Changing gears here. I don't know exactly how well this is going to work, but I'm going to give it a try. Because there is something going on that is truly pissing me off.
First and foremost I am an American. I love this country in a way that cannot readily, or easily be explained. I truly wish that the American dream still existed and I do believe that one of the larger reasons that America is in the situation its in can be blamed squarely on the shoulders of one industry. Credit and debt, and the collection thereof.
Now let me tell you that I'm not in any kind of debt trouble, I've got a 725 credit score. Pretty good, but not as good as it could be. I've got a few outstanding debts. Nothing spectacular, but enough to give me pause from time to time. Luckily, my biggest outstanding creditor is dear old mom. And I'm not in any real danger of her waiting for me outside my apartment with a baseball bat.
I've been reading and seeing a lot about this little problem lately. I don't really know what got my guns up about this one, but its happened so here's my take.
Take a look at this first and then I'll throw my thoughts at you. CHECK IT OUT!
I don't have much in the way of hard dates on what has happened, or real hard facts, because most of this is shot directly from the hip which is where I normally write from. So there is no gospel here, but everyone knows this shit is pretty much true.
-Credit card companies lobby the shit out of congress to get the usury laws changed so that they can charge whatever the hell they want.
-They began doing so.
-Wages in this country stagnated.
-People could no longer live a decent life on one income.
-Credit cards became the answer to maintaining their standard of living.
-People fucked up along the way, and slipped behind.
-Fees, interest, penalties, and all the other shit stacked up until people just couldn't do it anymore.
-Debts are sold to collection agency fuckrags and they proceed to destroy the lives of those on their little lists.
Now this little series of events has been repeated a few billion times since this all began. It spread throughout the financial sector and infected the housing market and reared its ugly head in the foreclosure crisis. Americans owe an unprecedented 2.5 trillion dollars.
MOTHERFUCKER I JUST SAID TRILLION!!!!
Who the hell loaned Americans 2.5 trillion dollars?
Wait, how about this...this is what a trillion is.
If you had gone into business on the day Jesus was born, and your business lost a million dollars a day, day in and day out, 365 days a year, it would have taken you until October 2737 to lose a trillion dollars.
And banks, credit card companies and whoever the hell else loans this money out have managed to do that 2 and a half times. (not to mention, Uncle Sam allowed this insanity.)
Sorry folks, someone needs to be shot! Dead in the face.
Brake check, I'll say this. There are a lot of reasons to blame consumers for this. And I feel your pain, because there are a lot of things that people should have realized. Don't spend money you don't have, don't live beyond your means, don't do this, don't do that. I got it. I understand it. Its absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt true. If you borrowed more money than you could reasonably afford to pay back, then you are a dumbass and completely deserving of the situation you are in.
But where in the hell are the bankers on this one? Logic dictates that only a customer with the capacity to repay their debts is a profitable entity to the financial industry.
Well, as in all things involving American banking, Logic has absolutely nothing to do with it. In an MSNBC report for Dateline, some Harvard Law professor said that the credit card issuers have realized that they make more money in higher interest and fees and penalties and all that shit than they do in interest on the original credit line.
I'm just going to take her at her word because I don't want my head to explode trying to figure all this madness out.
Well as per usual somewhere along the line Uncle Sam and his unholy alliance with all things green (money green, not environment green) is responsible for this shit storm.
They changed the usury laws. When? I have no idea. Before I was born, or at least before I could get a credit card. They threw out caps on interest rates and deregulated (or at least let the credit granters write the regulations) the financial industry and lo and behold the entire system went to shit and Americans are losing their homes by the thousands, millions more are drowning in debt, the government itself is sinking into the sand under the weight of its own astronomical debt, and as always who holds the bag?
The producers. The soldiers, the cops, firemen, plumbers, electricians, security guards, bartenders, writers, teachers, prison guards, factory worker, and every other blue collar job out there that doesn't have a lobbyist firm at their beck and call.
There are a lot of proposed changes to the financial industry that are floating around. Plus we all know about the huge bailouts given to Wall Street. Those are old news. However, I would like someone to figure out just how much of our citizens credit card debt we could've paid off with those bailouts. And here's another question I think I may have thrown out there before. How many mortgages could the federal government have paid off with that bailout money.
You know, why don't we help actual Americans as opposed to helping these fucking companies that created this steaming pile of American bullshit in the first place?
So there are all these changes floating around. Who knows which one they'll pick, and who really cares? In any case, we're going to get fucked with the proverbial red, white and blue (and green) weenie.
Why is it that no one is talking about a simple set of rules that would not fix, but would at least bring some sense of sanity to this industry. Would bring some kind of transparency to this shit. Would just make this whole thing palatable?
Simply cap usury (interest rates) at 15%
Do not allow any more than a $20 fuck up fee. No other fees, no service charges, no maintenance fees. No nothing! They can only add $20 to your bill if you're late.
Everybody gets a 30 day grace period on purchases. No 25 or 21 or whatever bullshit. 30 days from the time of purchase before interest starts accruing.
And that's pretty much it. No company can charge more than 15% in interest on anyone or anything for any reason. Pretty damn simple.
And here's an idea for the banks...
You've got access to credit reports and scores. You can ask people for their pay stubs before you give them money.
MAKE SURE THEY CAN AFFORD TO PAY THIS SHIT BACK BEFORE YOU GIVE THEM ANY MONEY!!!!
But as always, mine is a simple solution to what the government and the finance industry would have you believe is a complex problem.
To which I say, Fuck you. You made it that way to benefit your own narrow self interests.
When, oh when will Americans awaken from their slumber and throw their lawmakers out of office and to the wolves (make them work for a living, can't putz along as government bureaucrats anymore.) And put some people in Washington who might have some semblance of a clue...
Will it ever happen?
I love you Mom...