Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Financial Calamity -- Priceless

It is said that the world is in a state of bankruptcy, that the world owes the world more than the world can pay.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82), essayist

Along with high gas prices, food prices, entertainment prices, overpriced homes, now your credit card interest rate is going up too. According to the Wall Street Journal article in the Aug. 11 issue, a few major issuers, including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Citigroup, and Bank of America are going to hit you and me with maximum penalty rates that can reach over 30 percent.

Of course, no one has put a gun to our heads and told us to over spend, or not pay a minimum payment. We can resist everything but the temptation to reward ourselves for working so hard, get that new car, treat yourself and spouse or significant other to an expensive dinner you’re worth it. Don’t forget that well deserved vacation for those 60 and 70 weeks you have been putting in. And, most importantly, don’t forget to pay your minimum payment on your credit card. But if you miss it, no worries.

The banking industry counts on you missing it. U.S. cardholders paid more than $24 billion in credit-card fees in 2004, an 18 percent jump from 2003. Guess what, the banks were worried we might file for bankruptcy, so they tighten the laws. Our politicians didn’t let them simply tighten the screws, no Sir, no Mme, our elected officials put the screws to all of us.

With the new laws, you will have your wages garnished to ensure you pay at least a good portion of that bill, if you eventually get a job. Everything is for the corporation and to protect the corporation. You and I have no one looking out for us anymore. Maybe we never did, but the government at least used to make it look like they did.

On some level we must all believe we have a chance at the brass ring because we keep allowing the rules to change in favor of those at the top. We have bought into a fantasy where we know the price of everything, but forget the final tally for society -- financial calamity -- priceless.


Stephen (aka Q) said...

Another example of President Bush's allegiance to big business.

And big business pays attention. They know what the President is up to, and they lobby for decisions to go their way.

Whereas ordinary men and women aren't organized in any comparable way. They are unaware of so much that goes on in government (it's too complex!), and they don't lobby for their own interests.

We describe Western countries as democracies, and I think it's a distortion of the facts. Capitalism is the driver in the Western world; democracy is merely a passenger.

The Misanthrope said...

Q, To continue with your metaphor; Capitalism is driving drunk, smoking a cigar and Democracy has been stuffed into the trunk.

You are so right, the people are not organized, therefore we are forgotten. When unions were strong people were considered and some safety nets were in place.

Rags said...

Now, now guys... Certainly we can follow the great lead of our esteemed federal government when it comes to not going into debt, can't we?

Oh, wait. That doesn't work either.

Janet said...

Well I look at it like this. I can't control inflating gas or housing prices, but I can control my credit card spending. Lucky for me, late charges are one of very few things I've yet to have to worry about (knock on wood...)