Daily Archives: Aug 18, 2018 at 07:30 am EDT

Book Bits | 18 August 2018

Land of the Fee: Hidden Costs and the Decline of the American Middle Class
By Devin Fergus
Summary via publisher (Oxford University Press)
Politicians, economists, and the media have put forth no shortage of explanations for the mounting problem of wealth inequality – a loss of working class jobs, a rise in finance-driven speculative capitalism, and a surge of tax policy decisions that benefit the ultra-rich, among others. While these arguments focus on the macro problems that contribute to growing inequality, they overlook one innocuous but substantial contributor to the widening divide: the explosion of fees accompanying virtually every transaction that people make. As Devin Fergus shows in Land of the Fee, these perfectly legal fees are buried deep within the verbose agreements between vendors and consumers – agreements that few people fully read or comprehend. The end effect, Fergus argues, is a massive transfer of wealth from the many to the few: large banking corporations, airlines, corporate hotel chains, and other entities of vast wealth.
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