Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Gas and Drug Companies Continue to Screw the Poor

The numbers are in, and it doesn't look good for the poor and middle classes. Greed is rampant in the pharmaceutical and oil companies, with prices going through the roof, and beating out standard inflation rates by a long shot.

According to a recent AARP study (via Yahoo News), wholesale prices for the brand-name prescription drugs rose at more than twice the rate of inflation during the year, ending March 31. That's a 6.6 percent increase in drug prices (general inflation rates rose about 3 percent). The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America accused AARP of using "fuzzy math."

Yeah. Right. Silly accusations are a lot more convincing than hard numbers. Give us a break, PhRMA! How stupid do you think we are? The AARP found a price increase in 110 of the 195 medicines they looked at. That's a significant number.

Gas prices aren't helping any, either. They've risen by more than 60 cents a gallon over the last year. That means if you drive 15,000 miles a year and gets 20 miles per gallon, you pay an extra $450 a year at the gas pump. That's a big chunk of change for most people. This is compounded by the fact that many lower-income families commute long distances to work, because housing in rural areas is lower in cost, but more jobs are found in the larger cities.

Add this together and we get a greater divide between the rich and poor. The working middle class starts to disappear as more and more money is spent on things they need, medicine and transportation just so they can get to work.

And the fat-cats in the large pharmaceutical and oil companies just get richer as they line their pockets with the additional money spent by those who can least afford to spend it.

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