by Debra Kozikowski
Two weeks ago, buried on page A4 of my local Sunday newspaper was a story about President Obama pushing for a credit card bill that would save American consumers from a small piece of the greed exhibited by our bailout grabbing, money grubbing banking credit card industry. This week, change for the better may finally come to be.
The U.S. Senate approved the toughest credit card restrictions in its history two days ago. The bill was championed by Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd and passed overwhelmingly, 90-5. The new federal credit card law levels the playing field by removing some of the credit card industry’s most profitable and punitive practices. Consumer advocates are in favor of it. Card issuers warn it will drive up the price of and limit the availability of credit cards at a time when the country needs more spending to stimulate the economy. Now that’s the part I find infuriating.
Talk about spin from the greediest sector of our nation’s economy.
But it’s not about revenge on those who profit from us and take our tax dollars, too — it’s about an unfair rate of return for the service they provide. It’s about family members who hide bills and purchases, it’s about courts being flooded by suits against individuals, many in their 60s and 70s, by credit card companies … people being brought in by caretakers to face suits. Like the worst of politicians, they’ve even resorted to robocalls to collect debts. Credit card companies sell off the debt to meanspirited collection companies for pennies on the dollars then put the bad debt in the loss columns.
Wanna bet part of taxpayers’ bailout money went to relieve those losses?
Mostly, it’s about taking away from the money available for purchasing goods in a marketplace in desperate need of solvent consumers. And that is the exact opposite of what the greedy SOBs claim for a reason to let them continue on their merry way, taking our money and using it against us.
The House and Senate versions of the bill must be reconciled and President Obama says he will sign the bill when it lands on his desk, some portions of the law take effect starting in the fall but most protections will start nine months after enactment. Recently, credit card companies have begun airing television ads featuring individuals who claim gratitude to credit card issuers who have saved their financial lives. Too many people, too often, have been taken in by promises of easy credit, only to find themselves mired in debt with sky high interest rates and spiraling extra fees.
We won’t be fooled again.