I think the credit card industry has ALWAYS been predatory. Back in the early 60's in Houston, the Chronicle was full of editorials about "demon debt" and the beginning of the loss of our usuary laws. These editorials cautioned against allowing second mortgages in Texas -- that eventually the banks would find a way to tempt people to lose their homes by signing up for credit and that circumstances would leave them homeless. I was very young when these editorials and articles came out and I remember thinking - no, it is a good thing to borrow when you need the money (after all, I was ALWAYS "wanting" in those days!). Texas was back then a heavily DEMOCRATIC state and the Depression was very fresh on minds back then. My grandmother and father quickly set me straight (although, I confess, I didn't really believe them) telling me stories of how "great" those same con jobs were right before the Depression and how so many people came to suffer because of the greedy that preyed on people who were just trying to have a better life for their children. Nowadays, people in this state believe and worship the almighty corporation - whatever is good for banking, for big oil, for big pharma, for Mr. Big, is gonna be Good For Them.
If our grandchildren are going to have any kind of life outside of corporate slavery, it is imperative that people start believing that government should SERVE THEM. That their tax dollars, when combined with everyone else's tax dollars, can do great things FOR THE COMMON GOOD. That corporations should be paying HIGHER taxes than the citizen because, after all, they use MORE governance than the citizens do - they use MORE roads, MORE courts, MORE laws (have you ever SEEN the COMMERCIAL CODE?), MORE, MORE, MORE and that they can only function as the PEOPLE allow (states CAN and SHOULD be revoking corporate charters of businesses caught HURTING CITIZENS - [enron]). But these "sane laws" will never happen unless the CITIZENS express outrage and DEMAND what it right. When the people are not listened to, our Constitution gives THE PEOPLE the necessary tools to FIX IT THEMSELVES. So far, THE PEOPLE don't even yawn over this stuff...---BUT I HAVE GREAT HOPES.
The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't. Henry Ward Beecher
Some people develop a wish bone where their back bone should be.
Never make the same mistake twice or you'll never get around to all of them.
My husband and I raised 6 kids without using a credit card until he lost his job 8 years ago. We had 3 kids at home and 2 in college. We ended up $50,000 in debt which we finally paid off by using some money from our 401K and some money from my mom and a whole lot of monthly payments. It was awful. I try to never use them unless I can pay them off but sometimes stuff happens and when it does there should be sane laws governing what can happen to the people who use them.
"Speak the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words." St. Francis of Assisi.
Am afraid that the news today might be so depressing that am at the point of doing news "avoidance". So, am doing a non-news, non-depressing reply to the message Posted by: KYRRDIS - 5/3/2008 who is a fan of one of the mystery writers that I greatly admire and enjoy reading:
VISITED YOUR SP PAGE. Saw the photo of you and Sue Grafton. She is one of my absolute favorite writers. I love some of the quotes from her alphabet mystery series:
If high heels were so wonderful, men would be wearing them.
Compromise? That's when you give away half the things you want. That's when you give the other guy half of what's rightfully yours.
Thinking is hard work, which is why you don't see a lot of people doing it.
I was fortunate enough to 'get religion' about credit card debt some years back. I'd never had problems with the credit cards until I went jobless for several months. Several cash advances put me in a hole I never thought I'd get out of.
I was fortunate enough to find a site (don't have the link here) that created a monthly schedule for paying off my cards. For the most part, I followed it, and managed to pay them off.
The balance on the one card I hold is about to go up again (from zero), since I need a new heat pump. I have moved money from savings to immediately pay off about half of that, and if W sends me a rebate, that's what I'll be using it for.
I have been very fortunate. Worked for the US for 35+ years and retired at 55 w/decent retirement income and mortgage on house paid off and 2 daughters graduated from college with professional jobs in their fields of study. However, some are not so lucky as I have been or some others responding about using credit cards. From a NYTimes article:
Economy & Business; The Pain of Coping When a Job Is Snatched Away
By JILL ANDRESKY FRASER
THREE years ago, Susan Sullivan, then 34, and her husband, Peter, 44, were thriving. The couple, both marketing professionals, worked hard and enjoyed a combined income of about $250,000 a year.
Then, within two weeks of each other in the spring of 2001, the Sullivans lost their jobs, right about the time that she became pregnant. Unable to find work, they moved from Newton, Mass., a pricey Boston suburb, to Worcester, to cut their living expenses. With job prospects slim, they began entrepreneurial ventures: she, a marketing consulting firm, and he, a computer network security firm. Their daughter is now almost two. With combined yearly earnings of about $20,000, they have cut their spending to the bone and make ends meet with food stamps and credit cards.
''We had about $40,000 in savings, but we spent that a long time ago,'' Ms. Sullivan said. ''Now we owe more money in credit card bills than I ever would have believed possible. We don't spend money on anything at all that isn't a complete necessity. Your whole way of thinking changes. The other day I was so excited: I got a credit card offer for a new card that will give us a long period with zero percent financing.''
The Sullivans are scarcely alone. Unemployment has grown to 8.8 million. One out of every four had been looking for a job for 27 weeks or longer, up from one out of five a year earlier.
In recent years, the effect of widespread joblessness on consumption patterns in the United States has been tough to recognize, largely because so many people, employed as well as unemployed, have relied heavily upon credit cards, mortgage refinancings and other loans to sustain spending that might otherwise have been unaffordable.
Edited by: BBFMAIL at: 5/3/2008 (19:20)
Fitness Minutes: (3,000) Posts: 135 5/3/08 3:45 P
I agree with the wait and see. It will be great if it passes. I, too, have been raised with the no getting into debt policy. My philosophy is that if you don't have the money to buy it, you probably don't need it. If it is something I really want, I do it the old fashioned way, I save for it. Credit cards are useful as long as you pay it off every month.
NANCY TREJOS WASHINGTON POST The Federal Reserve and two other banking regulators are set to unveil today one of the most aggressive efforts in decades to crack down on the credit card industry, prohibiting practices such as arbitrarily raising interest rates on outstanding balances. The proposed regulations, which could be finalized by year's end, would label as "unfair or deceptive" practices that consumers have long complained about. That includes charging interest on debt that has been repaid and assessing late fees when consumers are not given a reasonable amount of time to make a payment. When different interest rates apply to different balances on one card, companies would be prohibited from applying a payment first to the balance with the lowest rate. . .
The proposal also seeks to regulate overdraft protection, banning companies from assessing a fee unless the customer chooses not to opt out of that service.
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