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Pols tune out cable TV reform

By Ray Hanania

Never mind that a cable TV subscription can cost as much as a car payment and is probably the most expensive utility that most average Americans have today.

Forget about the lie that they told us that when you paid for cable TV you were paying for advertisement-free television that would give us more quality programming on the “boob tube.”

We can’t change the lies of the past. But we can at least recognize when we have been screwed.

What’s the problem now? Well, you may have noticed the rise of “independent” streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Apple TV. Or how many more cable channels that were once basic staples of ad-free cable TV are now spinning off and charging additional subscription fees to watch.

I was doing a little math and I realized that instead of paying $220 a month for Xfinity or DirecTV–I have both, one at my primary residence and one at a lake home–I could subscribe to all of the independent channels: 15 of them for about $170, a month, a $50 savings.

Netflix has jumped to $13 a month. Hulu is $12 a month. Amazon Prime is $119 a year, or $10 per month. Apple TV is free for a year when you buy a new iPhone (at $1,200) but is $5 a month afterwards.

Premium movie channels like Showtime, HBO, Cinemax and Starz can be purchased individually, too. You can purchase the History Channel, The Movie Channel, Lifetime and even more.

Because I have an Xfinity account with Showtime and HBO, I can gain access to those streaming services individually; but they cost $11 and $15 each, respectively.

Worse is that channels and programs that used to be free on Xfinity Comcast and DirecTV now are additional fees to watch. Do you want to watch that brainless TV reality show like “Vanderpump Rules,” or old reruns of “King of Queens,” you have to pay for each episode between $3 and $5.

In fact, most past episodes of new shows that are free because they are being broadcast now also cost you extra money on top of the outrageously priced monthly subscription fees you have to pay for cable.

Here’s the point: the cost of cable is outrageous, but none of the geniuses running for public office for president, for the Congress, for example, don’t care about it because they take donations from the cable company executives.

Try tracking them down. Donations are often made in the names of the executives rather than in the company name, so they are difficult to identify and tabulate. But they are huge.

Instead, these genius candidates for president and Congress want us to think that we should worry about a lot of other issues like abortion, gun control, taxation or uncontrollable immigration–all issues that will never change.

It seems to me that the costs of cable TV needs to be controlled and regulated. We have to stop these robber barons from ripping us off. For most families, and especially for senior citizens on fixed incomes who are not politicians with huge pension plans paid for by the taxpayers, home entertainment is about all they can expect for enjoyment. They may go on a vacation once or even twice each year, but for the remaining 48 weeks, they are sitting at home glued to the cable TV channel–grumbling because no one cares about skyrocketing costs and new fees and charges that are being added to their bills.

It’s really a darn shame that this problem exists and there isn’t one smart person running for public office who also thinks it is a problem or who wants to do anything about it.

Instead, we get all the BS news about impeachment, like that’s going to help us control our bottom lines – it won’t. Or screaming about issues you and they know they will do absolutely nothing about.

Cable TV is one thing we can change and that we should change.

(Ray Hanania is an award-winning syndicated columnist who covered Chicago City Hall for nearly two decades “from Daley to Daley.” Read more of his columns and download his podcasts by visiting Hanania.com. You can read Ray Hanania’s online book “Midnight Flight” by visiting SuburbanChicagoland.com. Email him at [email protected])

Ray Hanania’s column is just a fraction of the content that appears in this week’s print edition of the Greater Southwest News-Herald. Want to get the all the news? Pick up the Greater Southwest News-Herald on local newsstands for just 75 cents a copy. For greater savings and convenience, call (708) 496-0265 during weekday business hours and order a subscription by mail, delivered each week to your home or business.

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