2009-06-26 / Columnists

The Progressive

Economic Woes
Commentary John Paul Culotta

Many of us, who are employed or have a steady income, feel lucky in these difficult times.

At the same time, we feel nervous about the most chaotic economic climate since the Great Depression.

This past month I paid, as have many New Yorkers, my increased real estate taxes despite the decrease in value of the property. Water rates have increased. Transit fares in this city have increased. Sales tax increases are next.

Nationwide, energy costs are raising. Health care costs are major budget busters. Many bankruptcies are caused because of heath care costs. Many of us who are employed have seen our pay packets become stagnant or worse decrease. Many civil servants are required to work as many as 10 days without pay in some states and, many of us have seen our capital savings made though investments dwindle.

Our manufacturing industries are in serious decline. This nation's schools are still not educating adequately to meet the needs of an economy that needs a workforce that excels in mathematics and scientific methods.

Americans need relief and the political forums in city hall, Albany, and Washington D.C. are failing to meet the challenge. They still strive to play political games.

Congress could give millions of Americans some genuine relief by returning to limits on the rate of interest banks can charge on credit cards. Credit card debt is now at dangerous levels. Americans have gone into debt to maintain the appearance of a middle class society. What is needed is an increase in real income. Americans need an affordable universal health care delivery system, a massive investment in low cost mass transit, credit card cost reform, and honest collective bargaining unions in more sectors of our economy. These needs must be met.

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