Archive for debt

Laffy on the Nicole Sandler Show: Debt and Destruction



Laffy was on the Nicole Sandler show this morning. The topic: Debt and Destruction
The podcast is here.

From the Radio Or Not website:

I’m one of the lucky ones. My father paid my way through college, as he did for my two sisters as well. We all went to Florida state universities and, back in the 1970′s and 80′s, tuition was remarkably inexpensive.

In 2013, the average college graduate embarked on the next chapter of his or her life with $35,200 of debt and, sadly, limited career and income opportunities. Senator Elizabeth Warren had long advocated for relief and, last May, introduced the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act, which could come up for a vote tomorrow, and would allow people with higher interest rates to refinance their student loans at the current low rate of 3.4% an option currently denied to most borrowers by federal rules


Must-Read: Personal debt that enriches Wall St. -- NOT national debt -- is greatest threat to retirees


must read

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

Whenever the elected political tools of the oligarchs trash Social Security, they tout 401(k)-type accounts and voluntary retirement savings programs. [...]

...WP article is entitled, "Most Americans accumulating debt faster than they’re saving for retirement":

A majority of Americans with 401(k)-type savings accounts are accumulating debt faster than they are setting aside money for retirement, further undermining the nation’s troubled system for old-age saving, a new report has found....


So the problem facing even non-Social Security dependent retirees (who have earned their checks by paying into the fund) is due to personal debt not national debt. What people owe money on are non-government expenses such as college, housing, cars, credit cards, etc.  This is private indebtedness that is contributing to a looming personal retirement shortfall of funds.

Ironically, Social Security is one of the few programs that is keeping most seniors from economic impoverishment, as meager as the average monthly check is.  [...]

Since the Reagan era, wages have been relatively stagnant in the United States as debt has risen.  It is indeed this growing personal (again not national) debt that has been a primary source of profit for the banks too big to fail.  Persons who owe large amounts of money are paying off interest at often exorbitant sums (think credit cards) while in many cases barely scratching away at principal.  This is all easy money for banks that are paying out literally .01 % on savings accounts. [...]

So, let this WP article be a mini-lesson on what the oligarchy and their minions on the Hill, such as Paul Ryan, have been up to. Since the Reagan era, they have been promoting policies that increase personal debt while stagnating wages (except for themselves, of course).  In turn, a likely majority of the 99% has to go into debt and borrow money at high interest rates, while those who save receive virtually no interest on their savings.  This, in turn (except for Social Security) limits what they can save for retirement.

Then the financial titans sponsor think tanks and give campaign contributions to blame "entitlements" for all the personal indebtedness which has fueled their profitsSo, if a "grand bargain" of Social Security and Medicare cuts are enacted, the elderly become indebted and poorer, while the Wall Street barons make even a greater profit from increased borrowing as the national debt is lowered in the name of "austerity" (without revenue increases in the form of higher progressive taxes on the rich).

Please read the entire post here.


I Love My Debt Collector


debtors prison

Times are tough, the economy has sputtered thanks to the sequester and the government shutdown. Many of us live on hopes and dreams of a better day. And try as we do, those days seem separated from arriving by trying to stretch the few dollars we have to make them go as far as they can.

This isn't exactly rob Peter to pay Paul, but it's a shell game, for sure. We make minimum payments here, delay a payment there -- even though the check we write this month won't really lower what we owe. We're just buying time while the banks get rich -- or richer.

No matter how good we think we are at this ploy, sometimes circumstances arise and some payment just can't get made -- especially if you and your loved ones want to be fed. And minimum wage jobs don't cover everything, not with a family.

Then the inevitable happens. The call. That call. It's the bill collector. They're not going to take you off to debtor's prison, basically because they don't exist anymore in the States, but it's painful  none-the-less.

These are never pleasant calls, and the people who are making minimum wage placing the collection reminders can't be blamed. It's their job and probably the only one they can get. Despite efforts to be patient while hearing the same excuses everyone uses, they really have one goal in mind -- to get you to pay your bills. And it's not as if we don't want to. It's that in some cases we just can't.

What's the solution? There is one. Think of it as a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down approach.

CFS2. Never heard of them? Well, they're a new kind of debt collector. They've got new approach and it's working both for the creditors and for the debtors. Their success rate is more than twice that of comparable companies. Instead of railing at you for not paying a bill, they help you find a way to  pay it. Then when those assets come in, they reap even more rewards.

If it sounds complicated, it's not. It's just an original way to deal with an age old problem. Check it out. It's so amazing that CBS did a spot on it for the evening news. This is not a commercial or endorsement from me. That's why I'm not giving your a homepage website link. It's just a wonderful, uplifting story you should see.

Oh, and here's a bit about the man who came up with this.  Bill Bartmann is his name. He left a dirt-poor family at age 14 to join the carnival; became an alcoholic gang member by age 17; later paralyzed by falling down stairs drunk; being told that he’ll never walk again, yet proving the doctors wrong, later walked out of the hospital unassisted.

This is a guy who "saw it all" and took life's lessons, turning his lemons into our lemonade.


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