Last week, we talked briefly about whether banking should be considered a regulated public utility, like water, sewer, and power companies, or whether we should continue under the delusion that “for profit” banking is the only model that works.
This is, of course, heresy, but we don’t mind thinking the unthinkable now and then.
Not only are there some fine examples of State banking, as in North Dakota, but there’s a groundswell beginning in Vermont as well.
Why? Well, punitive charges, especially against the poor, are the obvious reason.
I happen to have two credit card accounts, both with no annual fee, but they both have wildly different interest rates. It doesn’t bother me, since if I can’t just transfer and zero the card daily, we do without. Simple budgeting and I never let the banks set its teeth in our wallets.
But just to show you how the two cards (from the same bank) work, one has a monthly rate of 6.9% and a cash advance rate of 19.24 %. The other has a 12.99% monthly and a 24.99% cash advance rate and both have a jaw-dropping usurious 29,99% rate if payments are late. I haven’t paid a dime in interest charges (and never venalities) in years.
The cheaper card doesn’t offer “points” while the more expensive one (if I was dumb enough not to pay on time) does. It’s more like giving a Band-Aid to people kicked when down.
But many people are not so lucky and so our first question of the morning is whether banks are really serving the public need, interest, and concern, when they kick people who couldn’t afford a payment with a 30% penalty.
I’ve been around enough banksters to know that they have costs…sure, they do. But is it the right thing to do?
So now we get to the “revolutionary” thinking stuff. An email from a reader by the name of Michael up in the Pacific Northwest:
Several years ago in a post, you alluded to an effort in the Washington State legislature to limit credit card interest rates for Washington residents. You mentioned that the effort was scuttled. I am considering starting a Washington state ballot initiative to bring that about, and doing so in a manner that might serve as a model for other states.
In proceeding upon this, of course I am doing research. Learning more about what transpired in Washington would be helpful. Would you be willing to share more about that by email or a phone conversation?
Back in the “old days” Washington state (and lots of others) had usury laws on the books.
Thanks to a weird tweak in the War On Terror, to even bring up fighting usury is framed as taking up with Sharia banking…which it’s not. And even the most ardent supporter of kicking people when they are down (with 30% penalty rates) does seem to run counter to Biblical accounts of running money-changers out of the temple.
One of the champions (think 40-years ago) was the Washington State Labor Council and their late president Joe Davis. The University of Washington has old documents going back into the late 1950’s available to researchers.
What we eventually come around to is this: When the banks are borrowing at under one percent, shouldn’t there be a cap on credit card debt that might read something like:
- Interest on monthly purchases: Fed Discount Rate Plus 5%
- Penalties: Fed Discount Rate plus 7%
That would be a fine start I would think, but bankers will howl and run around as though a rapist is on the loose when such ideas come up.
And so we get the second choice out, which is a State bank, which would operate as a cooperative (on behalf of its members) very much like a good credit union. In Washington, I have friends and family that are very happy with Boeing Employees Credit Union (BECU) and a handful of community banks that owe their first allegiances to local customers, not a board of directors with phat salaries. As it should be.
So thanks for the great question…and if would be a grand thing to see: Have consumers march the banks out on the plank and give them a choice: Reasonable fees with more due process and fees that should be a third of what they are now. OR the choice is the plank – which is a State Bank with proper margins the good of the people – not the banker class – at heart.
One of the points that I made on my CoastToCoastAM appearance with George Noory last night was that people spend a huge amount of thing working on things that have no pay-off for them.
In other words, if you put 24-hours a day into Facebook, you may end up with more ‘Likes’ than you can shake a stick at, but can you really make money doing it? I mean, without owning Facebook? Ha!
And so it’s a delight to preach the gospel of “control your own inputs and control your own life…”
It’s also fun to get emails from people like reader Dan who obviously is doing just that…
I appreciate your expando-planet theory that links large earthquakes to solar activity but there are a few nuances that still puzzle me. One is that I have noticed an uptick in strong earthquakes right after magnetic filaments collapse on the sun. I only noticed this relatively recently and magnetic filament collapses are not that common so more data is certainly needed but this is something I am keeping an eye on. As it happens, if you go over to www.spaceweather.com today you will find that there are two huge magnetic filaments facing Earth right now. Hmmm…
The other thing I wanted to write about is in response to your peoplenomics article today where you point out how the western MSM is using language to distort the reality of what is going on. It is completely true and I noticed it prior to the Ukraine situation – during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, actually. Is that then that I started to detect an anti-Russian tone from many of the reporters at the games. I recall watching with my wife and even commenting to her how it feels like we are being trained to hate Russia again and something must be in the works. Sure, that could have just been an anti-Russian sentiment in response to the anti-Gay stance Russia was holding. Or maybe that was all the ‘plan’?
Cheers, and if a solar filament collapses I’ll go say hi to the dust bunnies for you. :)
I haven’t run out data on this because (since I was up all night) I have no idea whether or if there is any kind of data table out there that lists filaments, size, and collapse times and whether earth-directed.
Once again, it’s a perfect example of how there are still plenty of opportunities left to come up with breakthroughs, if only we learn to look at the data. Or, in this case, wonder if there’s a way to find or start keeping this kind of data so that future researchers will be able to point their machine-leaning tools at some tables to munch and report correlations from.,..
Thursday in the WoWW (World of Woo-Woo)
Tales of an English office building this morning…
Your reader’s WoWW event with the mystery phone calls reminded me of the things that went on at the place I worked at a year ago.
The business had 2 buildings adjacent to each other in a high street of a town. You could only get between the two buildings by going out of one front door and into the other building’s front door.
In the side I worked in, I was on the 1st floor (above the ground floor). It was well known that there was a ghost residing in one room on the top floor (the floor above my office).
The ghost would occasionally slowly move the computer mouse while the person in that office was working (but not touching the mouse) and knock files off the top of a filing cabinet to the floor.
One evening the office manager had locked up that side of the building and set the alarm and settled into reception of the other building whilst some IT work was being undertaken in there (everyone else had gone home and it was early evening say about 7 p.m.) when the receptionists phone started ringing and the caller ID was the phone from the room on the top floor of the adjacent building. The office manager answered but there was silence! This occurred twice in that same evening.
Very spooky. I was always amazed that the person who worked in that room on her own never seemed to mind all of these WoWW events.
Thought your readers might like this one.
Regards – Simon
I want to find out if anyone ever figured out where the ghost had come from? Usually they are leftover souls that haven’t found their way to the light and being disembodied don’t know what to do with themselves….
If you could get it to happen again, I would try a speech like this into the phone:
“Hi. I see that you are calling me from a phone where there are presently no live humans.
I believe your problem – that you don’t want to come to terms with – is that you are dead and have not figured out that all you need to do with move toward the light.
But, since you’re stuck, here’s our communications problem. You can’t speak – being dead and all – so I need to come up with another way to communicate with you.
I’m here in the xxx room and I an going to ask you to make two noises now. Make them one right after the other and I will tell you when I recognize them.
I am an interested researcher, so lets take our time and see what we can come up with… try the touch tones on the phone.
How about loud thumps on the wall?
How about clicks or dropped books. Work with me on this….”
You could then maybe get a dialog going and when you do that, please get back to us with a report. We promise a minimum of some touch tone Morse code and dropped books as a reply…
Write when you break even…