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10 Fees You Shouldn’t Pay

Money Wasters: Extra Fees

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Seth Fiegerman, MainStreet.com

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from airlines during the past year, it’s that few things are as frustrating as having an extra fee tacked onto your bill.

But while consumers may have little choice but to pay airline fees, there are many other fees that we get stuck with on a regular basis. They can be easily avoided if you know to look out for them.

BillShrink.com, an online service that helps consumers cut costs on everyday items, recently put together a list of 10 fees for which you should never have to pay.

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Passenger Trains: Our Hope for a More Sustainable Future

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  • President Obama's proposal to spend $50 billion on transportation infrastructure—including 4,000 miles of rail lines—couldn't be a better expenditure of our federal tax dollars.
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  • American-made streetcars: Portland company rebuilds lost industry
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Olga Bonfiglio, Common Dreams

President Obama's proposal to spend $50 billion on transportation infrastructure—including 4,000 miles of rail lines—couldn't be a better expenditure of our federal tax dollars.

After spending two days on the Empire Builder, the long-haul Amtrak line from Chicago to Seattle/Portland, I quickly realized that our investment in trains should be readily and heartily embraced.  And, if more Americans were to take such trips, I’m sure they, too, would choose trains as an alternative mode of travel.

Amtrak staff was courteous and responsive to passengers, a bit quirky as train people can be, but absolutely delightful while we all traveled the miles and hours together across the country. Riding the train, especially on an overnight, was romantic and adventurous and we kept to our schedule despite the numerous times we had to yield to freight trains.

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Related:

American-made streetcars: Portland company rebuilds lost industry, Jacob Wheeler, People's World

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  • More than 65 U.S. cities are currently looking into implementing streetcars. Portland, though, is leading the way in public transportation.
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  • Minneapolis City Council keeps streetcars on track
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5 key health reforms you need to know

Highlights
•    Changes that do away with limits on lifetime caps can prevent bankruptcy.
•    There are welcome reform changes for kids with pre-existing conditions.
•    Some price increases are likely: Free preventive care can increase costs.

Constance Gustke, Bankrate.com

The first wave of several health care reform changes is slated to begin Sept. 23, and that's good news for some consumers. Part of the provisions signed into law by President Barack Obama in March offer key relief for young adults, people with serious illnesses and others. For example, kids can't be excluded for pre-existing conditions and there are no lifetime caps for people who've maxed out their coverage.

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"Some substantial things are included," says Carrie McLean, a consumer specialist at eHealthInsurance.com.

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"Insurance companies are scrambling to put them into effect."

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Global Horizons Indicted for Human Trafficking

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  • Mordechai Orian, president of Global Horizons, a Los Angeles-based labor recruiter, was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for "engaging in a conspiracy to commit forced labor and document servitude" of some 400 Thai citizens who were brought to work on farms in the U.S.
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  • Largest Case in US History
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Pratap Chatterjee, Corporate Watch

In what federal officials described as the largest human-trafficking case ever brought by the government, Mordechai Orian, president and chief operating officer of Global Horizons, was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for "engaging in a conspiracy to commit forced labor and document servitude."

The alleged victims of the Los Angeles-based labor recruiter are some 400 Thai citizens who were brought to work on farms in the U.S. between May 2004 through September 2005. They were hired under H-2A visas which allow farm workers into the country for seasonal work.


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In late 2006, after CorpWatch published an article and a cartoon about the recruitment and abuse of Thai farm workers, Orian sued the non-profit. Orian stated that our reporter, Kari Lydersen was "part of (a) campaign against the H-2A program and [was trying] to protect illegal immigrant and the legal groups who stand to profit from the representation of illegal aliens." CorpWatch refused to retract the article or the cartoon but the two parties came to an out-of-court settlement in April 2007 to correct a few disputed facts in the story. No money was paid by either side.

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