Last week, President Biden said said:
On some airlines, if you want six more inches between you and the seat in front, you pay more but you don’t know until you buy your ticket. Look, folks, these are junk fees, they’re unfair, and they hit marginalized Americans the hardest, especially low-income people and people of color.
Actually, I flew on Thursday and Monday, and I bought more leg room. It felt closer to 3 inches than 6 inches, but regardless it made a big difference. You know this before you actually buy your ticket. In fact, the airlines make it quite clear. Why doesn’t Biden know this? Could it be that he hasn’t bought an airline ticket in a long time? Just a glimpse.
How unfair are they? They give people a choice. Low-income people who, I guess he’s saying, can afford less, less leg room. How does it hurt marginalized Americans? Actually, I think it helps. The reason is that the payment for these extra 3 inches, many times what all the passengers on a given flight would pay for it, outweighs the revenue lost by the airline from the extra seat, otherwise the airlines would not do it. If so, that helps marginal Americans because the airline makes more money on flights with more legroom. The airline has to make a certain amount of revenue to justify a flight. There will be more flights and therefore more seats.
So Biden can help marginalized Americans by retracting his statement.
There is one specific way he can help black Americans disproportionately: to push the Food and Drug Administration back from proposing to ban menthol cigarettes. The Harvard School of Public Health says:
Manufacturers have long targeted black Americans with advertising for menthol cigarettes, which remain the overwhelming choice among black smokers. Although they smoke at the same rate as the general population, black smokers experience greater health consequences from the habit. This is linked to the high cost of their menthol cigarettes.
Manufacturers tend to “target” those who want their products. The FDA is proposing to target black Americans by banning the product. If your view is that people’s choices don’t count and that the government should prevent people from doing things that harm them, then you might conclude that the FDA is helping them. But if your view is that people should be allowed to ingest things that harm them, especially when they know that cigarettes harm long-term smokers, then you conclude that the FDA is harming them. .
My view is next.