The deregulation of the banking industry over the past 25 years has left Americans trapped in a culture of corporate anarchy with all the rules slanted in favor of business, and consumer protection diminishing like civil liberties in a fundamentalist administration.
Banks who provide credit card services have turned-up the heat in the credit industry.
The first step in the plot to enslave American consumers was bank deregulation, which consumers embraced as the keys to a new freedom as promised by the Reagan Administration. Anyone who warned against (or still speaks out against) the dangers of bank regulation was (and is) considered a crack-pot, or an alarmist, or worse: unpatriotic!
Consumer protection advocates warned that interest rates would skyrocket if the industry was deregulated; and corporate apologists, like Ronald Reagan himself, stood before the American people and promised that deregulation would lead to more competition, lower rates, higher profits, and more jobs, all because the industry would flourish when deregulation was removed.
What has happened? Exactly what consumer protection groups, leftists, and many economists predicted.
There are fewer banks, fewer jobs, less competition, and the highest interest rates in the world.
The next step in the plan of enslavement of the American consumer was the gutting and re-establishment of the bankruptcy laws. Both my senators, Chuck Schumer (who's never met an anti-consumer bill he couldn't love) and Hillary Clinton (a shill for corporate America who rivals George W Bush in her absolute disdain for the American people) whole-heartedly supported the re-writing of the bankruptcy laws. Of course, the laws were only changed to remove protections for consumers. The bankruptcy laws protecting corporate interests are alive and well and shielding billionaires from exposure to liability for poor decisions made.
Come forward now the few banks that remain since conglomeration and merger have eroded our options and employment opportunities.
Bank Of America recently raised the interest rates of its cardholders from 9% to as much as 28% for anyone who didn't stop using their cards and pay-off their balances. Historically, this stunt has been pulled only on those who have had late payments. In this case, however, Bank Of America has imposed this unfair interest rate on consumers with perfectly decent credit histories.
This is the final assault on consumers. This is perfection of the plan to enslave the American consumer. Charge everyone an insanely unfair interest rate and watch your profits soar.
Some credit card companies are worse than others.
New Millennium Bank of New Brunswick, N.J., offers a secured card that charges almost $200 for access to your own money.
First Premier Bank of South Dakota, offers for a gold MasterCard with 9.9% interest rate, then charges $256 to open an account with a limit of $300.
Total Visa from Plains Commerce Bank of South Dakota, sells a card that begins with a 19.92% interest rate and a start-up cost of $200 for which you receive an initial $250 line of credit.
I got this information for the article Card Sharks, by Liz Moyer with Tatyana Shumsky at Yahoo! Finance.
So, what can we do? Start living within our means. Stop using our credit cards. When we must use credit cards, pay the full balance immediately. Elect politicians interested in restoring consumer protection laws. Tell your elected officials, especially those in Washington, that you want them to work for consumer protection. If you don't speak up then they don't know you care.
Dick Mac Recommends:
I Am America
(And So Can You!)