Friday, July 10, 2009

"Are There No Prisons?"

In the holiday classic, "A Christmas Carol", two gentlemen knock on mean Ebeneezer Scrooge's door seeking contributions for London's poor. What shall I put you down for? "Nothing!" Scrooge replies. "You wish to be anonymous?" asks one of the gentlemen? "I wish to be left alone," says Scrooge. "Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses? Those who are badly off must go there". A bit extreme maybe, but Scrooge lived in a time when charity was not an entitlement. If he lived today, the old guy would be appalled!

He would see ads from credit "negotiation" companies promising to knock thousands off people's credit card debt. Why? Is this not the debt they piled up buying all the s**t they just had to have while the rest of us just pressed our noses against the glass of the store window and wished we could afford it? Did they not understand that someday the piper would have to be paid when all those purchases, together with the usurious interest rates credit card companies charge came due? My favorite ad line is: "We're not here to judge, we're here to help." The implication is that somehow this is all not their fault, and that they are entitled to pay only a portion of the debts they've accumulated.

Well I am here to judge, and I say that's bulls**t! I say that because every dollar the credit card companies write off in these ridiculous settlements translates into higher credit card interest rates for me and the rest of the responsible adults out here not running out to buy on credit every laser nose hair clipper that hits the market. It's another form of wealth redistribution, and if we don't make our voices heard by complaining to the credit card companies, they will simply raise our rates to cover the cost of these negotiated payment agreements.

Reason it out...where do you think the money is coming from to compensate Visa and Master Card for these losses? Do you think they are just writing off the money and charging it to good will? To paraphrase those Master Card commercials: "Mailing unsolicited credit cards to every high-risk adult with a pulse, $5 million; agreeing to have these mouth-breathers settle their debts for 50 cents on the dollar, $50 million in lost revenue; getting innocent cardholders to pay for it all through higher interest rates, priceless." Well I for one am getting tired of being Master Card's bitch.

The same credit orgy created the home mortgage scandal that very nearly sank the United States economy. People who couldn't afford to buy high-priced homes were given mortgages by banks under pressure from liberal politicians to do so on the assumption that the homes would appreciate in value and that they could use the equity to refinance before the nasty provisions of these "smoke and mirrors" mortgages kicked in. Well the home market tanked, the mortgages went into foreclosure, but wait...did the people who played fast and loose with money they never had pay the consequences? Why no my friends, the people who played by the rules now have to pick up the tab for those who spent like drunken sailors.

For those who lost their homes through no fault of their own (e.g. they lost their job after buying a home well within their means), I say do what's possible to help them. To those who bought fancy homes because they felt entitled to the American dream, even if they had no prayer of making the mortgage payments" I say: "Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?"


LOOKING FOR A WORTHY CHARITY? TRY THESE FOLKS: Children's Craniofacial Association


Joseph Del Broccolo said...

YOU CANNOT SAY IT ANY BETTER! Bravo, Jim! Every word of it. The best blog yet! The problem is we ae riding into
more debt, and Mr. Obama is pushing the wagon!

Jim Pantaleno said...

It will be a tough four years if credit policies these are not reined in. It all falls to the middle class to make up the tax writeoffs for the rich and to pay the tab for the high-living
"poor". As Margaret Thatcher said: "The trouble with Socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money." Smart lady.

The Whiner said...

One of my favorite quotes of all time I must say. For those who truly badly off, I feel for them. But CAPITOL ONE, one of the biggest thieves of all time, DOUBLED MY interest rate. When I called them and told them I paid more than my monthly minimum every month and NEVER missed a payment they told me that "since the econmomy was bad they have no choice." Bastards. I am bad-mouthing them to everyone I know.

Jim Pantaleno said...

What's in your wallet?