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Archive for December 11th, 2005

Banks are now targeting the newly bankrupt for credit card offers. According to the NY Times, bleeding heart fascists consumer activists do not like it one bit. Most people know little to nothing about how credit ratings work, so the commentary borders on the humorous to me.

If it seems odd to Ms. Fogle that banks would want to lend money to the newly bankrupt, it is no mystery to the financial community, which charges some of the highest interest rates to these newly available customers.

Under the new law, which the banking industry spent more than $100 million lobbying for, they may be even more attractive because it makes it harder for them to escape new credit card debt and extends to eight years from six the time before which they could liquidate their debts through bankruptcy again.

"The theory is that people who have just declared bankruptcy are a good credit risk because their old debts are clean and now they won’t be able to get a new discharge for eight years," said John D. Penn, president of the American Bankruptcy Institute, a nonprofit clearinghouse for information on the subject.

Credit card companies have long solicited bankrupt people, on a calculated risk that income from the higher interest rates and late fees paid by those who are trying to get their credit back will outweigh the losses from those who fail to make payments altogether. The companies also directed many of those customers toward so-called secured cards, which require a cash deposit.

But the new law makes for an even better gamble for lenders, consumer groups say. It not only makes bankrupt debtors wait eight years to clear their debts again, but it also requires many of those who do go back into bankruptcy to pay previous credit card bills that may have been excused under the old law.

The presupposition as indicated by the passages I bolded is that people don’t pay their bills, they simply clear them through bankruptcy. No wonder society is so screwed up. A man’s right to a clean slate supersedes his responsibility to pay back money he borrowed.

I’ve originated mortgage loans for 5 years, and I’ll be the first to vouch for the whorish scumbagitude of banks, especially consumer lenders. However, does anyone ever throw rocks a the local bartender because their uncle is an alcoholic? Is a casino employee a bad person because we know of a guy who lost his house and marriage to a gambling addiction? Does anyone outside of the far left, trial lawyers and emotionally biased surviving relatives really think it is OK to sue tobacco companies for the deaths of lung cancer victims? I think not.

The most tragic thing about bankruptcy is not the loss of money; hell, bankruptcy actually prevents that. No, the biggest casualty in bankruptcy is ones credit rating and their ability to borrow. The argument we hear from the bleeding heart fascists consumer activists is that these poor slobs can’t buy a home or a decent car. So what, exactly, does extending (expensive) credit do for someone whose credit has been blighted by bankruptcy or financial calamity? I’ll tell you. It gives them fresh new trade lines to re-establish credit, that’s what.

The first thing knowledgeable financial advisers will tell you in order to re-establish your credit is to go out and um, RE-ESTABLISH YOUR CREDIT. You have to get new trade lines. And here’s a hint: you can’t re-establish credit down at the vegan food co op. You have to scrounge together 200 bucks and get a secured credit card from First National Loanshark, buy a bag of gumdrops, pay the bill right away, and put the card in the icebox.

Repeat after me: No new trade lines, no credit repair. Period. The old trade lines with late payments and charge offs are useless, even if you are a good boy scout every month for 5 years. You need new trade lines with ZERO LATE PAYMENTS or no soup for you. The credit card companies know this, and they are facilitating the process. I know the fascists advocates resent that they actually make profits doing this, and I hate higher fees too, but that’s baseball. People need to learn their lesson, take advantage of the fresh start offered them, and dispense with the whining.

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Two Catholic high schools have canceled their respective proms out of concern for how decadent and contrary to Catholic teaching they are perceived to be.

Underlying the concern seems to be a widespread uncertainty about the coming-of-age ritual embodied in the modern prom – the $500 to $1,000 spent on dress, limo and parties before and after the actual event. It has become not uncommon for parents to sign leases for houses, where couples room together, for post-prom weekend events or for parents to authorize boat excursions in which under-age drinking is not just winked at but expected.

Trumping it all, of course, is the uncertainty about sex.

"Common parlance tells us that this is a time to lose one’s virginity," Brother Hoagland and other administrators of Kellenberg High wrote in a letter to parents in March, warning them that the prom might be canceled unless parents stopped financing what, in effect, the school considered bacchanals. "It is a time of heightened sexuality in a culture of anything goes," the letter added. "The prom has become a sexual focal point. This is supposed to be a dance, not a honeymoon."

A few observations…

  • If it is just occurring to school officials that prom night is "first home run night" they are atrociously out of touch with things. My senior prom was 1985 and it was a common expectation back then too. So much so that when one was asked who they were taking to the prom, they were quick to clarify whether it was "that" kind of date or the "other" kind. This was a Catholic high school as well. When I was a child in the 70’s prom night was also a popular night for people to get engaged, a practice that has fallen away as people wait to marry.
  • The kids who were on "that" kind of date were lost to their parents’ expectations of Catholic virtue long before the prom arrived, and they didn’t need a prom to do the Deed any more than any other Friday night out.
  • These parents are OK with their kids getting a hotel room (usually paying for it) and rationalize it as some sort of drunk driving avoidance tactic. Ditto for the limo.
  • When I was in school my best pal’s dad threw the after-party at his own house. We all crashed there that night. Years later Ralph explained his modus operandi: he wasn’t being a nice guy, he just did it so he’d know where we were all night.
  • Canceling the prom is taking the easy way out instead of tackling these issues the previous four years.
It disturbs me when conservatives pick the wrong battles, and in my view they are in this case. People who object to what happens on prom night are targeting the symptom, not the cause. There are things to worry about on prom night even if your son or daughter are model citizens. However, you can’t lock them in a basement. Worrying is part of the deal when you have children. Teenagers have to live their lives, and stealing landmark occasions from their youth because you are insecure about how well you’ve parented them over the years cheats everyone.

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Heart

Definition 6(a): Courage; resolution; fortitude: The last place Eagles showed heart by going to the half tied with the first place Giants.

1 2 3 4 Total
NY Giants 7 10 17 Half
Philadelphia 7 10 17
Halftime
 

(more…)

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