It is somewhat humorous to hear all of the news about the Fed raising interest rates in order to curb inflation. After all almost the entire rise in prices are due predominately to one item, oil. My question is, “how are consumers paying for higher priced items?” Where does the money come from to pay for the high cost gas and oil related products while at the same time paying the mortgage, buying food, clothes, medicines, and all of the other basic living expenses?
This past week I, and probably millions of others, received some interesting items in the mail. Credit card checks for 3, 4 and 7,000 dollars. All I had to do was sign them and take them to the bank to get cash “to pay off loans, consolidate debt, take a vacation, or for any purpose I chose. ” The interest rates on these checks were between 19.9% and 21.9%
Then I received two packets of BLANK credit card checks that were good until July 30th. I was to use these blank checks to “conveniently” tap into my available credit line “to pay off loans, consolidate debt, take a vacation or for any purpose I chose. ” Pictures of boats, beach resorts and $$$ signs were abundantly displayed. Interest rates were the same as above.
What would the week be like without the half dozen Home Equity Loan proposals? I was PRE-APPROVED for amounts ranging from $60,000 to over $300,000. One “quick phone call” is all it would take to have CASH within 21 days or less. Did I forget to mention the “LOW” introductory rates under 5%?
I was also offered instant approval, “Bad Credit Okay” for a new vehicle of my choice. Another check for $3,000 was received that must be cashed in two weeks. It could be as high as $10,000 if I stopped in to visit the financial services office but I could just sign it for “instant cash” to be used for, well, no need to repeat the list. And of course between my wife and me we received eight “YOU’RE PRE-APPROVED” letters from numerous credit card companies.
The list would not be complete without checking my computer’s bulk mail. Even though I clear my mail each night, there were 24 messages in the “bulk” bin this morning. There were ten more credit card approvals, a winning message from the Japanese lottery, several “get paid to shop” notices and numerous “get paid” to take these surveys.
For many, economic times are getting tougher and then we receive this weekly onslaught of mail offering us money. With a host of loans to pay, the need for a new vehicle, kids clamoring for that summer getaway, over inflated gas prices, the prospect of even higher home heating bills just a few months away, and possible unexpected financial emergencies these kinds of offers must be tempting. Added to all of these financial windfalls is the constant bombardment of commercials that demand we buy the newest and the latest. Is there any wonder that Americans are facing a crisis of debt? Can this debt driven economy sustain itself? Is the real solution to dealing with the “fear” of inflation to raise interest rates? Who really gains when those rates are raised? I am all in favor of less government and fewer laws but in this case, it may be wise to put a lid on all of these unsolicited money offers at rates that are usurious at best, and down right thievery at worst.
Mr. Harris was born in Massachusetts. He attended The American University in Washington, D. C. and received his degree in Political Science. His graduate work was done at the University of Northern Colorado and Howard University. While in D. C. , he spent several years working for local and regional government agencies. Upon moving to Maine he worked with three governors and served as the Assistant Director of the Maine State Planning Office. He worked on a White House Task Force for the development of a National Rural Policy and later served as Rural Policy Coordinator at the Federal Regional Council of New England. He has worked on gubernatorial and senatorial political campaigns and currently works in Special Education.
Mr. Harris is co-author of the novel WAKING GOD and is a nationally syndicated and featured writer for The American Chronicle. He is working on Book II of the Waking God trilogy and writing features for literary E-zines. His second novel, A MAINE CHRISTMAS CAROL has been released by Cambridge Books. Contributing writer for UPI's Religion&Spirituality web site.