What I find utterly amazing is that amongst all the hullabaloo about sub-prime mortgages and foreclosures and tax relief and interest rates… of all these voices shouting over each other trying to propose solutions, the only group that’s saying *anything* about credit card reform is Consumers Union. The entire issue of credit card companies fucking fees and interest out of peoples’ asses has been completely left out of the economic equation, as if it’s now just a “fact of life” that people are going to be in massive debt to banks.

If you have a story about being treated poorly by these monolithic money mongers, tell CU here:

and check out:

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14 Responses to Moolah

  1. jessnut says:

    I think the reason that everyone is ignoring credit card debit is because that debit is voluntary. You chose to apply for the car, you chose to max out your limit beyond your ability to pay. If you are in a situation where you suddenly loose your job and can’t pay a bill that you used to be able to handle, there are programs with the bank to help with that. If you are late because of an accident, a life event, etc… you can speak to customer service and request that issue to be forgiven and the fee waived and rates returned to normal.

    The people that call in to my office and complain about their credit card fees are the people that don’t pay attention to their finances and want the bank to hold their hand for them and let them borrow money for nothing.

    • mik3cap says:

      Mortgages are voluntary too. People can rent, they don’t have to buy – but homeowners are getting bailed out for buying something they couldn’t really afford. Why is credit card debt any different? Why do homeowners get to deduct their mortgage interest? Too bad I’m not a married landowner with lots of kids! I guess I have to pay for those people’s excesses with my tax dollars.

      • jessnut says:

        I agree and I think that bailing people out of their mortgages is totally stupid. They made those choices and they should have to deal with making either a bad, or uninformed decision like everyone else. But a lot of the US economy is based on the mortgage market so it really is better for you if they don’t default because there would be landslide effects that would hurt the stock market a lot.

        Homeowners get to deduct their interest but they also have to pay taxes on their land and the appreciation of their property value so the deduction is pretty minor compared to what they pay out to the government.

  2. purple_dj says:

    I have an indirect problem with the whole sub-prime fiasco: house prices are too damn high.

    I make well above median income for my area (central MA) and I cannot afford most houses in the area without taking a loan that I would personally consider to be highly irresponsible of me. The banks are totally willing to give me those loans as my credit is good, but the monthly payments on those loans are just too high for me to pay.

    Too many people have been getting irresponsible loans and paying too much for houses and pushing house costs up, just because they can.

    • mik3cap says:

      It’s all driven by the banks. They are gluttonous monsters!

    • griffytime says:

      Have you considered the tax savings of owning your own home? Property taxes and interest on home loans is tax deductible; saving you anywhere from 20-38% of paid interest/taxes, depending on your tax contribution.
      My first home purchase was a fixer-upper and very cheap compared to others available in the market. My mortgage was 25% higher than my rent…but it got me my own house and I built equity from there.

      • mik3cap says:

        “Equity” is a myth and a joke. What does equity get anyone? A bigger house? More ability to put oneself more in debt?

        No one ever “owns” anything. People live on land at the whim of banks, mortgages are just rent paid to a bank instead of a landlord. And “eminent domain” can take anyone’s home away from them at any time, just to make another private real estate developer richer. It’s all a game to make banks richer, and I don’t buy into the game any more.

        The American Dream is a crock of shit; people are finally waking up and realizing that the entire human population can’t all live to excess the way the baby boomer generation did without fucking over the whole planet and pissing off billions of people. We’re already seeing the start of this with increasing terrorism and oppression, and as “globalization” continues and the top 1% richest population continues to stomp on the bottom 99%, it’s only going to get worse.

        You know who owns land when society collapses? The guy with the biggest gun. He’s got the most “equity,” he builds it up by increasing his stockpile of bullets.

        • griffytime says:

          What’s got up your ass? SHeeesszz.

          You are right of course; material things mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. It won’t buy you peace or love or anything that really matters.

          Now that we don’t live in deer skin tents/mud huts/caves we are using natural resources to build and heat our excessive living space and lifestyle. It seems that our western culture has influenced everyone globally, otherwise commodities would not be at and all time high price.

          However, owning your own home will become your greatest asset, and will provide some level of income as you grow old, so you don’t have to rely on your children for support.

          Now that I am older, and having experienced several generations of my family’s trends in investment, my conclusion is that those individuals who made the decision to “buy” vs. “rent”, have in the long term died with the most money/assets. I think I want to die with assets, rather than be a burden on whomever is left behind.

          Equity is also liquid, and can provide things like money for education, when you haven’t saved enough for your kids college fund.

          And…what is wrong with having a bigger house? You need a place to put all that stuff you accumulate along the way.

          The American Dream is NOT dead…its just in recess for a while.

          • mik3cap says:

            That “recess” you’re talking about is what I call “my generation”. Our lifespan is shorter (and infant mortality higher), our incomes are less, our social security will be bankrupt or gone, our environment is polluted to shit, our health care costs will be inconceivable, and our government is corrupt.

            Personally I of course was very lucky – I had a supportive family, got to go to college, and I’ve got bankable skills and I can afford to live in the tanking economy and won’t be sunk under crushing debt. Maybe things will get better for the next generation, or maybe they won’t.

            Maybe instead of calling my generation “X” they should call us “the janitors”.

            • griffytime says:

              Everything you proclaim about the future is all the more reason for saving/investing now. There are opportunities available to everyone to save. We have known for almost a genteration that SS was not going to be available to baby boomers.

              Our environment, in the US, was way more polluted than it is today. Global warming is a Global issue, not just a USA issue. Emerging countries seeking a western lifestyle are sucking up commodities.

              I hate that there has been a recession going on, and hardworking people have to use “credit” to pay bills and buy essentials.

              But lets start with a list of what is essential; food/shelter/clothing.

              How much fresh vegs and food can be purchased for the price of ONE dinner out. With an average dinner cost of $45. per person, you can easily feed one or two people for close to a week with that much money.

              I am serious. When you guys were babies there was lots of advice columns in the “ladies” magazines that offered ideas for entire meals for less than $1.00. That dollar is probably worth $3.00 now. But I’ll bet I could prepare a meal and feed a family of four for less than $6.00. And, not a pasta with meatballs either. Although, our grandparents ate plenty of pasta when they first arrived in the US.

              I hate that women spend over $125. monthly to have fake nails. I hate that the average couple thinks its ok to go to a bar and spend $4.50 bottle for beer or $8.00 glass of wine. I hate that many parents will spend $100s of dollars for playstation/gameoftheday for their kids, and then complain that they haven’t been able to save for college.

              I hate that these spendy generationX people are the same folks complaining about how they can’t pay the mortgage this month….while sporting 2 fancy cars, well coiffed hair/manicures and bunches of baby toys strewn everywhere.

              I know HOW to stretch a buck, and that’s my bankable skill.