Your Money – Your Life

I’m feeling sad today. Last night, I was so angry after watching the national news I wanted to immediately write this and share my anger with you. But, today, I don't know if you really care. And, that has me feeling sad. Maybe you can read the rest of this and drop me a comment or a note and let me know how you feel. Here is the story.

Did you happen to catch the news that the House voted to move up the date upon which banks have new rules regarding raising credit card interest rates? They want to do it right away instead of waiting until February. And, there they were on television last night taking credit for putting a stop to an industry that has been raising interest rates and fees at a furious pace since the rules were passed in May.

That’s right. They passed the law in May and then gave the banks nine months to screw us all over. And, the banks did exactly that by raising rates to as high as 36%. They also canceled cards, dropped limits and, by raising the rates on balances, they effectively increased the amount you owe on what you've already borrowed.

Of course, the Senate says they don’t want to move the date up. But, they probably will and then Congress and the president will all join hands and take credit for pushing back at the banks.

But, here is the joke. If they voted today to put it into effect it would only be 3 months early. Guess what? It’s already too late. And, they aren’t going to pass it today. And, if they really wanted to do something about it they would pass a law that rolls back the rates and require the banks to refund interest. That isn’t going to happen.

A study last week by Pew Charitable Trusts' Safe Credit Cards Project compared interest rates being charged last December with rates in July and found that the lowest interest rates offered on most bank cards jumped by more than 20 percent in that six month period.

Has the interest paid to you on savings gone up 20 percent in the last six months? How’s that money market fund or CD doing at your bank? Whether you have a credit card or credit card debt, we will all pay the cost of these usurious rates.

And yet, I don’t hear enough people complaining. I don’t think it is because they don’t care. I hope they care very much about what has happened to them. They’ve seen their standard of living drop drastically while the top 1% controls 47% of the nation’s wealth. We just don’t understand the entire money system. Watch this series of videos and you’ll learn more than 99% of the population about what banking is really about. It might just scare the hell out of you.

There is a lot of fear out there and there is a lot of outrage simmering under the surface from the bottom to the top of the economic ladder. I personally know wealthy people who are arming themselves in order to protect their stuff. And, the gun store a few miles from my home has a packed parking lot every day they are open – for the past year. The media line that it is because the gun people are afraid of Obama changing gun laws is a crock and they know it. It's because average people are afraid of what's happened to our economy and our way of life. And, that's not a story you'll hear on any of the major networks.

I think there is a better way. We need to arm ourselves with knowledge. We need to take responsibility and learn what the economic system is all about. I don’t know if we can control it or stop it. But, we need to do something about it and building bunkers and stockpiling arms isn’t how I want to live.

And, that is why I am feeling sad today. How are you feeling?

3 thoughts on “Your Money – Your Life”

  1. Man, great post. I have been thinking a lot about what it would mean to opt out of this system. All of my functional credit is with friends and family — I have all but written off any credit I might have with a big company who has its best interest in screwing me. I’ve thought the same things about banks. The problem so far is that I don’t understand the system well enough to really grok what it MEANS to opt out. But my thoughts include:
    – Responsibility for paying for things in creative ways, or up front — rather than assuming credit.
    – Responsibility for taking care of my health, because I have to pay for it myself (instead of paying a health insurance company to MAYBE pay for health-related expenses for me)
    – And I guess I’ve already started with responsibility for making my own living, hunting and gathering, knowing how to make money appear for myself instead of shunting that decision in the normal direction, getting a 9-to-5 job and giving that company the responsibility of keeping me in groceries. Hmm. Interesting!

  2. @Jodi – congratulations Yankee fan! Even though I live in Philly (sort of) I have never left Pittsburgh.
    @Megan – I heard from two other people who expressed that they are also opting out of the system. No cards except a debit bank card. I will post some of them if they give me permission.
    Thank you both for the comments.

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