Thursday, March 22, 2012

Credit Cards: America's Tragic End

A Major Reason For America’s Economic Dilemma

To those who say America is in the dump, I ask who then is at fault? Who or what has caused there to be so many homeless; so many people out of work; so much national debt; so many empty houses; sky-high food bill; record gasoline prices and the no-longer-stretchable dollar bill?

Some are blaming it on the out-of-touch Washington crowd we voted to serve our country. Blame it on the millions who could vote but don’t.

President Barack Obama has yet to close, as he promised, the U.S. prison on Guantanamo Bay – where torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners continues. He also said he would not be hiring lobbyists -- he did that and brought into his administration many who had caused the Wall Street and bankers crimes.

But don’t lay all the blame on the White House resident. The incredibly stubborn and uncooperative, can’t-care-less congress refuses to work for what is good for the country. When was last time our obscenely wealthy congress West Texas representative did something for the good of the people he swore to represent?

There is lots of blame for America’s mess. Being lied into one war (Iraq) and going after Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan turned into an even longer war. Now Senator John McCain and some of his comrades want to begin a war against Iran.

We are in a fix not because of the war mentality or all the s0-called “patriots” of the Pentagon and the Halliburton-types.

One major reason for America’s disarray is not a secret, but a seldom acknowledged one. It all began with a small piece of cardboard that soon became plastic money.

It is easy to trace most of our people’s quandary to the once well-meaning and now toxic innovation: the development and promotion of THE CREDIT CARD.

About sixty years ago the curse of plastic charge plates began eating its way through the life and blood of this country.

In 1946 John Biggins, a Brooklyn banker, introduced a “Charg-it” card. Then Frank McNamara and Ralph Schneider came along in 1950 with the Diners Club Card.
The American Express (formed in 1850) saw the success of the Diners Club Card and in 1958 issued its first “never leave home without it” purple charge card. Theirs was the first card to be made of plastic.

Then Visa, MasterCard and a few others turned a very good thing into a monster. It has become a plague for people who cannot or will not pay off their balance each month.

It is a proven psychological fact that when using a credit card the buyer purchases more than when using cash. These companies know this fundamental shortcoming of our human nature, and use it with all their ads.

Credit card companies go beyond simple interest on their use. Ever tired to make sense of the requirements for payment on one of the demonic plastic plates? Usury is the word that comes most to mind. Usury is the archaic word for lending money at exorbitant interest rates.

No longer is a simple profit for credit card companies (and others in the retail business) but profit that that becomes greed: compound usury.

Before you think I have gone completely bonkers, remember that we ordinary folks are the laughing stock of these corporations. Every week one of these big banks or slimy plastic perverts sends me a letter “to solve all problems” with their card.

They provide plastic guaranteed to make us all paupers. American people average $10,000 worth of plastic debt. This is a greater danger than the National Debt.

"The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender" -- Proverbs 22:7. (Bible verses are common in a column about avarice.)

Benjamin Franklin is always good for a closing word. Here is one of his typical remarks: "Who goeth a borrowing goeth a sorrowing.”


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