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What’s Left to Cut?

     No way can we wait for Obama’s tax breaks for all of us under two hundred fifty thousand dollar income earners. The state's threatening to give us IOUs for our tax refunds and everyone's out of work or about to be, so I’m going to give you a little help here. Well, I’ll try to…

     Most everyone’s already cut back on trips to the gas station, turned down the temp on their heater to 60 degrees, quit watering the plants and started patronizing Jack in the Box’s ninety-nine cent value menu.

     At two thirty-three a.m. last Thursday I woke up in a sweat. Minutes after, the thought flew into my brain like a blazing firefly in the night.

     The phone bill! I could save on my phone bill! And so, maybe, could all of you. You know how much we pay for phones these days. Remember when it was fifteen dollars a month for a land line? Maybe you don’t. We called it a phone back then.

     Anyway, I figured I’d take a look at my phone bill – both of them. One is all mixed up with my cable charges, HDTV (Hi-Def) charges, and Internet service provider charges. That’s the “everything bill” with the special discount for “bundling” your services so you can give all your money to one company. The other’s my cell phone bill – you know, the one you’re tied to for the next two years if you don’t want to pay a two hundred dollar penalty and if you want to get that free phone for signing up for another two years…

     I kind’a knew going in I wouldn’t be able to save much because I wasn’t ready to cut the land line, throw out the new Hi-Def TV and withdraw from life on the planet – that being the Internet. And I wasn’t ready to toss out the cell phone that I can’t use on the freeway any more anyway but I must be using it somewhere ’cause I went way over the free minutes last month. But I hoped I could save at least enough for a gallon of gas or a couple of ninety-nine cent meals. I prefer McDonald’s, though – no offense.

     I got out my “everything bill.” Six pages. Grand total of a hundred and fifty bucks. I never got to the cell phone bill.

     I studied the charges for the land line phone. I don’t use the land line all that often so I was looking to strip my service to the bare minimum and save a few bucks.

     Six dollars for the “Active Lifestyle Package,” whatever that is. Ten dollars for my “Basic Monthly Service,” which has an asterisk before it - never did find the matching asterisk. Four dollars and thirty-nine cents for the “FCC Access Charge.” I’m up to twenty dollars and change, but there’s more. Next page there’s a “Usage Charge” for a buck fifty.

     Tough decision. Should I give up the FCC Access Charge? Would life be the same without it? Basic Monthly Service seems kind’a necessary. Do without my Active Lifestyle Package? Never! Boy, life is rough. I studied the bill again and then…

     Look here! We have “Fees, Surcharges and Taxes!” I wouldn’t miss those a bit! Total of eight dollars - enough for two gallons of gas!

     How ’bout we all call our phone companies and tell the service rep to change our package to the one with no Fees, Surcharges and Taxes?  Let me know how you do… send e-mail to - but don’t call me; phone doesn’t seem to be working.

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