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Opinion Letters Speak up against unnecessary rate hikes

Re: Bob Scott’s recent letter about Duke Power’s request for more money. I agree, a 17 percent decrease in pay will still leave them with millions so it shouldn’t be a problem for them.

I just calculated my monthly expense for insurance and power and found that it is about one third of my small monthly income. We are in a recession. Insurance is mandatory, and electricity is nearly so. If we are required to make these payments then the government ought to do a better job of regulating the charges. Last year, my power bills went up about 15 percent and now they think they need more? Duke Power takes in billions. What do they do with it all? They sure do not look for alternative means of power generation. Heaven knows what the real cost is to our health and environment from coal fired power plants. The Smokies get smokier every year. Cancer and respiratory disease are up.

Our whole economic system depends on a healthy and solvent middle class, and we are rapidly losing both our health and our money to Big Interests. As Mr. Scott points out, many of today’s CEOs are obscenely irresponsible and self-serving at the expense of the public, and I would like to add that their unbridled self-interest is very short-sighted.

There is strength in numbers. People, speak up! It’s not necessarily taxes that are the problem, unless you are rich. Taxes are low for people with a limited income, and income is low in Western North Carolina. Ask the hardworking people around town who serve you your meals, ring up our purchases, cut your hair (or your grass), build your homes, or take care of your children. Ask them what hurts the most, and it will probably be insurance, power, gas and healthcare.

These people are not lazy bums who ought to work harder as the power structure would like us to believe, they are the people who keep our economic engine running, and they are being squeezed dry. Meanwhile, the government gives huge subsidies to big business at every turn. Big Business has become so obviously Jobba the Hut, that I think it’s time we average people say enough already.

Jean A. Welch — Franklin, N.C.


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