Monday, November 8, 2010

Fees Colorado Republicans won't oppose

The most interesting story in Sunday's Denver Post was given banner (top-headline), front-page treatment and it concerned the real attack against the middle class: increased prices charged by utilities and other public agencies that provide necessary services to the rich, the poor, and the middle class.

These are price leaders -- for water, sewage, electricity, public transportation, telephone, postage, and you could even include Internet connections -- that drive up costs for small businesses, drive down consumer spending on products and services that small businesses provide, drive up shipping costs for both employers and all consumers who still use the mails, and the cost of holding a job (by adding to the cost of getting to work) or sending your kid to school (also because of higher fuel costs).

The Post's Colleen O'Connor quoted Ethan Pollack, from the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute, who said such price increases act the same as taxes on the middle class and the poor, holding back both consumer spending and economic recovery.

Yet you won't hear Republicans, Tea Party activists, the business community including some Democrats, even Tom Tancredo or John Andrews going after these price hikes like they rail against taxes.

These price hikes have the cover of supposed good business practice. They may drive more people into poverty, but the authors of such cost-of-living increases bear no responsibility to the public. You could say they are the inevitable result of free markets and unrestrained capitalism.

Or you could hold their authors accountable. Admit such business practice is just as accountable for the destruction of the middle class as Wall Street shenanagans, the marginalizing of labor unions and outsourcing. 

That's my kind of accountability. Happy Monday!

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