Coping: With Screwing the Middle Class and SocialRev

I was going to mention in my conversation with George Noory Wednesday night that the more important time you can spend is the hour a week you gather up a few notes on trends in the news and reflect on how they are likely to impact your life and what you can do about it.

I get letters all the time from people who are worked their butts off and been screwed over by the “New America Business Model.”  Here’s a perfect example:

Quick and short-
husband self employed
had business line of credit with Bank of X since 1998.
Never late, never over limit, always paid on time and more than minimums
Two years ago, Bank of X says that they have determined we have too much overall debt
(we really didn’t)
and Bank of X turned line of credit into a term loan
increasing interest rate from 9.9% to 23.99%
AND
increasing payment from $1,900/mo
to $4,900.
They wouldn’t talk to us or even try to negotiate something- just said this is the way it is.
Of course, once this one change hit the credit reporting scam companies,
EVERY lender raised our interest rates and thereby increased our monthly payments.
It was a domino effect we had
ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL OVER.
Now tell me, how can the average small business owner continue?
We tried and tried – went through our meager IRAs to keep business afloat and employees paid and
cover ours and their health insurance.
But, with the cost of everything going up,
vendors paying late, a
and everything else that goes with  small business ownership-
Well, we had to lay off our 4 employees (and of course, no longer paid for their health insurance once they left), and
then we were hit by two separate medical emergencies and after the deductibles and co-pays, we owed about $18,000 (this, of course, is in addition to the outrageous monthly insurance premium of $1,600 for my husband and myself (we are close to Medicare but not there yet))-
bottom line
we had to declare bankruptcy.
American way of life – have no clue –
ask the thieving banksters who are worse than loan sharks.
Oh, and btw,
my husband and I haven’t had even a weekend getaway let alone a ‘real vacation’ since the late 90’s. Our vehicles are 10 and 14 years old; our home is under 1,900 sf and not new, we go out to a restaurant (nothing fancy, maybe Olive Garden) 2x year, have no hobbies that require anything besides a pair of walking shoes, our clothes are either thrift shop or places like WalMart (hate to admit that I patronize that company) or Target, so forth and so on.  In other words, nothing expensive or extravagant. 
And, the company he worked for during the 70’s and 80’s went bankrupt and there is no retirement/pension. 
Yes, life sucks sometimes, but all you can do is your best at whatever crap it throws at you.
Thanks for listening.
Pepper

This is one of 5those cases where “the system” just isn’t working, but there are tens of thousands more that fit this mold.

The problem is what to do about it?

And that’s why I proposed in Thursday’s discussion that there’s not really much that can be done EXCEPT encourage State Banks and Community Banks. 

The box we’re in, though, is that the big national banks, like Bank of X (BoX) have built a marvelous system of electronic integration such that if you don’t have a national bank credit card, for example, you can’t get a meal in a “foreign city” – like somewhere halfway across the country.

And THEN, if you do decide the answer is “I’ll just carry cash” then any cop who happens to pull you over for speeding, or whatever, is now empowered to seize your cash because it will be assumed in most jurisdictions that you’re somehow involved with drugs because who doesn’t have a BoX credit card?

Then there’s the fine print.  I’s made it a practice for years not to sign something that I haven’t read thoroughly and understand.  You should take the time – whenever you take out a loan for anything to be sure and read the fine print.

In most car loans, for example, there is weasel-wording that will let a bank come after your home and any other assets if your car is foreclosed on (e.g. repo’ed) and it sells at auction for less than the amount owing.  The bank will send you a bill for the “gap” unless you have “gap insurance” which is what?  Just another way to screw over the poor.

Once upon a time in finance – so long ago that I can barely remember it – the bank or finance companies looked at interest as comprising two components.

The cost of money (*the amount banks had to, in effect, pay to rent money to lend) was only one component.  The other aspect was risk of loss which could occur when a loan went “bad.”

What happened, in the 1950s when the (large corporate national banking industry) was beating back usury laws was their story that losses (in things like auto loans) could exceed 12% which was a common usury cap.

And they got it through, but not without a lot of good people Labor and communities raising hell about it.  It was somewhere back in here that “checkbook government” evolved to power.

That’s because the banking industry was much more highly organized than the labor and community activists in the day.  The game was over before it even got started.

As soon at the usury laws were upended (part of the move involved moving credit card operations to states with no interest caps including (my memory may be wrong here) South Dakota.

As soon as the caps were gone, up went the rates.  Not because of the cost of money (although it was already going up toward the long wave economic cycle 1980 interest rate peak) but because banks no longer sent a local “vice president” out to repo cars.  Taking back became and industry (and a very expensive one) which involved impound lots, repo men, lawyers, and processors of one sort of another.

And that’s how banks slid into their current role of screwing the Middle Class.

Elaine’s Pick

If you haven’t see it yet, Elaine watched former Clinton-era Labor Secretary Robert Reich who came out with a documentary called “Inequality for All”  and you can rent it, or buy it via the documentary’s website over here:  http://inequalityforall.com/

The Bill Moyers interview on point opens with Reich asking a very obvious question:

“How do you constrain capitalism from doing stupid things that are not in the public interest?”

Social media uprisings are happening all over the world.  It’s a trend and what’s going on beneath the surface is the “new masters” are fomenting revolutions in orders to seize power through electronic and propaganda means.

I’m not talking about Ukraine.  I’m talking about the places that have gone down that road (with varying success already) and those which are following this year.

Syria didn’t work out for the social revolutionaries, but Egypt did – sort of.  And so did Libya.  Places like Saudi Arabia are scared crapless by the trend.

And this week voting will wrap up in Venice, which is trying to leave Italy.  Catalonia is trying to leave Spain, and the Flemish nationalists would like to depart the belly of the beast Belgium (where the EU is headquartered).

So the Big Ponder for you this weekend is the Big Question: 

Since the Middle Class here is being screwed over, just like elsewhere, what are we to do about it?

The Millenials have one answer:  Minimalism.  Don’t spend till you make.  And that’s a message that has been delivered to school students by the likes of Warren Buffett.

Governments have different answers.  Turkey this morning tried to turn off Twitter because the country’s government fears (and rightly so) the possibility of socialrev.

Points Where Due

My friend G.A. Stewart gets a nod this morning, now that Russia is turning the G-8 into the G-7.

Stewart, who’s website The Age of Desolation ties up loose ends of Nostradamus quatrains sent me a friendly “Told you so…”:

Okay Doom and Gloomers, Conspiracy Theorists, and Prophecy Neophytes, still waiting for those predictions from Remote Viewers to come around: Solar Kill Shots, Space Goo, or Global Coastal Events? Who’s your Daddy?

Revelation 17:11
And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven and goeth into perdition.


…The Second Son is the Eastern Orthodox Church and a reference in particular to Russia. As a member of the Group of Eight Nations, Russia’s cooperation with the former Group of Seven Nations may be tenuous.
…Both Nostradamus and the The Holy Bible suggest that the Group of Eight Nations will turn against one of their own.

And off on the margins, all of us who look at futuring issues are wondering if the MH370 flight is an accident or whether it somehow ties in to all of what’s coming apart…

Correction:

These are  rare, but I do make mistakes now and then: 

In my CoastToCoast interview this week, I incorrectly recalled Bill Gates family as being involved in the clean up of Lake Washington in Seattle…That was incorrect (a function of bad recall on my part…) It was Jim Ellis, not Gates Sr, although he was a key member of the downtown Seattle business groups that supported METRO’s clean-up..  It was Jim Ellis championed Seattle’s Forward Thrust campaign.

My memory is around here somewhere… I forget where I put it, though…

Friday at the WoWW

The World of Woo-Woo (WoWW) just never stops.  And there’s no better way to wrap up the week with another one of those encounters with the “strange”.

George: Read your column daily, except Wednesday of course, and I like the woww segment. Here’s a little from personal experience, well almost:

My brother and I were both deputies in a small Northern Calif town, very diverse population base. One family living there were “Arkie’s” to the max, I mean Arkansas hill people, having moved from the hills to the bright lights of our big city. Shortly after arriving, they moved into a clapboard shack that had originally been living quarters for some of the less desirable laborers(Italians, Mexicans, etc) that were employed by the towns lumber mill. And the problems started….

“Mattie” made numerous calls to the sheriffs dept regarding a prowler trying to get into a door at her house. Only problem, the door was an attic access, was 15′ off the ground and 8′ from the nearest point of the roof.

My brother had the good luck to handle the majority of the calls, always at night, always the same outcome: No evidence of a prowler or trespasser. Mattie was adamant that someone was trying to get in the attic door.

Last call there, ever, my brother was on another call directly around the corner from Mattie’s place when the call came in, prowler at Mattie’s. Difference was, she was really frantic this time. My brother drove around the corner, arriving in 30 seconds or less. Shining his light onto the attic door, he almost wet himself……sticking in the wall directly over the door was a hunting knife and it was still vibrating. Bro got a ladder, climbed up and checked things out. The door was secure, and the knife was stuck straight into the wood, no angle, so it had not been thrown and stuck from high or low. It was a straight in stick!

No evidence of anyone or thing using a ladder, hot air balloon or helicopter to get near the house.  Bro took the knife, returned the ladder and never had another call there. Mattie died years later, the house was torn down……strange!

                                                                             Ben /Westwood, Calif”

I’d be very interested to know what happened to the knife.  Any forensics on it, or did he keep it, or does DHS now have something that’s really like Warehouse 13 where this kind of artifact goes?

I’ve always wondered about that since there’s always a bit of “truth” hidden in plain view in media…

###

Well, off to a weekend (after I get the news update posted about 8 AM).  Tomorrow’s Peoplenomics will tackle Algorithmic Thinking Applied to Markets. 

`IF you’re a subscriber, you’ll love it.

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PRINT “Write when you break even.”

*REM   George   george@ure.net

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