TCS Daily


Big Credit and Big Government

By Erik Voorhees - May 22, 2009 12:00 AM

"Send me a bill that stops credit card companies from taking advantage of consumers, and do it by month's end, President Barack Obama is demanding of Congress" - Associated Press

Yet again, the U.S. Government is regulating voluntary actions between individuals through the use of coercive force. And, yet again, it is doing so under the false and self-defeating pretenses of "protection" and "fairness." Obama has taken it upon himself to protect every American by relinquishing them of their adult responsibilities and is in fact punishing credit providers for an offense his own organization is much more guilty of committing.

The purpose of Obama's regulation du jour is to prevent Americans from "being scammed" or "tricked" by manipulative credit card companies (I'm still awaiting the imminent moniker "Big Credit" to spew out of some populist Senator's mouth). Surely, nobody wants to be tricked, and for this reason it is likely Obama's scheme will have substantial support. After all, who wouldn't want to be absolved of their obligations to fulfill burdensome credit card contracts?

Let me first say this: If the credit card companies are actually tricking or manipulating their customers, then let the victims bring suit against these fraudulent actions. This is the way a lawful society works... upon breach of a law, the victim has the right to claim reparation.

Instead, Obama - with the full faith and encouragement of the U.S. population, no doubt - is deciding that adults are not capable of being responsible for themselves because they have the possibility of misreading their mail and misunderstanding advertisements. I wonder if this will become a precedent for new avenues of Government intervention. I wonder if the same argument will soon be used to legislate peoples' mortgage contracts (given the recent issues associated with mortgage repayment). I wonder if Obama will be surprised when these policies make debt more expensive for the consumer (and the lender) and thus more burdensome and costly for society in aggregate.

Obama continues:

"Americans know that they have a responsibility to live within their means and pay what they owe, but they also have a right to not get ripped off by the sudden rate hikes, unfair penalties, and hidden fees that have become all too common."

From this statement, Obama clearly wants to uphold the illusion of personal responsibility while in the very same breath demolishing the concept completely.

Further, Obama states:

"You shouldn't have to fear that any new credit card is going to come with strings attached..."

What is an "attached string?" Could that refer to a "term" or a "condition?" Translation: you shouldn't have to understand finance in order to obtain it.

Apparently, Obama has now mandated that Americans have the right to avoid "unfair penalties." Of course, one might consider that having 40% of his wealth seized from him by the IRS is an unfair penalty on his earned income, but it is unlikely Obama will include that obvious injustice within the scope of this new legislation.

Continuing...

"nor should you need a magnifying class and a reference book to read a credit card application."

How can Obama bash credit card companies for their complicated contracts when the U.S. Tax Code is by far the most convoluted document in all of existence (is this an exaggeration?). Most people can understand credit card contracts if they actually read them. Most people cannot understand the Tax Code, if for no other reason than that its intricacies have required volumes of books to detail and its practice has become a full-time profession for thousands of people throughout the country. An entire industry has sprung up to help people navigate the tax code (or are they just profiteering?). The same cannot be said of credit card contracts. Now, it is true that these contracts may require some "thinking," but if one can't understand them, one doesn't have to sign up for the card in the first place. The same cannot be said of the tax code.

Obama is thus going to punish credit card companies for a crime that his own organization is most guilty of committing. The outlawing of "sudden rate hikes, unfair penalties, and hidden fees," is almost criminally ironic, for this description is utterly more applicable to US tax policy.

What is the real scam? Who is a bigger threat to Americans- credit card companies or the Internal Revenue Service? Who siphons off more money? Who provides a better service for the debts? Whose policy is easier to understand? Who's subjected to the competitive marketplace and who hides behind a coercive monopoly? Most importantly, whose service is voluntary?

All Americans are coercively forced to pay income taxes, subjected perpetually to sudden rate hikes, unfair penalties, and hidden fees. All Americans have the choice to take advantage of debt from credit card companies, subjected only to rate hikes, penalties, and fees which were stipulated upfront in their contracts (failing this the individual is entitled to sue).

So, really, is Obama's latest cry for change directed at the right thing?


Erik Voorhees is a frequent commentator on political economics through his blog at dubaiblog.net and a member of The Free State Project (freestateproject.org).
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95 Comments

Big Credit
Great article demonstrating the hypocrasy of Big Government.

On another angle we might say that these poor duped rubes are just following the example of the government itself living beyond their means. If the government is irresponsible, this encourages the people to be too.

I would even make the case that the government is worse because they can pass on their debts to other people(our children, grandchildren, future generations), whereas with normal people, mostly their debts die with them.

I also liked how the author pointed out how taxes are just pure theft; no wonder kids have little respect anymore, and also steal as much as they can get away with, they're just following the government's example.

Buzzwords abound
"Yet again, the U.S. Government is regulating voluntary actions between individuals through the use of coercive force. And, yet again, it is doing so under the false and self-defeating pretenses of "protection" and "fairness."

Right. Since you can't rent a car or buy a plane ticket without showing them your card, you have to have a card. And there are a handful of competitors in the field, just like with the fuel distributors. Only they all are easily able to offer the same onerous terms and fees, penalties and interest rates that are unlimited by law (to give us more free choices of how to get soaked).. and to do so without any collusion. Because they all know there are no rules to the game they are playing with the American consumer. They have Harry and Sally over a barrel and they know it. And we know it.

So they're only trying us out at 36% interest, to see how it works. If people don't decide they can live without plastic, they'll bump it up to 46%. We know how the process proceeds. After all, if we haven't built up a track record of credit, they won't let us buy a house. Or a car.

So let's do away with those weasel words, "protection" and "fairness". Let's just have it out in the open. You know you can't show up at the store and offer the cashier a check. They'll just look puzzled and say "what's this?". You HAVE to have one of our cards. Which we're offering you in two varieties, credit or debit.

Either way, we're stuck.

Oh, and by the way.. you're entering into this card agreement of your own free will. Any time you want to change the terms of the agreement you can just send it back to the card issuer, with the terms you're willing to agree to inked in on the back of the little wadded up piece of paper with the tiny grey printing on it.

Right?

It's a free country.. except for those of us who have to pay the charges.

What's the 800 lb Gorilla Roy is EVADING? The FACT that people have NO OBLIGATION to provide Credit
..

"interest rates that are unlimited by law"
This statement of yours can't be true. Quite recently in fact someone wrote in about all the various medieval usury laws in different states. That could have been me though, so you might say it's not true.

But the country indeed is still free enough that you can lend people money that the rate you deem proper, right? Or wait a minute, you wouldn't do that yourself, you just want the government to force other people to.

On another angle if you're too poor to pay the charges, you could always do something drastic like......live within your means.

The next domino to fall
Currently only 22 percent of the public identifies itself as being Republican.

In the new issue of American Prospect, it is revealed that plans are afoot to nationalize the Republican National Committee next-- using the same approach the administration has applied to every other entity with a failed business model.

The Plan unfolds...

Allow me to enlighten you
It's true.. every state that still bothers has a usury law somewhere on its books. But that's immaterial.

I forget the name of the precedent, but a number of years back the Supreme Court issued the opinion that the governing law was not that of the state in which the customer resided. It was in the state in which the issuer was incorporated.

They're all incorporated in South Dakota. Which has no usury law. That's why SD, a tiny state, is so big in national politics.

The problem arose with bank deregulation, when they allowed the card issuing banks to do business across state lines.

So it's perfectly legal, until the new law passes, for them to lure you with an introductory 0% card offer. Then when they have you hooked, to switch it to a plan carrying 31.99% interest.

Everything is for profit these days. And you can't do without your credit card.

"On another angle if you're too poor to pay the charges, you could always do something drastic like......live within your means."

Good point. Let's say you're a beneficiary of government force, and they've forced your employer to pay you the minimum.. say $6.75 a hour.

And you go out to find someplace to live that isn't the back seat in your car. Guess how much rent you're qualified to pay?

Answer: $351. That leaves you with $819 a month to pay for everything else in your life. Including state and local taxes.

I used to do this for a living. Let me know if you want to see how the numbers get crunched.

The lowest rent you'll find in this county is about $650. Although if you move back to one of the poor counties you can find a beat up trailer for $450. But $350? There's nothing.

That's how credit became such a big business. In the old days, when most people earned a living wage, only a few people ever had to take their TV set down to the pawnshop to get over until the next payday.

Without credit you can't..
* Apply for a car loan
* Apply for a home loan
* Rent a car
* Buy a plane ticket
* Run any sort of business, no matter how small..

In addition you encounter very real difficulties either getting a job or renting a home. People insist on seeing your credit report, and judge "no open lines of credit" as being an adverse condition.

Both employers and landlords like dealing only with people who are glued to the Grid. That way they can hurt them if they have to.

There's no way a body can live in this country when they pay only cash. That's how things have changed.

Who needs credit if you have the cash?
Credit agencies are entirely private, free market entities. How can such non-government entities have so much power without coercion?

"That's how things have changed". Things can change AGAIN. Don't DIVERT the issue Roy
The issue is men's un-chosen positive obligations to others.

Or, to put it in another way, FORCED positive obligations of people, which you support.

Talk about that.

still not enlightening
Yes, I remember that thread, and if states have laws which are not valid if people can get out of state cards, this is more evidence on how stupid governments are. But if true, it shows how SD is being clever on that angle.

Your argument seems to be based on the false assumption that people can not live at all, unless they live beyond their means by use of credit they can't afford.



It for sure isn't true that "you can't do without a credit card". There are many people who live just fine without them, and I know some people who have them for an emergency but don't use them normally.

If you are poor you shouldn't be flying around on aircraft or renting cars, or buy a new plasma TV on a card.

I have often given suggestion around here on how poor people could manage better. Here's a few more.
Many people could move into their parents, or other relatives or friends basements or garages. You mom might let you stay there for say $300 a month, a big savings. In addition this would her out with her meagre pension; thus it would be good for both.

People could start digging up their lawns and putting in 'victory gardens', every square inch in spinach and tomaties, etc.

People could pawn off their kids play-stations, and have them solicite for work around the neighbourhood; kind of like the guys you hire yourself.

People could stop wasting their meagre resources by quitting smoking, drinking, whoring, gambling, their $100+ a month cable bill, etc.

If they have a job that is only minimum wage, and it isn't too far away, they could walk or bicycle there instead of driving. It is often said that people commonly spend a couple of hours a day driving to and from work; so it's reasonable that they could also walk, or bicycle a couple of hours a day.

People could try to improve their marketable skills by self-study, or training courses, or working for free with skilled friends/neighbours.

I invite others to submit even more practicle suggestions.

Percentages
"So they're only trying us out at 36% interest, to see how it works. If people don't decide they can live without plastic, they'll bump it up to 46%."

Funny, but since I pay my bills on time; I'm beseiged by offers to borrow against my open credit line, usually @ rates less than 6%.

Then again if you somebody who lets your FICO drop under 700, and become the equivalent of a personal junk bond issuer and end up paying a substantial risk premium.

Governments need people to smoke and drink to balance budgets.
Just an extra incentive not to smoke or drink alcohol.

It has become common practise
"Credit agencies are entirely private, free market entities. How can such non-government entities have so much power without coercion?"

Because it has become common practise.

I'm surprised you don't know this. Try this experiment. Go down to Budget or Enterprise and tell them you want to rent a car. They'll ask to see a major card.

Tell them you don't have one, you'll be paying cash. They'll tell you "We're sorry, sir. Our policy is to require a credit card."

Then you pull a stack of ten crisp hundreds out of your pocket and wave them in the guy's face. Tell him "Look here, buster. You can HOLD this thousand dollars until I get back with your car. That can be my deposit.

And the guy will say, nervously this time, "We're sorry, sir. Our policy is to require a credit card."

Try it.

Now try this one. You're booking a plane ticket. And instead of going for a cheap fare on the internet you somehow find a travel agent. And you tell her you're paying cash.

She may book your flight for you. But you'll be put on the watch list so fast it'll make your head spin.

Now go out for a job interview. The guy likes you. You two are really hitting it off. And you fill out an application for him. There's nothing on it about any major credit card. There doesn't have to be.

The first thing Personnel does is run your credit report. And they come back and tell your interviewer "This guy has NO open lines of credit. He doesn't exist."

So he says "That's such a shame. I thought he was on the up and up. But obviously he's either erased his history or he's covering his tracks. Maybe he's using an alias. He must have some good reason for staying invisible."

So you don't get the job. Try these experiments, and see how pervasive credit is to our way of life.

I'll be happy to
But first could you tell us, using ordinary language, what you mean by this?

"The issue is men's un-chosen positive obligations to others.

"Or, to put it in another way, FORCED positive obligations of people, which you support.

"Talk about that."

I thought the discussion surrounded fact A (it's difficult to live normally in America without keeping lines of credit open and using them, and fact B (that credit providers feel no obligations toward their customers).

In other words they've engineered a situation where they have the public over a barrel, and then claim they have no responsibility for the situation. It's very wrong on the face of it.

It's not stupidity..
It's collusion.

"..if states have laws which are not valid if people can get out of state cards, this is more evidence on how stupid governments are. But if true, it shows how SD is being clever on that angle."

Originally the banks could not be chartered in more than one state. And each state could frame its own usury law as needed.

Then the banks were deregulated, and could issue cards anywhere.

Meanwhile the financial services industry, having made this come to pass, continued to shower every member of Congress with more bribes. The Supreme Court, however, seems to have colluded through ideological conviction. Because a case came up the courts where a card issuer charged an onerous rate of interest to a cardholder, transgressing the state law forbidding usury. And the Supremos decided that the only relevent law was that of the state in which the bank was chartered.

South Dakota was in fact astute enough to make the state wide open for the financial services industry.. in much the same way Delaware is the home base for most corporations, due to the laxity of state law.

As a nation, we have become thoroughly corrupted through these practises. The consumer, even though he is simultaneously a voter, has no constituency in any branch of federal government.

I enjoyed reading your helpful suggestions on how to live on minimum wage. Maybe you should move back in with your mom.

You're just like me
I'm another one who pays on time and in full every month. So they don't make a dime off me. They make their money off the vendors who sell things to me.

And I got my current card at zero percent, from an ad in the mail. But since then the introductory off has expired, and they have me at 16.99%. Because they can.

Good thing I don't use revolving credit, or that would be a big bite. But let's say I'm that kind of person, never buying anything he can't afford to pay off at the end of the month. And I lose my job in the recession. All of a sudden I'm on the hook paying 17% on ordinary pruchases.

That's an abuse, and I'm glad the government is (belatedly) correcting it. But look at this! The card issuers are having the last laugh. So you're not going to lat us keep making money off the helpless and cash strapped? No problem. We'll just start making money off our best customers, by stopping the perks programs and by charging them interest on Day One after every purchase.

I'm tempted to say I hope they do try that. I'll stop using my card along with everyone else, and we'll see how they get by without an income stream.

"It’s difficult to live normally"; but not IMPOSSIBLE. But you want to use FORCE on innocent others
to make it EASY for you to live.

That’s the point you wish to EVADE by feigning IGNORANCE.

"We'll see how they get by without an income stream"; what compassion Roy!!!
Don't you see Superheater, ALL of Roy's attempts are to SAVE the Credit Card companies from themselves, by FORCIBLY PREVENTING them from charging higher interest rates which would then make the Roys of the world use less of them (the Credit Cards, that is), thereby denying them (the Credit Card Companies, that is) an income stream.

Sarcasm apart, that’s EXACTLY how the “System” should work
Neither the Card Issuers nor the Card Buyers have OBLIGATIONS towards the other, save the ones they agreed to when they made a contract.

It is called federalism.
Which is supposed to foster competition among the states.

Not Like You
So you're not going to lat us keep making money off the helpless and cash strapped?

If you are "helpless and cash-strapped", you shouldn't be borrowing money, because you have a high(er) chance of default.

I'm an adult, and I use revolving credit when it makes sense. I read the terms and conditions, and because I maintain good credit, if somebody ticks me off, I do the best thing possible-I punish them by leaving. Crapital One wouldn't stop sending me solicitations, so I cancelled.

I see you are still posting furiously, utterly ignorant of market processes, beholden to the fantasy of benevolent government marching in deus ex machina to protect the populus against every peddler boogeyman.



A race to the bottom
You appear to be endorsing a system where power is taken away from the individual states and goven to the federal entity-- which can choose to force every state to follow the laws of the most lax state.

I think this goes directly against what you claim to be your values. A state may want, for example, to limit the power of rapacious corporations to control its commerce. But they can't.. they have to follow Delaware's law.

It's part of the current trend. A state may want to limit allowable emissions, in excess of the requirements under federal law. But they can't. The federal rules trump the local rules.

This is a recipe for secession. Here, it's me who's the libertarian and you the one claiming the greater right of the federal government to rule.

You're playing a weak hand
I thought you were one of those who were maintaining the fiction that we and the card issuers were on an equal footing, coming together as equals in forging a mutual agreement on terms.

Yet when I say that if the terms they FORCE me to sign, or go without access to conveniences like air travel, or internet purchasing, are too onerous for me to sign.. and that the only way I can respond would be to NOT SIGN, and do without their card, that's somehow not playing fair?

I think there's a flaw in that reasoning. If they put out a product I don't like, and so I elect not to buy it, aren't I just exercising freedom of choice?

This reminds me of something
"Neither the Card Issuers nor the Card Buyers have OBLIGATIONS towards the other, save the ones they agreed to when they made a contract."

Right. If you want to use their card, you have to abide by their rules.

This is like being a resident in this country (even if you are unable to vote in it). By living here, you agree to abide by whatever rules the country chooses to make you live under. Even if they're dumb.. or inconvenient. That's the price of your residence here.

Or, it's like being a rebellious teenager, who refuses to live under Dad's rules. So he tells young wise ass "Look here, son. You live under MY roof, you'll live by MY rules. Any time you want to move out and get your own place, THEN you can live by your rules."

Is this an attitude you would endorse?

It is called full faith and credit.
It is the price a state pays to join the union 'club'.

That is what happens with medical insurance.
You can't buy cheaper medical insurance from another state.

Whose interests should be paramount?
"If you are "helpless and cash-strapped", you shouldn't be borrowing money, because you have a high(er) chance of default."

Very predictable, that you would toss them off with a glib value judgment.

In context, I was referring to those families that had been maintaining good credit histories, and on the strength of their earning power had obligated themselves to making payments on their homes and autos.

Then their breadwinner got the axe. They still (assuming they don't choose to asphyxiate themselves in the oven) have to live, somehow. But there's no new income flowing into the house. So what would you propose that they do? Mail the keys to the house and the car back to the finance company and sleep on the sidewalk?

These numbers, by the way, are not insignificant. How many family units are involved in this crisis? This summary from February should indicate the order of magnitude:

"The bleeding U.S. economy went on to lose more jobs last February, taking the head count to a total of 3.3 million lost jobs since September last year, and making it the highest unemployment level recorded in a quarter of a century.

"New records set

"651,000 employees got the ax in February which, according to government figures, is a bit lower than the 655,000 lost in January. The number of jobs lost last December reached 681,000, the highest loss for a single month in 59 years.

"Unemployment level climbed from 7.6% to 8.1% in February and was the highest recorded job loss rate since 1983, exceeding the 7.9% predicted by economists.

"A total of 4.4 million Americans lost their jobs since the beginning of 2008. A nationwide survey of families yielded a record of 12.5 million unemployed people, the highest number found since 1940."

http://ezinearticles.com/?Current-US-Unemployment-Rate-Sets-New-Records&id=2110339

That, of course, was back in February. 12,500,000 out of work. It's worse than that now. Millions of families in need of operating funds, while card issuers earning obscene sums from their misery stand on their right to continue charging extortionate sums in interest. I have an opinion on the ethical rightness of this.. as do you.

"I see you are still posting furiously, utterly ignorant of market processes.."

No, I follow the progression of such market processes very closely. I'm certainly not ignorant of them. But my opinion of how they should be handled in a responsible society differs from yours.

But, instead of simply NOT using their card, you want to FORCE them to YOUR terms. That’s the ISSUE
..

You talked of NOT using their product in jest. You support FORCING them to your terms
..

How can the free market have so much power?
Statists like yourself demand that without the iron fist of government to control the masses, people would run amok.
You acknowledge the power of the free market, but demand more government control.

Wrong end of the telescope
It's only by subverting the powers of a strong government that giant industries, including financial services, have been able to exert such a stranglehold on us. Without the powers of government behind them they wouldn't be in such a dominant position.

I'm neither a fan of big government, little government or medium sized government. What I'd like would be a government that curbs the power these institutions hold over us. And it would appear that both the Republican and Democratic Parties have been bought. With occasional exceptions, like this consumer protection bill.

Enetering into voluntary agreement
These "innocent others" you refer to.. would they be the people who wait until a customer has ensnared himself in a revolving line of credit, then when the hook has been sunk, suddenly switched his interest rate to 32.99%?

You're arguing a truly stupid case. These people are no more innocent than a heroin dealer, who might offer his customers heroin at a "low, introductory cost". Then when they've become addicted, upped the price.

It's a despicable practise, and should be curbed.

The way our society works, credit cards have become part of the national infrastructure, like streets and highways. And as essential structures, they need to be managed by someone other than the owners of the utility.

Suppose our road grid was all privately owned? And the company that owned the freeway going into town decided they had a captive market, and could quadruple the cost of their toll each day. If you lived outside town and worked in the center, you'd have to pay, wouldn't you?

Such an abuse would not be in the public's interest. And for that reason it was decided early in our republic's history that the roads would be publicly owned. Otherwise the tangle of individual ownership would have doomed the nation to near-immobility.

Here's another example. Why are the electric companies regulated? Because if they weren't, they might decide to double your rate next month. And double it again, the month after that.

They could make more money selling only to that portion of their customers who could still afford to purchase it than they could by providing service to everyone. So why don't we just let them use the "market approach" to decide what level of service they should provide, so as maximize their return? After all, isn't it "their" electricity?

We don't let them get away with that because it's in the public's interest to force them to set their rates at reasonable levels. That's because it's difficult for people to live without electricity. And it's not in our interest to let them deny service to half the population by quadrupling the cost.

There are costs for operating your business in this country. If you accept those costs, come here and start your business up. If you don't want to voluntarily accept that agreement, stay home where you came from.

A mouth full of anger
You have a lot of anger in you. But anger does no effective work when it's not harnessed to intelligence. You'd be better off to develop some.

The credit issuers have immense power over us because we need their product. There are only two ways we can counter this power. One is to persuade our government to regulate them, acting in our name.

If the government fails at that, the only power we have left is to live without them. Let them power dissipate through lack of business.

So which of the options do you support? You don't like the government. You don't like my refusing to support them with my business. That only leaves one alternative: prostrating myself before them and agreeing to their terms without protest.

So tell me. Should I just forget about being an individual and live in thrall to them? If you lived here, what would you do?

The use of force
Unfortunately, force is already implicit in the equation. The credit issuers have been forcing the public to accept their terms. And obviously a counterforce will be necessary to curb their abuses.

I would take away their monopoly. A federally run consumer credit program would be an excellent approach. They could offer cards at nominal expense to everyone with a good to excellent credit rating. And run the system not at profit. That would put the old style credit buccaneers out of business, except for servicing the fringe.

In fact that's a very good idea. Thanks for prompting me to think of it.

The decision whether to remain in the union
Explain some of the details to me. Would this "decision to join the union" be a voluntary one?

What happens if a state no longer wants to live under union rules? What, for instance, happened the last time some states objected? Aren't you endorsing the use of force?

Here's an example. North Carolina is concerned about toxic air quality, so we enact strong laws against pollution. The federal government gets taken over by a regime that despises clean air rules, so they gut the federal law on pollution controls.

Then they tell us that our state law does not get to supersede their law. Our law is void.

Is this the kind of thing our Founding Fathers intended?

You mean the power to enforce contract law?
As you pine for the 'good old days' of the 50s and 60s, recall that only the very wealthy had a credit card which was used primarily for those who traveled. It was called Diner's Club.

How does the government force people to spend more than they earn? (Of course, the government sets a very poor example.)

Wow, you support states rights and the Constitution?
SC refuses to accept federal bailout money because they will be forced to change their welfare laws.

What the founding fathers intended is in the Constitution, a federal government with defined, limited power. That began to fail under Lincoln.

I believe the CSA should have been allowed to secede. In a few short years they would have begged to return to the USA as the north was industrializing and rapidly expanding. Escaped slaves would have sanctuary in the USA and would not have been forced to return. Even if the south would have allied with France and or England, the south had little economic power.

"There are costs for operating your business in this country". And I have the "GUN" to impose them
That’s EXACTLY what I have been saying Roy.

Thanks for confirming it in so many words.

"The credit issuers have immense power over us because we need their product". So Roy uses the "GUN"
to get what he needs from them.

The cat is FINALLY out of the bag; Roy's ULTIMATE goal is to NATIONALIZE the Credit Card industry
..

Avoiding the traps set out for us
Back in the good old days of the fifties and sixties, we didn't need credit cards. They were not yet embedded in the fabric of our commercial life. And also, we had cash. We could pay our bills by personal check, which few vendors accept any more.

That's all changed now. We find their cards a necessity, while at the same time we are unable to alter the terms by which they are presented to us. That means we need our government's help in negotiating with the vendors who keep us tied to any debt we may be unwary enough to incur.

Back when we were getting paid an adequate wage, and had some semblance of job security, there was no need to risk getting ensnared in debt. Everyone knew to be wary of the money changers. But now, millions of us get dumped when the economy has one of its increasingly frequent setbacks.

Then it becomes no longer a matter of personal prudence keeping us out of trouble. It becomes a choice of whether to give up our homes and possessions to the bank or to indebt ourselves further to refinance the old debt.

BTW everything I have is paid for. And my card is always paid current. But I know enough to understand that's not just personal virtue that's kept me from harm. I've been fortunate not to have stepped into one of the many potholes that lie along our unlit path in life. Keeping one's head above water is an uncertain business in these treacherous times.

That would be inaccurate
More precisely, the preferred solution would bo to co-opt the credit industry.. by offering competing credit on better terms. They would just lose market share to the more competitive enterprise.

That it was sponsored by the government would be, in your words, immaterial.

By the way.. who are you, again? You're certainly not an American.

Terms can be altered, switch cards.
I discovered that Discover card averaged over two months. After I paid them off I will never use a company that does that again.

If you want economic growth...
then you should be demanding the government cut taxes across the board to businesses and individuals and getting out of the way of the economy. That has been the only action the government has ever taken that increases economic growth.

"They would just lose market share"; to the "GUN". How do you know I am NOT an American Roy?
Because I criticize (State) policies that you approve of, you conclude I am NOT an American?

Is it UN-AMERICAN to criticize public policy Roy?

Last I checked, that was not the case.

Did it change after YOUR leader took oath Roy?

stupicity misunderstanding
I'm glad you liked all my creatiave suggestions, but why would you say that I might move back in with my mom? Since I already know those ideas, I would do them if needed, but they were for the people you claim are too poor. Either you've never heard those ideas, or you believe people should be able to live beyond their means.

I like your other info though, and it gives more evidence why there should be no government since they seem to always be corrupt like that.

I also liked your comment about being a voter; if fact that only encourages them.

exactly re growth
Yes, in fact some economists say the whole world is basically only a few years from eliminating poverty if only people would stop being repressed, ripped off, and otherwise preyed upon by governments.

We have seen that peoples who were normally thought of as preferring to lay under a shade tree, given a chance actually wanted to work to improve their lives once given the chance.

As BHO likes to say, "The evidence is clear..."
"28 Principles of Freedom our Founding Fathers said must be understood and perpetuated by every people who desire peace, prosperity, and freedom" (p.p.f.)

http://www.amazon.com/5000-Year-Leap-Miracle-Changed/dp/0880801484

Of course too many either don't want p.p.f if some one else has them also.

The physics of p.p.f. ARE clear, do people have the will, the faith, the desire to implement the these fundamental 'laws'?

Freedom for all
In fact I support states' rights more than you do. Our pattern has been for the corporations to exert control over national politics, and to encourage the federal government to undercut the individual states. That way they can't individually veto the direction national government takes.. let's say by mandating initiatives the controlling authorities don't want.

The SC governor might sound like your kind of guy.. but he's shooting his constituents in the foot. The main way the feds exert authority is by retaining the power to withhold federal funds. And by de-funding his state during this time of need he has only assured his party's unpopularity for the next election. He has cheated the residents of his state.

As for our Constitution, it's a good set of operating principles.. but nothing I hold sacred. It can and should be changed to meet the demands of a changing world. To just believe in it come hell or high water is like believing in any Holy Writ. In this world, circumstances change.. and we need to adjust as the situation requires.

Also, we have knaves among us who distort its original meaning and sell their interpretation in the guise of strict construction. I am totally anti-Federalist.

However I agree with you here: the South should have been permitted to secede. To use force to retain them is anti-democratic, and indicates the kind of government we both chafe under. The North and South have always been two different kinds of nations. Each would have been happier not handcuffed to the other.

And the slaves fared even worse under the botched Reconstruction in many ways than they did under slavery proper. Real emancipation had to wait another hundred years.

But I think the South would not have been poor. In fact I'm surprised you'd say they had little economic power. They're really much more to the liking of your side of the debate. They were an oligarchy with a few wealthy planters and cronies at the top, with millions of poor whites available to use as mill hands if anyone wanted some cheap employees. And of course, unlimited unpaid labor at the bottom. They just had only a rudimentary middle class, composed of shopkeepers and tailors.

That kind of thing could have bumped along indefinitely.. provided there were no public schools, and the dupes could be kept in ignorance.

So each should have been able to go their own way. And the states today should still be largely sovereign. That way if the rules of one become onerous it would be easy to find a nearby place to move to, where the same language is spoken.

What a time waster
No, I conclude you are not an American because by your own words, you can't vote here. And the other explanations (too young, ex-felon, etc.) seem unlikely. And it would explain your lack of understanding of how things work in this country. I doubt you've ever even been to America.

There is another possibility I hadn't thought of. You may have at some point been judged a mental incompetent.

So it's incumbent on you to provide for us some bona fides. That way we can see where you're coming from. Or don't, it's all the same. But you at least have a chance to become credible to us.

So far all we've seen is a stupidly contentious person who's managed to alienate everyone else in the forum, regardless of their political orientation. For whatever psychological reason, you thrive on unpleasantness for its own sake.

You may stay your annoying self if you like. But you'll increasingly be finding fewer playmates here, I'm thinking.

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