I don’t like credit card issuers. They are the financial equivalent of drug pushers. They get you hooked, and as long as you don’t overdose, they make huge sums of money from interest, merchant fees, processing fees, over-the-limit fees, and late fees. Fees, fees, fees.
In the year before they bought our current bankruptcy law (called the “Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act”–BAPCPA for short) they made about 40 billion–that’s billion–dollars. 14 billion of the 40 billion–that’s billion yet again–was from “penalty fees.” And when you make that kind of money, you can hire a fleet of lobbyists–and they did. In fact, the financial service industry has five lobbyists for every one member of Congress.
How many lobbyists do you have?
And while they paid off Congress to pass “bankruptcy reform,” Congress not only served that up on a silver platter, but it also continued the longstanding practice of deregulation–the “let-the-market-deal-with-it” approach to financial regulation.
That, in turn, led to the financial meltdown at the end of 2008, which almost led to a worldwide economic Depression. The government then stepped in to bail out the banks to avoid the impending economic collapse. And they did it with your money. You, the bad guy, the American taxpayer and consumer, the target of bankruptcy “reform.”
Yes, of course there’s the other side to this story. We must all be responsible for our actions. We don’t have to take the credit card drug. I understand that. But who’s more sophisticated? Corporate American or the average consumer? And why do credit card companies consistently try to block legislation requiring disclosure of things they don’t want you to know.
Just one example of a provision card issuers have consistently fought: disclosures telling you how long it will take you to pay off your credit card balance if you make only the minimum payment. (Hint: you’ll have it paid off when you are as old as dirt.) So what I object to is how the law is stacked against the consumer, how corporate America has used the U.S. Government as a weapon against you, the consumer, the voter. And it’s all because they had the money to buy most of our elected “representatives.”
The video below pokes fun at the credit industrial complex, so I couldn’t resist posting it. Thanks to Steven Horowitz, the co-creator of Bankruptcy Bill and BAPCPA Man cartoons for posting this video. I saw it on his site first.
I hope you enjoy it. Oh, and in your spare time, figure out how we–the actual voters–can hire a lobbyist. We’ll need a few if the voters ever want to get representation in Washington.