Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Another Great email from Consumers UnionThe banks love fine print and loopholes. That’s how they managed to hike millions of Americans’ credit card interest rates before a new law went into effect in February clamping down on their abusive tactics.
But that new law can still help customers — in it, Congress told the banks to review those interest rate hikes and bring unfair rates back down for responsible cardholders. Of course, the banks are trying to make sure that the Federal Reserve Board’s regulations don’t really rollback rate increases.
We need your voice now to counter the banks’ efforts! The Senate is preparing to vote on reforming oversight of the banks and Wall Street — send Senators a strong message that credit card rates need to come back down as part of the reform package.
Email your Senators to include strong credit card rate rollback in bank reform. Give customers a fighting chance!
The financial reform bill is our last, best chance to give Americans’ socked with last year's interest rate hikes a legitimate way to get their concerns addressed. Credit card interest rates cover lending risk, but when the banks can borrow money for close to 0%, why are they charging good customers who pay on time upwards of 30%?
The financial reform bill should stop the unbridled greed and dangerous risk-taking on Wall Street that tanked our economy, destroyed home values and retirement accounts, and eliminated millions of jobs. The bill needs to:
- Prioritize a strong, independent consumer protection watchdog with no loopholes;
- Help reverse credit card rate hikes for responsible cardholders;
- Stop taxpayer bailouts of ‘too big to fail’ banks or other big financial companies.
Wall Street and financal institutions spent nearly $200 million lobbying Washington last year, so we've got our work cut out for us. After you send an email, please forward this to 10 other people so they can lend their voices, too.
And you’ll be hearing from us in the coming weeks on more ways you can help make sure financial reform works for hard-working Americans. Thanks for all you do!
DefendYourDollars.org, a project of Consumers Union
1535 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Bank lobbyists are spending millions to kill financial reforms.
Will you spend a few minutes to make sure your senator doesn't fall for it?
Great Message from AARP
Right now an army of banking lobbyists is running a multi-million dollar effort to water down the reforms that would help protect you against the fat cats that got us into this financial mess.
And unless we fight back, they might just succeed.
Your senators are home for spring recess this week, and we need them to get the real story from constituents like you. A letter to the editor is one of the most effective ways to get your senator's attention.
Will you write your letter to the editor today? I just sent my own letter, and to help get you started, I've included a list of talking points I used to write mine.
Here's what's at stake: Right now, the Senate is considering legislation that would put in place new rules of the road that rein in the reckless behavior of big banks and crack down on the abusive and deceptive practices used by credit card companies.
Just months ago, your emails and calls helped us pass these reforms through the House. But Wall Street lobbyists are fighting tooth and nail to protect the bonuses, loopholes, and sweetheart deals that many financial predators still enjoy while millions of Americans lose their jobs and savings.
Big banks, credit card companies, and mortgage lenders must be held accountable. But it's up to us to make it happen.
Put your outrage in print and demand to know whose side your senator is on – yours or the big banks who got us into this mess. Write your letter today.
Thank you for standing up to Wall Street's excesses. With the help of people like you, I know we can get our message through to Congress in time.
Senior Manager, Grassroots
Senior Manager, Grassroots
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Dire predictions about the strain baby boomers will place on federal entitlement programs may not be so worrisome after all.
That’s the view expressed by Chris Farrell, a contributing economics editor for BusinessWeek, in an article headlined “Aging Boomers May Bring Fiscal Blessings Instead.”
The oldest of the roughly 76 million American baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 are now becoming eligible for Social Security and Medicare, creating concerns over an entitlement overload.
But for the U.S. economy, “the dire forecasts may be overstated,” according to Farrell.
“The ranks of boomers expecting to kick back and retire soon are shrinking fast. A lifetime of poor savings habits coupled with the devastating impact on retirement portfolios of two bear markets in eight years have convinced many boomers that they'll have to put in more time at the office. This should reduce the demands on Social Security and Medicare.”
Despite high unemployment and underemployment rates that may be long-lasting, jobs might well be available for 55-plus workers, according to a set of studies cited by Farrell.
The study authors Barry Bluestone, Dean of the Public School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University, and Mark Melnik, deputy director for research at the Boston Redevelopment Authority conclude: "Using history as our guide, we believe that the economy will recover. When it does, given the population dynamics of the very near future, it's clear that older adults will need to participate in the work force in numbers considerably larger than they do now, or the nation will be unable to fill millions of jobs between now and 2018."
Even with a weak employment growth rate, the scholars predict that 14.6 million additional nonfarm jobs will be created by 2018, most of them in the knowledge- and skill-intensive sectors including healthcare, education and government.
“The baby bust generation that followed the boomers is too small to fill those jobs,” Farrell writes, and up to 5.7 million jobs “could go begging,” assuming no major changes to immigration.
“It's hard to imagine that employers will let from 30 percent to 40 percent of these additional jobs go begging over the next decade.
“Survey after survey has shown that a majority of boomers say they want to work in their elder years. They're going to get their wish.”
And these experienced workers will continue to pay taxes on their income, Farrell concludes, “making the government debt tab easier to meet.”
Thursday, April 1, 2010
The following is from Consumers Union, an agency who is on the Consumers Side>>
The banks thought they fooled us by jacking up credit card interest rates and fees before a new law went into effect cracking down on their abusive tactics. But we can turn the tables if we speak out against these rate hikes right now!Under the new law, customers have the right to have any interest rate-hike reviewed and reduced if the reasons for it have changed! Thousands of you told us about unexplained rate hikes that had little to do with your payment history. Now we need you to tell the Fed and Congress you want those interest rates reviewed this year — and rolled back if they’re unfair!
We have two weeks to inundate the Federal Reserve Board with your stories about rate hikes or ridiculous penalties so we can get the strongest rate-review rule possible. Tell them we deserve to have unfair rate hikes rolled back!