, but when soldiers have no real benefit otherwise, the issue becomes moot.

    I say, open a walmart on base, and the PX would go out of business - even WITH soldiers paying sales tax.

    If anyone reading this has any connections with investigative reporters, I think the 'fake' benefit to soldiers, and the increasing corporate greed exhibited by AAFES would make for a great 20/20 story.
     
  2. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    I agree. AAFES can take a long walk off a short cliff. There is no benefit for Army civilians at all. The PX (Post Exchange) is like a Walmart with a much smaller selection, though prices are comparable. And the gas is somewhat cheaper.

    However, I can understand the need for their gas prices to be at least somewhat comparable to gas stations outside the gate. If AAFES stations didn't charge at all for the state gas tax, for example, the price of gas there would be about 1.70-1.75/gallon. Since area gas prices are about 2.15 a gallon, that would create extremely high demand - a demand that they could not keep up with. Thus, they lower that demand by keeping prices only slightly lower than stations outside the gate.
     

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