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article imageOp-Ed: Bernanke And The Perpetuating Credit Card Swindle

By James Raider     Dec 20, 2008 in Politics
Banks, and whomever else we blissfully accepted a credit card from, have been charging us, all of us, grossly usurious fees.
Even those diligent observers faithfully sending off payments before they were due, have long been abused by capricious credit card issuers.
When the Head of The Fed, Ben Bernanke, gets involved because Congress has been asleep, you know the pressure of discontent from tens of millions of Americans is building beyond a sustainable level of annoyance. Bernanke’s comment that the rules, “will establish a new baseline for fairness,” is so fraught with meaning one doesn’t know where to begin its appreciation, … well almost.
This is what he might be saying, “We have been exhorting so much out of your pockets for so long through slight of hand, guilt, ... no make that fear, that we are led to enact a few rules that will do nothing for you. If we present these new rules with enough jaw-dropping appearance of boldness and empathy for your well-being, you will remain oblivious to the vulgarity with which you have been and will continue to be fouled.
“Don’t get yourselves in a knot over this one-half-of-one-percent-rate thing on the sub-slime, I mean sub-prime interest rate the Fed charges its friends, and quit wondering why you can’t get in on that good stuff. It doesn’t concern you, and has nothing to do with you. Never has, never will. That rate has no correlation to the 14% to 36% interest you pay on your credit cards. Such rates are because you are all really terrible at keeping your books in order, and making all your debt payments on time. If you knew what you were doing, you’d never agree to pay such insane rates. You are so oblivious, you could be getting better rates on your street corner. Idiots. Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean that, although, why are there almost three quarters of a trillion credits cards holding a trillion dollars in debt when there are only 300 million men, women and children in this wonderful country of ours? And, NO, I will not go into an explanation of why our friends, the banks, get almost no interest charged on money we lend them, while their credit stinks, and you have to bail them out. It is much too Byzantine a system to be explained. Even my bosses have no clue.
“Ladies and gentlemen the rules regulating credit are complex, though a little feudal. You’ve understood all along that we, umm, I mean the banks and credit card issuers, could set interest rates and fees at whatever levels they wished. Why so much surprise? We are nevertheless pleased to announce that we will reduce re-pricing, a little, well, we won’t reduce it but we want you to be notified when it will happen. Will we check if lenders tell you ahead of time? No. Will you? Not much, no. We are absolutely certain most of you never pay attention to notices or fine print. How many of you can tell me, right now, how much interest you pay on those ubiquitous and so colorful pieces of plastic? … Clueless.
"Let me make something perfectly clear. We do not owe you debt. Debt is not your right. It is a privilege. You should be grateful we even allow you to borrow from us to lever your lavish lifestyles against your future incomes. Right now we’re not so comfortable with your prospects for continuing those incomes, so we are simply making some adjustments. Tweaking the system a little. We also don’t need to see any demonstration parades coming down Avenue of The Americas whining about how you’re hard-done-by, or chanting ‘ban the fed’ or shaking signs with ‘help we’re broke.’
"We are gleefully aware of your lack of familiarity with the term, Saving. It is a term in the English language that refers to economizing or conserving money for the future. Who do you think keeps count? I do. Why? Because tracking details of your habits with microscopic attention enables us to accurately time adjustments in the system. I don’t mean adjustment in prime rates, I mean the establishment of regulations that will instill in your minds an impression of our all-knowing prescriptions for everything financial that ails you.
"This is why we will allow companies to raise interest rates only on new cards and purchases, not on existing balances. I know that you think the interest on the old stuff’s already been jacked through the roof, so what difference can this possibly make? True, but when you add to this the restriction on allocation of payments to account balances with lower interest rates, and reducing cross-card-credit-contamination, now we’re talking vast implications on the credit system. Huge. This is big for you guys. Really. Well, maybe. Hey, we’re doing the best we can here at the Fed, and things are tough everywhere. No one wants to give an inch. That is why we won’t be putting caps on interest rate levels charged by card issuers. Sorry. Oh, and by the way, because we just cannot upset our friends, these new rules will not go into effect for at least a year and half. You know how things are. Congress is so laborious. Each one of those crapulous crackpots wants a piece of the pie before agreeing to anything. They think pork-barreling is their right, … things like that.
“In conclusion, I know deep down in my heart that all of you feel a very strong and emotional commitment to repaying your obligations. We are thrilled to know that you will be making your payments on time and that you will atone for your sins, … umm, that you will extinguish your debt, the principal and the interest. Every penny. Particularly the interest. Yes, make sure you repay the interest. Perhaps I shouldn’t harp on the principal so much.
“We will lend you more as you need it, and the presses, the paper, the ink are churning 24/7 to keep up. Now I must go have lunch with your new leader and explain what I’m doing, again. I wish these guys would just leave me alone, their eyes just glaze over when I talk to them. Merry Christmas, and happy spending. It’s good for the economy.”
James Raider writes The Pacific Gate Post
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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