EP 330 America: Land of the Fee

Have you ever stopped to read all the fees tacked on to your electric bill, cable bill, mortgage, car or student loan?  It’s a cut by a thousand fees–$1.47 here, $2.50 there and before you know it, it adds up to real money.  In fact, it’s over a trillion and a half dollars a year to consumers.  In combination, financial deregulation and wage stagnation have thrown us into the arms of unscrupulous lenders who have helped write legislation and regulations allowing these practices to continue with little transparency.  Add to this the fact that governments at every level have employed their own chicanery to extract new revenues by adding fees and fines, which are little noticed or objected to, in lieu of increasing your taxes.  In fact, the largest growth in government finances in the recent period has come from these charges.  Devin Fergus, Ph.D., in his compelling new book ‘Land of the Fee’ explains how these fees have become an added cost to all of life’s essentials and a little acknowledged reason for the decline of the middle class and income inequality.  In fact, the cumulative effect can have lifetime and intergenerational consequences.