“TANSTAAFL” …… Isaac Asimov

As I read about the debate over net neutrality (free equal internet access) I am reminded of things that started off free or nearly free, later became accepted as a necessity and then went up in cost from there . Some things are just beginning to climb the slope to needability and thus profit others have already made the trip

Here are some that used to be free, became perceived as needs or rights and then became profitable

ATM’s I have seen them with fees as high as 10 dollars a transaction (Vegas)

Checking accounts/ savings accounts/ transaction charges/fees even in some cases charges for depositing money (giving the bank the product it sells and paying to give it to them )

Public Water fountains still are fee just disappearing

Broadcast Television’s conversion ( perhaps it should be perversion) to cable

Internet from phone modem to various other carriers

First day of school ( books/supplies/ Kleenex? fees)


State Parks

National Parks



Car washes were free with a fill of gas

Window washing and oil checking was free with a gas purchase

Sewer charges

Garbage pickup

Franchise Fees

Re-Cycling Fees

Irrigation system inspections

Ground water Flowage Fees coming to a neighborhood near you soon.

Door to door mail and newspaper delivery

On the endangered but still mostly free list

Saturday mail delivery

Public waterway access

Free Car Radio

Extra condiments at fast food restaurants (packaging tax is next)

Free toilets ( this has been charged for in the past but it will come back) and I would guess toilet paper expense is in our future

Free parking on the street will disappear in high density residential areas Probably a sticker system

Free driving on highways ( more toll roads/ express pass/gas tax/use tax, a mileage Tax could be levied that reported electronically from a sensor in your car any time wireless was available)

Free containers other than the already taxed pop bottles, look for a tax on all containers that are not reusable

Airport security

Free school bus ride

Free books/electronic use at school

Free access to school athletics

Free Elementary and middle school music programs/ activities

Stronger Bicycle licensing/ road use tax

Increased tax on electric vehicles to cover loss of gas tax

Look at the taxes and fees on your mobile bill.. more are coming

Services were not originally taxed, some are exempt, those exemptions will go away I would anticipate a VAT tax on food, drugs and medical care

Watch for free tickets at the fair or reduced price tickets provided by the Iowa State fair board to be used as cash for food purchases intent is to suck you into paying for their poor accounting practices by embracing a future ticket pay system

Online news papers

Compressed air at gas stations

Use of a credit card, you in effect pay a 2% penalty if you don’t use your credit card because you don’t get cash back if you pay with cash (remember when they used to give you a discount when you paid with cash?) Now the two percent is built into every price so stores make a double profit on cash purchases.

Debit Card Fees per transaction probably from the bank rather than the vendor

Airport taxes

Resort/hotel taxes

Various Social Media will start charging soon.. surely you wouldn’t drop your social media site if it just cost a buck a month

Wikipedia (I still have my Britannicas)

APPS for things that are now free but wont be for long.

The euphoniously named Affordable Care Act will probably be on this list as most logical people understand that you don’t get something for nothing and this is a lot of something being promised for little or nothing

Isaac Asimov wrote TANSTAAFL… No matter how much we wish there was , ” There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch!”

We live in a generally equitable system of money, with the exception of the Federal Government that can print more when they need it, in every transaction there is to a certain extent almost always a winner and a loser. Right now I sense that the American public is walking around with a large L in the middle of its forehead.

About safrisri

I was a school teacher until retirement. I have taught at all educational levels from pre-school to college. My college degree is general science which I arrived at after 5 years and 5 different majors. A degree as it turns out, almost as valuable and in demand as one in Neo-Bulgarian Mythology. I have been around education for around 40 years and can remember when teaching was a pleasant, happy and creative job and our schools were the same. Now I'm the guy sitting on the porch with an opinion on everything.
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