Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Change We Need: Financial Regulations


Change the banking and finance laws so that credit card companies can no longer charge usurious interest rates and change the terms of agreements capriciously.

Require credit reporting agencies to independently verify the information that they provide for accuracy and to be liable for any incorrect information that they do not remove from a credit report.

Require credit reporting agencies to change their credit scoring algorhithm so as not to unfairly penalize people who do not own credit cards but are responsible about paying their other installment agreements (such as car loans, mortgages and student loans).

Pressure state legislatures to overturn the rule that allows insurance companies to use credit scores to unfairly charge higher premiums to their customers.

Make it illegal for anyone to check my credit information without my written consent unless I maintain a current balance with their company and force the credit reporting agencies to allow me to access my credit report whenever I want.

Barring these changes, outlaw credit reporting agencies entirely as they have unprecedented and unconstitutional powers over the day-to-day lives of the average American citizen and the citizen has absolutely no power over them.

Why should there exist companies who can collect private financial and personal information about me and then proceed to allow people that I don't even know to view that information but regulate whether or how much or how often I can view the same information?

If the information that they provide causes me to have to pay more for rent, prevents me from obtaining employment, causes me to have to pay more for my insurance, causes me to have to pay higher interest rates on my mortgage, car loans or other credit account, they should be financially liable for any wrong information that they provide.

If they are going to collect this information and it is going to affect me so greatly, they should have to be responsible for the accuracy of this information.

It is an OUTRAGE that these credit reporting agencies are allowed to screw the American citizen every day and get away with it. The credit scores they generate are being used as a tool to justify overcharging, unfairly limiting access, and discriminating against the working class American. Ironically, this credit scoring system was developed to make the granting of credit more fair in times when discrimination in lending was rampant. Now it is used as a tool of oppression to discriminate against the very people it was designed to help.


That's one area where you can change some things; go to it.

That is what I told them and I stand by it, but, y'all, don't hold your breath.

Click on the link to find out how the credit reporting agencies are now working within the medical community to exert further control over the American public. Let's get up in arms and put a stop to this NOW, folks.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bob Herbert Says It All

People, it's time to change our way of thinking. It's time to stop blaming the American Worker for the ills caused by conservative policies and greedy executives.

For me, it started during the Reagan administration. That is when I started paying attention, so it could have started before then, but that is when I first noticed it--The demonization of the American Worker. Lazy, greedy, making inferior products, unconcerned with quality, more concerned with getting their paid time off. It was when the conservative movement got real about breaking unions in this country and the first salvo in the campaign came when Reagan screwed the Air Traffic Controllers out of their jobs. Screw those air traffic controllers; we can get more, is what he said, in essence.

The message sent was: workers in any industry, at any position, at any level EXCEPT the executive level, are expendable. Workers are a dime dozen; one is just as good as the next. They are all greedy, lazy, untrustworthy slobs.

If you have worked in this country for any amount of time, you may have noticed this philosophy gaining ground in your workplace. Everyone is expendable now. There is no job security, no loyalty (on either side) and hard work is no longer rewarded or valued. A don't-rock-the-boat mentality rules the workplace and people who work too hard are frowned upon by management as too "ambitious." I remember a time when ambition was a positive worker trait.

It seems to me that there was a period of time in which the American worker was valued for the effort he put in, for the VALUE he contributed to the bottom line. People MADE things and they worked hard doing it and companies naturally expected to reward them for their efforts; share the wealth, so to speak. They were considered part of the team, part of the family. This idea seems to have degenerated over time into this current commonly held belief that nobody is important anymore. And people, even the common workers themselves, seem to have fallen into this faulty philosophy.

Which is why it is so easy for conservatives, whose basic economic philosophy has been disproved by recent events, whose policies have utterly and completely FAILED this country, to pass the buck for our woes on the American Worker. Who is questioning the assertion that it was unfair and unreasonable demands by union workers that caused the collapse of the American auto industry? Certainly not conservative politicians. Forcing the autoworkers to take a pay cut, cutting off pensions and benefits for workers who worked their whole LIVES to make profits for the shareholders; one can just see the drool dripping from the mouths of the greedy conservatives who believe they have won something.

Screwing the auto workers is the coup de grace in their war on the American Worker. Thus is the union beast dealt the death blow; and the American worker again takes the blame for all that is wrong instead of the true culprits; the greedy, ignorant, delusional conservatives and powerbrokers that have brought the American worker to his knees in pursuit of increasing profits. The truth is that they have screwed themselves. But it will take YEARS for their myopia to clear so that they can finally see that. Meanwhile the common man will have to endure untold suffering and sacrifice before the American Worker's value will again be acknowledged.

The economy turned away from manufacturing under the Reagan administration and today many jobs are in the service sector. One problem with that is apparent now; when people don't have money, they don't require services. More people lose their jobs. When those people lose their jobs, they can't afford goods any longer, so people in manufacturing lose their jobs. You see where this is going.

We have got to stop blaming this on the worker. It wasn't the worker that got greedy. Wages for middle class workers have been stagnant, while bankers, stock brokers and financiers of all types have reaped historical profits and reached dizzying heights of salary and fringe benefits. Experts have been documenting the growing gap between the rich and the poor for DECADES now. This is not an accident. This is the conservative "free market" philosophy in action.

The worker is ready to make the sacrifices that it may take to get our economy rolling again, as evidenced by the forced sanctions that the UAW has agreed to make in order for the auto giants to get their bridge loans. But what sacrifices are the executives willing to make? Not just in the auto industry; what about the bankers, financiers, insurance executives, stock brokers, etc? When will their day of reckoning come?

Now is the time to stand up for the American Worker. That is YOU and ME. Maybe you aren't an autoworker. Maybe you aren't a member of a union. Maybe you hold a white-collar job and don't consider yourself a part of the "working" classes. THE BELL IS RINGING; it's time to wake up now. If union jobs are at risk, your job could be next. If companies are laying off workers, your job could be next. If whole industries are struggling, your job could be next. The government aid that has been handed out so far has EXCLUDED the worker. It has lined the pockets of corporations at the expense of the American Worker. It's time to stand up and DEMAND accountability from Congress and corporate executives. And stop blaming the American Worker. We have sacrificed enough.

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Contribution to New Healthcare Ideas

You can go to and click on a healthcare link and put your two cents worth in about what kind of changes are needed to effectively reform healthcare in this country. YOU SHOULD go to and put in your two cents worth. I did, and this is what I wrote:

I am 45, my husband is 44. We have an 11 year old son. We are all in good health. My son has some birth anomolies that are monitored regularly, but no health problems.

We are lower-middle class wage earners struggling to provide a decent life for ourselves and our son. My husband works in residential construction and is lucky to have a job, though we don't know how long that will last. We live in a small house in a decent neighborhood, but have been trying to get ahead financially for eight years now in order to move our son into a better school district.

I am lucky to receive health insurance benefits through my employer who partially pays for my benefits. Deductions from my paycheck to cover family insurance (health, dental and minimal life coverage for my son) each month equal over $800. This does not include any money that I set aside in a cafeteria plan for things that are not covered by insurance.

We can't go without insurance. The last time I tried that we ended up with $6000 in medical bills on our credit report because I had kidney stones and went to the emergency room for a few hours. We have only recently been able to get that collection removed from our credit reports. (which is another issue that needs to be addressed)

But just imagine how much different our lives would be if we didn't have to pay what amounts to a house payment to ensure that we aren't struggling for the next five years to try to remove medical collections from our credit reports. I have two grown daughters from a previous marriage and one of them has two children. Her husband is out of work again and they are living with a relative. We can't even help them because we don't have room for them. If I had $800 more a month, we could afford a house big enough for them to come and live with us. We could move to a better school district and my son and grandchildren could benefit.

It's not just that we need to reduce the cost of health insurance premiums, but we have to reign in the cost of healthcare. I know that it is a booming business, but the business must be removed or we will all sink. The banking and finance business was so consumed with profit that they sunk us all. Healthcare has a similar problem. If the profit motive is not removed, we will be facing the same sort of crisis again very soon.

We need to regulate the profit motive out of healthcare. We need non-profit hospitals, non-profit clinics and regulations that reasonably fix the price of drugs, supplies and devices.

I hear people say that we need to move toward this change slowly. But they are wrong. We need to move toward this change boldly, with the courage of our convictions and with the knowledge of the benefits that this change will bring. We cannot allow fear to rule this issue as it has for the past twenty five years.

We need REAL healthcare reform and it has to come from the bottom up. The foundation of our new healthcare system must be built on a vision that looks far into the future and addresses the issue from primarily a HEALTH perspective instead of a business perspective. Remove the profit motive. Then those that go into the healthcare field will be there for the right reasons and we will have a higher quality of providers. Then we will not have doctors and hospitals overbooking patients and we will have a higher quality of care. Government regulation would make doctors more accountable and remove the burden of over-priced malpractice insurance from the doctors that are doing a good job. REMOVE THE PROFIT MOTIVE and reintroduce the HUMAN motive in healthcare.

Don't be afraid no matter how some will wail and moan because THEY are afraid of change. Don't give in to the instinct to appease them, even a little bit. They are consumed with their own fear, but it will pass when you change the system and they begin to see the possibilities and the positive differences that result. Don't be afraid to be wrong about some things, because you will be wrong sometimes, but you will recognize your mistakes and you will see how to fix them. At this time in our nations' history, there is a unique opportunity to remake the way things work and put the focus back on THE PEOPLE where it belongs. The only thing that stands in the way is FEAR; your fear, our fear, their fear. Don't give in.

I am willing to support government healthcare with community service hours in whatever skill that I possess which is helpful. I think that could also help to reduce costs. I have people skills and computer skills that I would gladly donate in order to make healthcare available and affordable for all and free up some of my funds to making a better future for my children and grandchildren.

Thanks for listening.

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In the Spirit of the Season

I tried to embed it here, but don't think it will work. So click on the link above to see my snowglobe. Then, make your own--it's FUN!

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