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Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by IJ Reilly, Mar 9, 2005.
By Arianna Huffington
Kos, along with an unnamed House Democratic staffer summed up my feelings on the so-called consumer protection bill far better than I could have.
Things like this make me realize just how much politics sucks.
Yup. Any way you look at it, this is bad for the consumer...especially since the credit card companies are gleeful enablers and perpetuators of debt, what with their constant approval offers and usurious interest rates.
I've been saying for awhile that the economy is sliding backwards towards the 19th century. One or two more Republican presidents and Congresses, and we'll probably see the return of debtor's prison.
Here's a thing I've never understood about the credit card industry. Why are they so concerned about restricting personal bankruptcy when they'll happily offer brand new lines of credit to individuals only a few years after they get their debts wiped out in court?
Could very well be the first step in bringing back debtor's prisons.
I'm quite sure somebody will get caught up in the new disaster looming and be arrested, as will some that totally get fed up and flee the country to get away from this new mess.
wow ... looks like the only things worse than banks are credit card companies... and some politicians
i hope i'll never have to buy a credit card ... i already feel being totally ripped off with my giro-account from my bank where i only get like 0.5% for additional money and 10.somthing% interest if i'm below zero
i honnestly can't see any use for a creditcard besides using ITMS or other internet offers....
While this all sorta "popped up" recently, the effort has been around for several years.
The baddest part of the deal is that protections are not included for those people who get into credit trouble through no fault of their own: Medical stuff, for example. An amendment for that was offered, but it was shot down.
The problem for those issuing the cards is that there has been so much irresponsible use of credit, going back a couple of decades. When I read about a national average credit-card debt around $8,000 per household, I gotta wonder: I know a lot of households with zero debt, so somebody is in really deep doo-doo. When there is some article detailing the problems of a person who's $80K in the hole, I wonder just what in the world goes through their minds when they happily lay the plastic on some store or airline or vacation trip...
To me, it's a two-way street: Sure, VISA, et al, are greedy and rapacious. But, why is that news? Mr. VISA's card is a handy tool, but living beyond one's means via credit card is no different from the much older idea of "I still have checks, so I still have money." Just because that "pre-approved" card comes in the mail doesn't mean you'll get permanent hiccups and turn purple all over if you throw it all into the circular file.
Mr. VISA loans money and expects to get repaid. If folks go all brain-scrambled about how they misuse the card, why all the sympathy for them? (Again, I'm not talking about folks who through no fault of their own get into a financial bind.)
In the FWIW department, I note that it was over five years back that bankruptcy filings exceeded a million per year; the number has continued to rise. Interest rates are a risk/reward deal. Just in the last five years, that six or seven million walkaways from debt means a lot of unrepaid money to Mr. VISA.
Hedonism brings its own reward, I guess...
I've had the same old VISA card since back in the late 1960s. I can think of maybe three times when I bought something where I took more than the usual thirty days to pay it off.
Credit's just a tool. Wise use makes life better. Dumb use creates problems. My overall preference is 100% down, nothing a month.
The problem is, there's already a way for a judge to decide if someone is abusing credit or is facing a crisis through no fault of their own. Now there's not.
It's the same stupid logic that says zero-tolerance laws are a good idea. Look! One size fits all!
The problem is also that Mr. Visa has gamed the system so that all the advantages are on his side. No responsible businessperson I've ever met would sign a contract that one-sided for any of their business deals, but they will for a card. And the cards are getting more and more necessary for day to day life.
Personally, I have zero debt. None of any kind. My credit cards are always paid in full every month. All of those pre-approved mailings go straight into the shredder. Still, I'm not going to lecture anyone about debt. The few times I've tried, I've gotten my head handed to me -- so no more of that.
My point about the irresponsible use of credit is that it's not entirely the fault of the debtor. The credit card companies are delighted to offer new lines of credit to the over-extended and to even the recently bankrupted. So methinks the industry speaks out of both sides of its mouth on credit responsibility. They want it their way both coming and going -- and thanks to this Congress and President, they've got it.
Because the new bill gets them this (see bolded text).
And you gotta love this part:
Are they insane? Thirty percent isn't enough???
So here I am, a person who's practically made a religion out of living within his means. I save and invest. I'm self-employed, so there's no real danger of my losing my job (unless I fire myself -- and I haven't been tempted to do that, lately). About the only thing that could level me financially is medical bills -- which of course is a situation I can't control. If that should happen, I'll be in the same boat with the people who've amassed wallets full of maxed-out credit cards. At that point, according to Congress and the President, I'll be an irresponsible person who basically deserves what I get -- a lifetime of penury. My only reward for hitting bottom: I'd then be poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.
Uh, I hate to tell you this, but Bush's latest budget cuts back Medicaid to the states.
As a person with a medical condition that will certainly rear it's ugly head more often and more seriously as time ticks on, this makes me absolutely ill. Why does the GOP hate us so?
Recently, I had a trip to the Emergency room that turned into a 1.5 day stay at the hospital. When I got my bill (NOT including the physician's bills), $12,000. $4.88 a minute!! Next time I could easily be in there a week. Or 2 weeks. And this potentially could happen to me multiple times a year. Surgery is a distinct possibility.
What if I loose my job? What if I have no health insurance, or they won't pay? Should I lie on the floor and die because I cannot eat? Thanks for increasing my daily worries.
Why does the GOP hate me so?
At least the feeling is mutual.
Tell me again why a National Health Service like every other "civilized" nation has is such a bad idea. Isn't it time US politicians visited planet earth on a fact-finding tour? Here, many politicians do not have private medical insurance: it's the NHS or nothing, which at least concentrates their tiny minds from time to time.
I remember the huge hullabaloo when Maggie Thatcher admitted to having a private health insurance policy.
If it makes you feel any better, I predict we're headed for a major train wreck over health care in this country. The entire world is facing enormous problems, but in the US it's going to be even worse because the ideologues control the solutions, and they're far more interested in the care and feeding of corporate interests than the lives of regular people. In the end, I suspect the regular people will figure this out, but by that time, I fear it may be too late.
At the risk of sounding a little repetitive, this is yet another reason I'm moving to Canada.
I get angry when I read about these things. But there's a little voice in my head soothing me with promises of the sanity and humanity that lie just a few hours north.
Because they you're stealing from taxpayers! Didn't you know that it's stealing when the government takes money from some, particularly libertarians, for programs they don't agree with, and sound tax policy when you take from liberals and spend on programs they don't agree with?
Or so it's been explained to me anyway.