Higher taxes and fees on the way

With apologies to Gertrude Stein, a tax is a tax is a tax is a fee and to William Shakespeare, a tax by any other name would still stink as much.

Yes, the US government is increasing fees on certain of its monopolistic services; citizens must either pay up or do without.

Need some stamps? The US Postal Service, an independent, government run agency has announced still yet another price increase. The price of stamps will increase but the Forever stamp will have some new designs.

The U.S. Postal Service Governors recommended increasing the price of a First-Class stamp 2 cents to 46 cents and authorized the production of a pane of four evergreen tree branches as the newest image for Forever Stamps. The price of a postcard would increase 2 cents to 30 cents.

The Postal Regulatory Commission must approve the recommended price changes. The increases would not go into effect until January 2, 2011. It would be the first stamp price increase in almost two years.

The Postal Service claims this increase will "add less than 13 cents a month to the average American household's budget." But they neglected to mention it will also add a lot more dollars to the budgets of businesses, most already suffering from diminishing profits thus accelerating their push for customers to use the allowable competition--the internet. Or force the businesses to pass along their higher costs to us, the customers.

Need a passport? Get one now as the price increases sharply next week.

The cost for a first-time passport for an adult (age 16 and older) will increase to $135, up from the current $100, on July 13. A renewal for an adult passport will be $110, up from $75. A first-time passport or renewal for a minor (under age 16) will be $105, up from $85.

Oh, btw, unless President Barack Obama (D) and Congress change their minds, the tax cuts enacted during the administration of President George W. Bush (R) expire in six months resulting in yep, higher taxes, especially on those Obama deems wealthy--it changes.

Need some almost free health care? Almost free government health care will soon be available for all. Unless you're deathly ill and it will be too expensive to treat you. Or you can find a doctor to care for you. Or...