WADR for those in romantic relationships with a banker and actually want it in the ass, the banking industry, aka: we caused the greatest depression since the last and are too big to fail this election cycle so we get money from the Fed for as close to nothing as is measurable and may or may not lend it to you for 33.3% plus fees, are, surprise, taking advantage of real, or will be real loopholes in the passed, but not litigated, totally ruled or commented, but well-monikered Credit Card Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009.
Duh? Just what do you think more than a million lobby dollars a day will buy in DC? Dinners? Jets? Sex? Condos in Puerto Rico? Elections? Sure, but the money is really for the details and the details are for loopholes.
Sure, the new law, aka: just another in a long string of Obama’s historic legislative achievements surely to pay off for one party this fall, has some truly wonderful consumer reform spins. Of course, only the banking industry has enough federally subsidized lawyers to turn reform into form instead of substance. The Wall Street Journal, not exactly a bastion of kiss ass progressive advocacy, has detailed some of the new ways the banking industry, aka: we aren’t as bad as Wall Street, because try harder to convince you we will love you in the morning, plus we offer KY jelly with each new qualifying account.
Here are some of the low lights from the low lifes:
- Annual fees are up 18%.
- Cash-advance and balance-transfer fees up 33%.
- Promoting “professional” cards – similar to corporate cards and almost identical to credit cards, but somehow, not under the new law.
- Issuing “rebate” cards – credit cards not covered by the law that issued at maximum allowable state rates which are promised to be rebated to very low rates until the nefarious bastards catch you doing something that violates line 47 on page 23 of their 6 point type disclosure at which point you are to assume the position.
- Shortening the billing cycle before late payment and higher charges.
- Setting the due date on a weekend or holiday, accepting payments, but not opening their mail.
- Charging “inactivity” fees.
- Charging upfront “processing” fees so that they can charge more than 25% of your credit limit before you’ve even used it.
Grab your ankles and smile.
The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Friday (source: Reuters) it would hear a challenge to the 44-year-old voting rights law aimed at preventing states and local governments from making it harder for minorities to vote. Nine states are affected by the voting rights law: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Think there’s any coincidence that from this list only Virginia voted for Obama?
Freedom around the world is down for the third straight year (source: Freedom House). Another example of a George Wrongway Bush goal (2nd Inaugural). The full list of other goals are too long to list, but lowlights include the results of the ownership society; compassionate conservatism; no child left behind; the uniter not the divider; immigration reform; peace in the Middle East; et cetera ad nauseum.
2008: the greatest loss of jobs since 1945 (source: Wall Street Journal). What happened in 1945? Oh, yeah. The war ended and our troops came home.
The estimated cost to insure the 47 million US uninsured affordable: $17.8 billion in first year; $188.5 billion in 2010 (source: The Commonwealth Fund) about the cost for a year of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
There’s little risk here. Of the 200 million or so bloggers, there are only about 50 million blog readers (it is interesting, at least to me, that 62% of internet users report they don’t know what a blog is). It is so easy to write and cite to prove a point of view (especially if you unabashedly willing to use worldwide figures and compare to US figures or don’t mind that each citation has conflicting data, knowing that most people won’t bother to follow the links or the link’s links or read either.
Using a more appropriately “balanced” approach, so often found in “journalism,” would force me to present data that might confusingly conflict with my particular bias de jour (as well as type a lot more words, actually do research, read what I cite, and offer links to websites that, yikes, might disagree with me). For instance, the Wall Street Journal’s (not always a bastion of “balance”) point seems (“seems” is one of the clues that something might be a conclusion of the author while not necessarily something all people might find to be factual and probably isn’t) to be that no one knows what a blog is, who is a blogger, how many blog there are, how often they are published, how often they are visited by real people (could it be that the search engine robots are real people, too?) and if anyone actually reads anything before clicking to their next conclusion (SIC: snooze).
In spite of now clearly demonstrating (as opposed to proving) that no one will actually read this (one possible exception: bloggers who are reading blogs about blogging), it is incumbent upon me to acknowledge the skill and devotion to balanced reporting and grammar (at least, the New York Times Stylebook version) of journalists and newspaper professionals everywhere (except, and in particular, Fox News). Following in the footsteps of Greeley, Kent and Lane, these diligent, hardworking men and women of the Fourth Estate have given up so much (waistlines and potentially more lucrative careers, mostly) so we can be better informed and more effective citizens (and consumers). Thank you (and you know who you are) for so courageously laying the foundation of truth for which we bloggers everywhere now steal the bricks.