Squeezing Workers for Every Last Penny

As the economic crisis continues to bring in record profits and income for banks and corporations and the super rich, working people keep paying for the crisis with their pocket books. In addition to layoffs, unemployment, foreclosures, and budget cuts, those of us workers who still have jobs are seeing our paychecks disappear even more quickly. Whether it is increased healthcare, energy, transportation, food, clothing, or rent, on average workers are paying more just to live. By the end of the month, many of us are barely able to scrape by. Meanwhile, all of our extra costs are going straight into the accounts of the corporations, banks and the super rich, generating record levels of wealth for them.
Paying More For Health Care
• On average Health Care costs have risen ten percent per year for over the past three years.
• Millions of people can no longer afford their increased premiums and have to cancel insurance or get new plans with extremely high co-pays and deductibles.
• In 2010, Health Insurance Companies made record profits, and are expected to make at least 50 percent more this year.
• Two of the largest health insurance companies, United Health Care and Cigna made over $1.5 billion in 2009 and $1.8 billion in 2010.
Paying More for Food
• On average, food prices have risen a minimum of five percent in 2011.
• The price of meat has increased ten percent and the price of milk has increased twelve percent.
• In 2010, the world average food price was the highest ever recorded, according to the United Nations.
• In the U.S., for the first time in history food banks are charging members for produce to help pay for the increased food prices.
Paying More for Utilities
• Utility companies across the country are increasing rates.
• In the Bay Area, PG&E just increased their gas and electricity rates by ten percent for most households. East Bay MUD has increased water costs by six percent.
Paying More For Transportation
• This year gas prices soared to over four dollars per gallon as oil companies once gain made record profits.
• All public transit systems in the Bay Area have been continuously raising rates.
• AC Transit raised basic bus fare from $2 to $2.10 and from $1 to 1.05 for seniors, youths and the disabled. The monthly pass for youths will increase from $15 to $20.
• For MUNI the price of an Adult Fast Pass jumped from $45 to $60 in 2009, and will jump another two dollars next month.
Working people are being told that we should feel lucky if we even have jobs, and so we should just suck it up, do our work and quit whining about any increases in cost. This is an outrage. Workers are doing more work than at anytime since 1929. And when we pay more for basic living expenses, it’s the same as a pay cut. At the end of the day, all of our extra costs are just going right back to banks and corporations as profits. All these extra costs are just another way that workers are being forced to pay for the crisis of a system that is run against our interests.