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August 19, 2010


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This time the Republicans are wrong not to support the bill to protect Americans from high interest rates and fees from credit card companies. The idea that the banks need the freedom to collect 30% fees from people who are late with a few payments on their credit cards over the years is simply wrong. What bankers need is better standards for who they offer large credit balances too and better ways to solve the problem of customers in need of some relief from time to time. Bankers don't offer services to help people in time of crisis ,sickness or temporary financial stress, but rather they use high interest rates, fees and penalties to make those who do "pull it out" pay for those who don't make it. Five to ten years ago it was nothing to have a bank send you unsolicited and preapproved a Ten thousand dollar line of credit in the mail. You could get 10 to 20 credit cards in your name. The marketing schemes included 12 months zero interest cash advances encouraging Americans with little experience to spend like crazy with this tax free, interest free windfall. Then the games began to "catch" the customer in a late payment so that the fine print of the agreement came into play: maximum interest rates of 29.99% on the balance. Added to the game was minimum payments of basically 30% --interest only-- locking the customer into a lifelong payment plan with near zero reduction of the principal. And, if that was not enough the billing cycle was not 30 days but instead 27 days making it more likely that the customer would make a late payment triggering the penalties. Now, in the middle of a recession with millions of Americans in forclosure, millions more with mortgages underwater and millions more making the minimum payments the banks are pushing the 30% interest, lowering the credit limits and restricting the credit of even their most capable customers while paying 0% interest to the Feds who are broke themselves. This scheme allows the banks to ignore workouts and simply financially rape the people who are working to pay off their balances rather than bankrupt themselves and forego them. The banks are doing the same thing to the foreclosure victims. Why has the foreclosure workout program of Obama not worked? Banks find ways to extract the penalties from others including the Feds who are covering the losses. Meanwhile in my neighborhood foreclosed properties which could be rented out and maintained are sitting vacant and deteriorating. Million dollar houses in ruin.
Credit cards are the primary line of credit for millions of small business owners. And, when the banks charge them 30% interest and reduce their credit limits as they pay down the balances then these owners have no ability to hire people , purchase inventory or to promote sales. So America suffers. And, the banks get all the help they need from Uncle Sam.
Congress is trying to get the attention of the bankers with limits on penalties and interest rates. So this bill goes the right direction. But, bankers are smart. And they have the money. They will more likely find a new way to extract the fees from the customers than to address the problem of working with their customers to solve the problem. republicans are worng not to support this bill. But this bill like the healthcare bill requires bipartisan support to make sure it is a good bill that addresses the real problems. And, bipartisanship is nowhere to be seen.

Make the line in the sand date December 2009---ooops

I'm already old and I don't like to rush the days to go by any faster than they are but November cannot get here soon enough. Last night I watched a debate on whether Obama was just incompetent at being President or just too arrogant to care about Americans. There was no debate about whether he was doing the job. Here's the latest out of Obama:

1. At a Democratic fund raiser he compared the economy to a sick person: it is healing (getting better) very slowly but it is headed in the right direction. However, he added, "It will not get back the 8 million jobs lost for many years. And, anyone who says differently is running for election." Now, to me, that is the basis of his belief: say anything to get elected and then when you do ignore what you said and do what you want. He is the smoke and mirrors man. he was going to cure the unemployment problem or so we were led to believe. To get 8 million jobs back all that has to happen is that the average small business (There 8 million of them) has to hire one person. One would think that the leader of the country would encourage that rather than tell us to hunker down for the long haul. This is a race to get the economy rolling before the deficit spending bankrupts the country. It is the race of our generation. Our children's future is at stake.

2. Obama's intelligence team met with the Isreali's and assured them that Iran is at least one year away from a nuclear weapon. And, as if that was supposed to make Isreal feel secure they added, idiotically, a year is a long time. Huh? First of all who could possibly trust US Intelligence to know exactly where Iran's nuclear program stands? We are still discovering undisclosed sites. And a year is something that you can predict to the day? Only 9 months ago Obama promised he had drawn a line in the sand of December 2010 for Iran to come to the table and negotiate away their nuclear ambitions. All this talk between the US and Isreal was to keep Isreal from attacking Iran by assurring them that the US and Isreal will take military action if we detect that they are getting close to a weapon. Talk about double talk. If we are really willing to do it then why not now? Talk about walking the tightrope. Predicting to the day that the weapon will be complete? Did we detect Pakistan's, North Korea's, India's, Isreal's right to the day? And, the Administration went on to add that iran assures us they are developing the nuclear program for peaceful purposes. And the long range missile systems are for-----launching satellites maybe?

3. Buy a copy of Bill's book. I want to see the movie. Good luck, Bo.

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