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by problembear

just like president elect Obama, there is little time for his supporters to savor the unprecedented sea change which this country has gone through in the last week. we must hit the ground running to solve many of the problems which locally effect us as well. my pet peeve is payday loan businesses. they prey on montana’s most vulnerable financially strapped citizens. from elderly to youth making minimum wage; from the poorest of the poor working class to the middle class, payday loans, while tempting, usually only make situations worse with 650% interest rates (currently allowable under montana law) which usually create a trap for those unable to pay them back within the original two week pay period.

fortunately, there are many citizen groups working on this and we hope to pass legislation in the upcoming winter session of the Montana legislature scheduled to convene on Jan 5, 2009- just seven short weeks away.

these groups need your stories about friends family or yourself in dealing with payday lenders. please consider sharing them with us here or just drop by my webpage to leave your story. each change we make this year could make a big difference for families living on the edge. if you would like more information on this proposed legislation there is a group in Billings who has approached potential sponsors of a bill to bring these lenders in line with other states who have passed similar legislation. Oregon has a bill which seems to work for both the industry and the people who need their services. finally, if you feel like me that the greed and predation which has occurred accross this country over the past 8 years needs to end, please join us in contacting your state representatives and letting them know that payday lending needs to be curbed and regulated in Montana. if you or someone you know has been effected by payday loans, please consider sharing them with us. your identity will be kept private as always. thank you.

by problembear

anne opened her mail today after a long shift as an RN at St. Patrick’s hospital. one of the envelopes contained in the slew of junk mail looked a little ominous. in the right hand corner of the envelope were the words “account information enclosed.”  anne placed the mail on the dining room table and let her little dog out. she lives alone with her small terrier/poodle cross named Izzie who anne rescued from the dog pound 7 years ago. she lives very modestly in a nice apartment with a view of the clark fork river. her life is busy. she volunteers at the food bank on her days off and her friends keep her busy with church activities and outdoor hiking on weekends. a very used book by Kim Williams entitled Book Of Uncommon Sense lies prominently on the cluttered coffee table in front of her comfy recliner.

it was a couple of hours later when anne finally opened her mail and read the fine print contained in the envelope. her JC Penney card which she used for modest clothing and linen purchases had a current balance of $653.46. anne always paid her bill early or on time and she always paid at least triple the minimum. her current credit limit is $1500.00. the first announcement in the summary of changes stated that anne’s current rate of 12% will immediately be increased to a new standard rate of 22.85%. the credit card company gave no reason for the change. the summary of changes had other surprises for anne like shortening the time by which she must pay the minimum payment to avoid a late payment fee from 30 to 23 days. also, interest will be compounded on a daily rather than monthly basis.

anne felt abused as a customer of JC Penney and she felt abused as an american worker who pays her bills on time and expects to be treated fairly. she will vote for obama in november because she is tired of being taken advantage of by large corporations like GE Capital who sent her this notice today because they have just purchased all the credit card accounts from JC Penney Corp. anne is tired of hearing about the corruption and predatory lending practices of  banks and credit card companies like GE Capital. she hopes that change in washington will also include reining in the predatory lending practices that have been encouraged to flourish under the Bush administration. anne feels that obama knows that what this company is doing to her is wrong and she is certain she can trust him to bring some integrity back to business practices in america again. meanwhile, anne will take some money out of savings and work some overtime to pay the card off over the next few months and she is certain she will never set foot in JC Penney’s again. i believe her and if you have ever seen the determined look that a seasoned RN can muster you would believe her too. after all, anne reminds me, she works in a cancer ward. Mr. Bush himself would wither under the look of anne’s eyes peering at him over her reading glasses tonight. and i would not recommend anyone ever giving anne a conservative right wing lecture on allowing the credit industry to remain unregulated.

with notices like these going out to 25 million JC Penney card holders and the accompanying anger sure to grow from this bold move, i do not envy the chances for mccain/palin in november.

obama votes on predatory lending. obama’s plan to address predatory lending.

by jhwygirl

Relied on Wall Street. Just three years ago.

I’m thinking Mildred and few thousand shareholders are thinking differently right now. McCain better stay far far away from them with that privatization talk.

In 2005, McCain and Bush stood together, advocating for private accounts for social security.

So Economic Einstein and Republican Presidential nominee John McCain, just three short years ago, felt that Wall Street was the appropriate place for people to place their trust in their long-term economic security?

Let’s see – the AIG bailout was $85 billion. Economist are estimating the total bailout costs will be $900 billion. Today, the Bush/Paulson Administration requested a $700 billion dollar no-strings-attached bailout package that will raise the national debt ceiling from $10.615 to $11.315 trillion.

Take a moment to let those numbers sink in, people. Clinton left Bush, 8 long and torturous and ethically devoid years ago, with a surplus.

And all this destabilized in just 3 years? Today those same Wall Street people are greedy? Where were thee three years ago, pal?

Obama/Biden, though, know the real story. Biden’s been hitting McCain hard on the campaign trail – and if you have a few moments tomorrow, I highly recommend watching CNN’s “On the Campaign Trail” to see just how hard. For a taste of some real Straight Talk:

“If John cares so much about this now, where was he a week ago? Where was he a month ago? Where was he 5 years ago? I’ll tell you where he was. He was bragging to the folks on Wall Street, the executives who now he calls greedy, he was bragging to them how he was going to shred the regulation that fetters them, that ties them down,” Biden said, calling those regulations “the very things that protected ordinary people on Main Street.”

“All of a sudden it’s ‘my goodness there’s greed on Wall Street. My goodness we need common sense regulation. My goodness,’” he continued. “This is a simple simple choice people have. It’s a choice between those who think that the marketplace and the corporations and the wealthy of America should go unfettered and have no regulation, and those of us who think there should be common sense rules to protect transparency so people can see the ability to know where your dollars are going.”

“John has said to the folks on Wall Street, and again I’m quoting here – this is in the Wall Street Journal – I’m always for less regulation. Here now, John has said he’s going to crack down on the greed on Wall Street. The greed of American corporations,” he said.

“Lets take a look at John’s conversion here. Something happened on the road to Damascus. John fell off his horse, but he got back on the same horse.”

Make no mistake, McCain’s privatization plans for Social Security have deep roots. Senator (now Republican Presidential nominee) John McCain’s plans go back more than 25 years. Here’s one of his speeches from 1999.

As Biden put it: He may have had a political epiphany, but it sure wasn’t a policy epiphany.

Or, as ABC News’ George Will put it, a Conversion of Convenience (even if you are on dial-up, this one is worth the wait):

This is McCain/Palin. This is the Republic Party.

Vote accordingly folks.

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