This is the message I sent to President Obama yesterday:
I have the following suggestions regarding proposed changes to retail
- Structure existing and future retail credit card terms and conditions as contract law.
- Reinstate a federal usury law and modify the Bankruptcy Act accordingly.
- Institute a separate, graduated income tax rate on gross income from fees and financingcharges from retail credit operations.
- Create a new office for an enhanced compliance audits for bank examiners.
- Create an Omsbudsperson Office within the oversight federal agency.
Please send your own comments and suggestions to President Obama and to your Congressional representatives. I don't understand why the just passed legislation that changes how issuers extend or withdraw retail credit until July 2010. The industry pleaded for the extra time to comply because of the effort they have to make in response to the new requirements.
Well, it certainly does not take the banks that long to change interest rates and fees charged for various transactions. Terms can be changed with a single entry on an individual's account by the customer service representative on the phone. Need to change the payment due date? Just tell them the day of the month to set for your account. Do they think you are overextended beyond your ability to meet your monthly debt payment obligations? One data entry generates a letter to the customer and makes the change effective 45 days after receipt of that letter. Does anyone else find that their hard copy letters from Bank of America's customer service are not dated?
If you do not accept their changes to the Terms and Conditions of your credit agreement, then the issuer will restore your prior interest rate until that day's balance has been paid off and no additional charges are put onto the account--by you. They will still assess fees and financing charges on the unpaid balance until there is no longer a balance. The time period allowed to pay off the balance can be as long as a year.
If a bank credit card issuer can do all of that with a single phone call, why do the issuers need a year to make changes mandated by the new federal law? They must have gone to the same MBA courses that the management of General Motors attended.
Labels: banks, consumer credit, credit cards, federal regulation, retail, usury
I don't know if anyone has coined this maxim before (Apologies if they have. Please let me know so that I can provide attribution). It is a rewording of a long-standing maxim about teaching and doing: "Those who can, do; those who cannot do, teach."
"Those who have the guts to run for office, do; those who do not run, critique."
In our wonderful time of almost instant communications, television personalities, news commentators, news editors and just about anyone with a blog on the internet seem so quick to criticize how President Obama and his Administration are managing the challenges they inherited from the Bush Administration and the new ones that have occurred in the past 94 days of the new Presidency.
For bloggers, the willingness to opine online is a facile skill that has had the past eight years for practice. The major news media, however, did not begin to express themselves freely until 2006 when the 11oth Congress began with Democrats in control of the House. The all too compliant Congressional Republicans were able to enable President Bush's radical agenda without daily criticism by major newspapers and television news.
I guess I would categorize the current inundation of commentary on President Obama, his announced and implemented revisions of federal budgeting and his inclinations on how he believes his Administration should move on several domestic and international fronts under the title of CHANGE. Most people prefer the Devil they know versus whom they don't know yet. No surprise, then, that so much criticism zips around the internet, by iPhones and in daily newspapers. Some commentators will submit their critiques to magazines that publish monthly. I'm glad they do, because their more considered words better capture the ideological viewpoint of the writer, more completely explain how they arrive at their current views and more fully articulate their prognostications and recommendations.
To understand change, I have found the best knowledge foundations in books, rather than from more timely news of the day or month. Whatever the topic, there are excellent books published about politics, society, living conditions and options for every part of our known world, including the oceans. Books offer a longitudinal perspective with which to comprehend what is happening today. With a broader and deeper knowledge of how we or others have done things in the past or how feuds and alliances developed or how farms and businesses become viable and sustaining in a particular society, we can accept the idea of change as a good thing or a bad thing, but not as an unknown thing. The effects of change are personal and societal. Resistance to change is personal and societal.
In the 2008 election, a majority of citizens voted in a way that expressed an openness to changes or simply a conclusion that something had to change or we would lose our abilities to participate in the American Dream. Not everyone who voted for Barack Obama was voting for him or his platform of the Democratic Party. Many voters were voting against the Bush/Cheney ideological attitude toward governance and against any possibility of that ideology being perpetuated by John McCain and Sarah Palin as Republican Conservatives. Our political pundits tell us that it was the "Youth Vote" that put Barack Obama into office. Young people, whom I identify as those men and women under 30, have had changed circumstances for most of their lives whether it occurred in their homes through relocation or parental divorce, remarriage of parents, becoming accountable for one's own actions as an adult and trying to figure out how best to live their lives, often also with whom.
Even with so many voters thinking that change was necessary or generally positive, I doubt that anyone really conceived what the election of President Obama would bring. In the first place, he was the first candidate who won with the electorate knowing his intellectual excellence. Adlai Stevenson lost two elections because he was perceived as being too intellectual in the 1950s. Subsequent Presidents Carter, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton were some of the smartest men ever to occupy their office. Their intellectual prowess and capacities, however, were not issues of their campaigns. I'll let you decide on the rest of the bunch.
Candidate Obama told us that he would conduct foreign policy matters differently. He said he would meet with anyone without preconditions so that he could listen to his antagonists around the world. He allowed himself to be available when Venezuelan President Chavez decided to go shake his hand. I doubt that President Bush would have been in the room, later explaining his absence as consistent with his policy of requiring certain actions by Chavez prior to Bush's meeting with him. Bush operated out of arrogance or ignorance, or arrogance based in ignorance and inability to empathize with others.
Today, writing this, I wonder if George W. Bush ever did anything for anyone but himself, to build up his own self-image within a political arena he aspired to be accepted so he used power and theater for entrée into international affairs. How many thousands of people have died as a consequence of his self-absorption.
President Obama brings different ways of conducting his office and different ideas about how to reach a consensus on domestic crises in the economy and in health care. Concurrently, he is now Commander-in-Chief when our military is fighting in two wars and occupies one of the hostile nations. A lot of lip service must have been given to feeling positive about change, because when President Obama does something differently or in a manner that previous Presidents did not, a ton of criticism explodes throughout the world of information online and on television. He should not have said that, he should do this, his actions are irresponsible, his inexperience has caught up with him, and so forth. While driving back from Pomona on Wednesday, I was searching for traffic information on AM radio. One clear signal almost made me leave the highway until I regained my composure. The host of a call-in program and the station manager both stated that their sole aim is to make Obama fail. I cannot conceive of the mindset out of which such words would come unless the person is an ignorant racist or due to ignorance thinks and speaks from fear.
How can one make a President fail unless America as a nation fails? I expressed my disagreement and distain for George Bush and Dick Cheney for the past eight years and I hoped that they would be removed from office. But I didn't want the federal government to fail! For Obama to fail, I suppose he would do so because of a total lack of support within Congress and within his own Administration--for whatever reason. How does one make a President fail? Nixon resigned to avoid impeachment, yet he was very successful in many initiatives in ecology policy, in international affairs and in his decision to withdraw from Viet Nam. No one made Nixon fail except Nixon himself. He merited his "Tricky Dicky" nickname in his performance of office by manipulating his staff into committing felonies for Nixon's political gain. We found out what a scumbag Nixon was and obtained evidence of his culpability for several crimes. So he failed and he resigned. Are there people who think that someone caused Nixon's failure? Obviously there are some.
He promised change and we are experiencing the changes with different reactions to them. I have suggestions for some changes and I try to make them via email or fax to my senators and my district representative in Congress as well as to the President. At least I won't have said something; I hope what I say affects the Obama Administration more than it affected it predecessor's.
Labels: Attitude toward Change, Changes, Obama, politics