In an age where the credit card industry will send out 5 billion pre-approved credit card offers with a sum presentation of over $300,000 in credit to EVERY family in the United States of America, the land that is not so free anymore.
In a world where a cute little pug…A pug…a DOG…Clifford J. Dog, son of ‘Pugsy Malone,’ Social Security number 999-99-9999 can receive a credit card.
Let me say that again mainly so I can wrap my brain around it. A dog…got….a credit card? A dog…received…and was approved for…a credit card? I wonder what his FICO is…
In a society where you can casually ask someone “How’s it going” and they reply “Not very good” before disappearing for two days…write a note that says “I just can’t take this any more and you’ll be better off without me.” and killing themselves…ending their life, a 25 year marriage, six kids and an unspecified number of grandchildren over credit card debt.
So if I understand correctly,
1) The average family will receive credit offers for a value equal to the average annual wages of 319 Chinese textile workers.
2) Anyone or for that matter, anything, can receive a credit card.
3) The power those little sheets of plastic have is enough to drive people to kill themselves.
How is this different from giving cigarettes to babies? At least if a baby becomes a smoker, s/he can quit. Once you’re on the credit card train…there’s no way out…or is there?
Credit cards are evil, smoking is evil…the companies make a lot of money and that’s why I own MasterCard and Altria…am I evil? Crap…I think I am. I digress.
Credit isn’t an old thing, its been around since the biblical age. It may have even been around since the good old days of our good friend Mr. Neandrathal! Check out The Richest Man in Babylon if you have a chance, he edumacates you about finance in such a simplistic way that even my dog can understand. (Seriously, she even wrote a book review) One of the stories that George Clason tells us is about the money lender in the year…A REALLY LONG TIME AGO, LIKE TWO-THOUSAND YEARS OR SOMETHING…anyhow, the money lender was a businessman, he would lend money to ANYONE, just like Visa and Mastercard although I don’t recall the money lender talking about lending money to domesticated animals. In order for the moneylender to give you some cash, you’d have to provide a little something called collateral. Collateral is something that is used to secure the loan. You give the moneylender your jewels or something of value that he will possess and own until you return with the money he lent you plus interest. Then you get your stuff back. Pretty simple.
That was the rule. You want money, you provide collateral. Unless (here comes the curveball) you had a personal relationship with the moneylender. I’m not talking about friendship because its never a good idea to lend money to friends except in emergencies…life or death emergencies. I’m talking about a personal BUSINESS relationship. If you had proven to the moneylender time and time again that you could borrow money and pay it back on a reliable basis, he wouldn’t require the collateral. In this case, our biblical moneylender would require only one thing. A piece of rope with a knot tied in it. Not gold rope, not mir or whatever else was valuable back then, but rope rope…if that’s a word. Plain old dingy rope with a knot tied in it would serve as a physical manifestation of your word, your promise to pay him back. (I think all the moneylenders back then were men)
So, we’ve gone from a time where credit was something you worked for, something you earned to the point where credit comes to you and knocks on your door? Even thirty years ago, credit wasn’t easy to attain. In Maxed Out, another great finance film I’d recommend, the parents of two teenagers, who were driven to suicide over credit card debt, were asked why they hadn’t educated their children about credit. Their response was one of extremely bitter laughter, “Who the hell would give them a credit card? They were teenagers, never had a job, they didn’t have any money or any way to pay back a loan. Who would give them a credit card?”
Anyhow, this long ramble came from a pretty simple observation. I was out to dinner at a rather nice steak establishment when someone made the mistake of talking about finance within earshot of me. If you talk about finance around me, I’m going to listen, even if its not a conversation I’m involved in and I don’t even know the people having the discussion. That’s just who I am. The dumbass, noodles for brains, slippery minded, corn hole behind me was talking with his buddies about the fact that he is going through the bankruptcy process. He was pretty somber for a few minutes but was back to laughing about his problem after his moment of honesty.
While I think its a good idea to find the humor in things at all times, joking about his bankruptcy (so were his buddies) is down there with racism, sexism, and beating your wife. Its not something you should joke about because its pretty serious and causes a great deal of pain to many people. Maybe its just because I’m a finance dork and maybe I’m just being petty but here’s a question for you. Is a person or any race with the desire to have racist comments not something to be joked about just being petty? The answer to both of those questions is the same. Nope. How did our idiot friend turn out? No clue. He did, however, pay his share of the bill with a credit card. (I asked his server*) I hope he burns in hell. Seriously, if hell exists, I hope he burns in it.
As car as the whole credit card industry, keep giving out loaded guns, credit cards, and cigarettes to babies, dogs, rabbits, and even inannimate objects!
My credit card application in the name of my dog, cell phone, and table lamp goes in this afternoon. I’m thinking that it must be a coincidence but they all have the same Social Security number Anyone want to on how likely they are to be accepted? I’m banking on 100%
Man I love Wednesdays!
*I didn’t actually ask his server if he paid with a credit card though I did think about it!
Middle Class and Maxed Out