You’re Getting Mugged by American Corporations

If it seems like all of those hidden fees and surcharges are nickel-and-diming you to death — they are. Every time you turn around it’s $5 for this banking transaction, $10 added to your phone and cable bills for God knows what.

These hidden fees cost Americans $45 billion dollars a year. That’s roughly the same as the amount lost to Identity Theft each year. Unlike ID theft, these hidden fees are perfectly legal. After all, our legislators and regulatory agencies are fully owned and operated by the industries they’re supposedly “regulating.”

This $45 billion doesn’t include penalties or late fees; these are simply the hidden charges you automatically pay every time you purchase a product or use a service. These hidden fees cost the average American almost a thousand dollars a year. Ah heck, you weren’t planning to use that thousand for anything, were you?

These hidden surcharges also don’t include anything “extra” like vacations. This article is only based on the mundane everyday things you do: making phone calls, going to the bank, watching TV, using the Internet, saving for your retirement, buying groceries, etc. If you’re some sort of spendthrift who likes to take fancy vacations, you might be paying closer to $4,000 a year in hidden fees.

The author of this article says: “Sneaky fees peck away at us like a swarm of mosquitoes that ruin an otherwise beautiful summer evening. And like mosquitoes, an individual bite might seem trivial, barely more than a nuisance, but repeated bites can actually change the way you live. They chase you inside, make you build a screened porch, and in extreme cases make you sick.”

He uses the term “Gotcha Capitalism.” “Gotchas are everywhere you turn, now. They are a way of life for consumers. They are our economic system, one that has replaced our former system, the free market economy. Gotcha Capitalism — your personal finances, under siege. Mosquitoes might threaten your life with death by 1,000 bites; Gotcha Capitalism threatens your finances with death by a thousand fees.”

18 Responses to “You’re Getting Mugged by American Corporations”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Ever wonder how much tax you pay each time you fill your gas tank and the dems want to add another .40 per gallon. And Gore would love to add co2 tax to your income,property tax and sales taxes,utility taxes,cell phone and regular phone service taxes.The list goes on and on.
    Let’s add another 20% to your income tax for Universal Healthcare.
    Now I ask who really Gotcha?

  2. steve Says:

    I agree with Lisa… You have a choice in those extra charges… like using an ATM that is not with your bank instead of taking the few extra steps to go where your bank. And if you bank with a small bank without a bunch of ATM’s that is sort of your problem… Welcome to the global economy.

    Most of those charges Tom are for convenience anyway. It’s not necessarily a mandate like a tax.

    A .40 cent a gallon increase would drive gas prices to $3.80 in California. Do we need to pay anymore for gas?

    Also Tom, how much of that 45 billion is credit card fees to businesses that accept them?

  3. Lisa Says:

    Plus maybe the Corporations have to pass on the extra costs by the high imposed taxes on them.

  4. Lisa Says:

    “You have a choice in those extra charges”

    Haha and here I thought you guys were all about “choice”

  5. manapp99 Says:

    Especially with the Democrat Presidential candidates all talking about bigger government, I am far more worried about all the hidden taxes we pay than the hidden fees from corporations.
    Here’s a line in a artilcle about hidden taxes:

    “In short, federal taxes today increase an item’s price by almost 34 percent of its cost. State and local government taxes further raise that share to 48 percent. Keep in mind, these taxes are paid by all consumers and are in addition to the almost 40 percent tax rate most families pay in income and payroll taxes already. ”

    The article:

  6. Jersey McJones Says:

    Overall, Americans pay less taxes than most of the First World. If we reined in the military, which is 60% of discretionary spending, we could realistically pay even less. Where we fall behind the rest of our competitors is four-fold: 1) the regressive, incidious, anti-competitive taxation on corporations who simply pass the tax on to consumers, 2) a regressive income and FICA tax that taxes the wealthy far less than the middle class, 3) the cannibalistic profiteering of education and healthcare that drains our resources and helps to create the negative savings rate that we now have, 4) a military and police state that is dangerously powerful, large, intransigent, and expensive.

    If these things could be addressed, America would have a far brighter future. As things stand now, I see a steady decline for the foreseeable future.


  7. Christopher Radulich Says:

    So Lisa

    Do you really hate your kids and grandkids so much? Why is it that you do not want to pay for anything? We pay the lowest taxes of any first world nation yet all you do is whine about taxes.

  8. Lisa Says:

    Chris it depends on where you live first of all. Who says I don’t want to pay for anything we have enough people in this country who don’t pay for anything.That’s what they have us tax payers for.
    And the complaint in the post was corporations and hidden charges but you trust the government the biggest beaurocracy of all to tell you where your money should go? If you want to fork over 55 percent of your income then by all means why don’t you just donate it when you file this year being you put so much faith in the government to do the right thing with your money while they get 400.00 haircuts and hand over monthly checks to crack heads . You know the ones who really need it.
    Like Mannapp said I think 40% is more than enough.I know you believe the socialist way like Cuba where the government takes about 80% from its citizens .I guess you are so well off that you wouldn’t miss half your paycheck.

  9. Christopher Radulich Says:

    this was done by some impersonating you Lisa

    And Gore would love to add co2 tax to your income,prope rty tax and sales taxes,utilit y taxes,cell phone and regular phone service taxes.The list goes on and on.
    Let’s add another 20% to your income tax for Universal Healthcare.

    Social Security taxes have been under writing the rest of the government since at least the 80’s and probably the 60’s. Isn’t it time that we actually started paying for the rest of the government?

    But if you actually want to talk about this post, my favorite is the overdraft charge on credit cards. They give you a limit on your card and then allow you to go over it. For that privilege they charge you $40. Of course they don’t warn you that you are going over. Nor do they deny the purchase.

  10. Lisa Says:

    Social Security taxes have been under writing the rest of the government since at least the 80’s and probably the 60’s. Isn’t it time that we actually started paying for the rest of the government?

    Well I do agree with that . It was just poor planning that the government that supposed to do the right thing we should give them more? We should cut back on spending in all areas that’s the way to get it done. You will start seeing it this year when you file your income tax so no cheating because they are going over everything with a fine tooth comb.
    We have a population living longer the baby boomers all retiring and I know you hate theirs but I am going to write it anyway more people abusing the welfare system and lets not mention 7000 illegal babies being born in hospitals yearly that you and I are paying for. I know you just love to be so giving but that’s part of our problem.

    And if you have a limit on your credit card why the hell would you go over it without thinking there would be consequences. You want credit card companies to have an endless flow of creidt for free?

  11. Jersey McJones Says:


    Borrowing from SS began under Carter, actually, in the late seventies. The real looting started in the 80’s when Reagan and the Dems on the Hill decided to play nice by playing with our future.

    You’re silly and misinformed understanding of illegal immigration aside, if we simply lifted the payroll tax cap, SS and Medicare would no longer be a problem, even if the looting continues.

    Why you think the very wealthy should not pay their fair share (especially considering that it is the same very wealthy who enable and profit from illegal immigration, off-shoring, free trade, and other cheap-labor policy) is utterly beyond me. I guess your just a sycophant.


  12. Christopher Radulich Says:

    If the credit card people have given you a limit, the right thing would be to deny any purchase that cause you to go over the limit. To charge you a fee, and an exorbitant fee at that, is just a way to gouge you. At a minimum you should be informed of the fee at the time of purchase and asked to ok it like at an ATM.

    How is giving less to the government going to repay the debt that we already racked up by acting like irresponsible children?

  13. rube cretin Says:

    jersey, I believe it was Johnson in 1967 who started fooling around with Social Security. You know that other war we didn’t want to pay for.

  14. Jersey McJones Says:

    Johnson pooled the “trust fund” into the general budget, but I believe FICA revenues were directed only for programs under the law until the late seventies, in other words, no IOU’s until Carter et al. So yes, Johnson et al paved the way for the looting, but it wasn’t until Carter that it actually started to take place.


  15. Jersey McJones Says:


    “How is giving less to the government going to repay the debt that we already racked up by acting like irresponsibl e children?”

    You know their answer to that, and it’s based on the dubious Laffer Curve, the sleaziest little work of selective mathematics since Voo Doo economics.


  16. Christopher Radulich Says:

    more appropriately the Laughter curve, except that it’s not really funny.

  17. Lisa Says:

    Amazing that when Bush proposed a plan for Social Security the Dem’s all said there was no problem with social security.
    Now they admit there’s a problem. So where’s their plan? They’ll probably use Bush’s plan and then take credit for it. But they would just love to see us spiral into a recession so they can say “Look what Bush did” because a recession won’t affect their lives so it’s just politics as usual. And if a Joe Schmo like you has a solution to fix it you have to wonder why there has been no other legislation for it.

    So you don’t think it is counter productive to let illegal aliens work cheap but then turn around and give them free healthcare and in many instances welfare?

  18. christopher Radulich Says:

    Bush’s plan was not to fix SS but to destroy it. They are still doing a good job of it by running the deficit. If they had funded the government there would probably not be any problem.

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