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Politics & Power

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The Big Bad Wolf Has Been Handed The Keys To Grandma’s House

Usury:
1: The practice of lending money and charging the borrower interest, especially at an exorbitant or illegally high rate.
2: An excessive or illegally high rate of interest charged on borrowed money.


The American Heritage Dictionary provides the above definitions for usury which is considered illegal in the United States. Unfortunately for the American consumer, banks have been allowed to charge interest rates over 30% without it being considered usury under the law. If a private citizen lent money to an individual at that rate it could be called “loan-sharking” and fall under usury laws. If any coercive tactics were used to collect the loan the “loan shark” could face jail time for their actions. So why then can banks charge 30% interest on credit cards while paying under 1% on savings accounts and dole out huge bonuses to their executives each year without falling under usury laws? How are they any different from a mafia loan shark other than that they take your stuff as opposed to breaking your legs when you don’t pay? The short answer is that they’re not. They just have more influence in Washington than the mafia so they get away with lending practices that would put most mobsters in jail.

To see the heart of the problem we need to look at the kind of people that have been put in charge of the nation’s financial industry. A perfect example of the problem is President Obama’s Treasury Secretary. Timothy Geithner our current Secretary of the Treasury started his career working for Kissinger Associates which offers advice to companies on how to make political and economic partnerships to increase their profitability. Once inside the system he worked his way up through the governmental ranks including a stint with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York where he failed to act to address conditions that if addressed at the time might have stopped the collapse on Wall Street before it happened. He also helped to facilitate the bailouts of AIG and Bear Sterns. His ties to the financial industry are strong enough that from a certain point of view he could be viewed as the proverbial fox in the henhouse in his current job. His failures to act in years past contributed to the collapse of our economy and his current policy goals would put him in a position to solidify the banking industry’s control over the every day lives of the American people.

To be fair, if Congress grants more power to the Treasury Department it could be either disastrous or beneficial to the American people. If Geithner acted in the interest of the people at large he could rein in the financial industry and force them to change their ways. Unfortunately his past history shows that he is more of a mindset to be accommodating to the industry than to look out for the best interests of the working people in this country. He has not supported regulatory changes that would cap interest rates or profit percentages for financial firms which are needed to truly reform the system and he has defended outrageous “retention” bonuses for executives that came at the taxpayers’ expense. That lack of support for real regulatory reform combined with his membership in organizations like the Bilderberg Group lead many to believe that Secretary Geithner is actively acting against the interests of average working Americans to the benefit of the wealthy elite.

For those who have been paying attention since 2007 it is fairly clear that no real regulatory reform is imminent under the current Congress or Treasury Department. We who are most directly affected by the banks and their practices therefore need to stand up and take action. We need to put pressure on the people we have elected to represent us to change the laws regulating banks in a way that finally holds them accountable for their abuses of the American consumers. We need to hold banks at least to the same standards to which we would mafia dons. We need to make credit card loan sharking illegal now and require banks to roll back excessive interest charges for consumers. We need to cap the profit percentage banks can take from their customers and stop the fattening of the rich on the labors of the working people. It is time for the politicians to actually represent the majority or get the hell out of office. If our leaders won’t take on the banks we need to take matters into our own hands and use our little remaining power as consumers to cripple the banks financially until they give in and start treating people right.

We the people have one weapon left to us in fighting the banks if Washington refuses to act. We can stop supporting them. The banks are holding so many homes they can’t sell that more foreclosures will cost them more than they will gain from them. Taking borrowers to court will cost the banks billions so the only profitable weapon they have left is to harass consumers and cut off their credit. At 30% they are in a way doing us a favor cutting off our credit. If we stop paying the credit card bills and focus on paying for our day to day necessities we can save our money outside of banks and force them to acquiesce to our demands for fairness in lending. They would be forced to lower the interest rates to an acceptable level and stop gouging their customers or face losing all the money as people file for bankruptcy protection in droves or simply begin withdrawing their assets from the banks taking away the foundation of their financial strength. We can force them into settling for the actual debt owed instead of the grossly overinflated debt caused by exorbitant interest rates and fees. Their wealth comes from us paying fees and interest far in excess of anything they pay out to consumers for depositing their money in the banks. If we stop putting up with it they are out of business. By using cash as opposed to debit cards we can avoid overspending and overdraft fees. If enough people actually decide to take action we can force the banks to change their ways. We need to stop asking them to be nice and start telling the banks that their free ride is over. The only question is whether or not the American people have the courage to take on the banks in a real way.

Washington has given the banks their free ride at the expense of the American people. If we want to right our personal economic ships we either need to throw the bums out in Washington across the board by voting for Independent candidates who will not bend to the will of the lobbyists or take on the banks directly. The thing we can no longer afford to do is nothing. The banks have destroyed too many families and continue to abuse too many consumers for us to ignore their activities any longer. “Too big to fail” is an unacceptable excuse for enabling their reprehensible behavior and we should no longer buy into that reasoning for propping up failing banks.

We must address these abuses or we will all suffer as those who control the flow of money in our society suck the life out of the working class. If there is no political will in Washington then there needs to be popular will in our cities and towns to take on the crooks that get rich robbing us blind while hiding behind unjust laws passed by their lapdogs in Congress. There is simply no more time to wait for change to happen on its own. It’s time for the 95% of Americans left fighting for 5% of the money to take a second and remember that without us the rich are nothing. They need us more than we need them ultimately. If we stop believing that they should be in charge then they lose because they can’t arrest and evict all of us. Who would do all the work they need done to keep them fat and lazy? Most of them couldn’t do an honest hard day’s work if their lives depended on it. Why should they get rich off our sweat when we do all the heavy lifting? We need to take our money and our country back before our kids end up slaves to these jerks too.

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Get Involved

Do you sit and yell at the TV when politicians come on? Do you shake your head sadly whenever you see a homeless veteran? Is that all you tend to do?

It's time to put up or shut up America. We all love to talk about how we could do things better or how we would do it if we were in charge. Well, it's time to put your money where your mouth is. If you can think of it, you can write it down. If you can write it down, you can type it. If you can type it, you can e-mail it and if you can e-mail it, you can send it here.

We at Reform America are committed to giving voice to anyone who wants to put their ideas out there to make our nation a better place. As the readership grows, we are able to take those views to a wider and wider audience. Grassroots campaigns begin with voices speaking out. You have opinions. Voice them. We aren't about conservative or liberal. We aren't about pro-this or anti-that. We're about Americans and the First Amendment. Reform America is about politics by, for and of the people. You are the people. You only need to speak up. America is listening. Send your article to: stories@reform-america.net



Have You Been Downsized Due to Outsourcing?

For several years now we have listened to some within the business community tell us that America can't compete on a global scale unless they send our jobs overseas where they can be done cheaper. The question becomes, if we don't have good paying jobs here, how can we sustain our own economy? We want to hear from you. Have you lost your job? Have you been forced into a lower wage job due to outsourcing? Has outsourcing been a success for you? Did you end up in a better job?

Tell us your story so we can make sure the politicians see how outsourcing really impacts the workers who are backbone of America. Send your story to stories@reform-america.net





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