The Nanny State
The sub-prime mortgage crisis was brought about by a confluence of many factors; no single one can be blamed for the situation we find ourselves in today. From politically mandated affordable housing policies and the outright manipulation of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, all the way to the towers of Wall Street and the artificially low rates from the Fed, we can probably agree that the housing crisis ultimately would not have happened if the people who should not, could not, and would not have bought homes in normal times weren’t able to buy them during the boom.
But buy them they did: with low docs, then no docs; with 5% down, then 1% down, then ZERO down, then even CASH BACK ON CLOSING! And since more and more people joined the parade (we all have stories of the body shop guy who just bought his third place in Vegas, or the teacher who had just flipped her condo in Miami) the housing market surged, and more and more people re-fied their houses, and used the proceeds to buy another place, or another plasma TV, or a second car … you get the point.
So of course, the Government, in their limited wisdom, decided that we can no longer be trusted to make financial decisions on our own. Proposed regulations to “protect” consumers from harming ourselves (since we clearly don’t know better–hence the Nanny State) cover everything from stocks and bonds to mortgages to…sweaters and suits?
Yes. That’s right. Proposed regulations will govern how you get those on-the-spot credit cards at private stores. You know, whether at Macy’s or Best Buy, these are the store’s private label cards that offer you 10-30% off your purchases that day if you apply for their card. It used to be that they ran a quick credit check, and gave the card on the spot to those who were approved. But apparently, that isn’t enough protection for our “guardians” in DC.
Despite the fact that no stores got bailouts, and consumers aren’t crying about fraudulent cashmere sweaters, the government is going to intervene–whether you want it or not–and change the rules on these cards–and you won’t like it.
If the new rules go in to effect, you will have to present proof of income or assets to the cashier before you can get the card approved and your big discount. C’mon,..REALLY?!. We don’t run around with our prior 3 years of tax returns on us, nor do we carry a net-worth statement. Even if we did, would we really share those with the store personnel while we’re on line with people waiting to buy socks and undies? We think not.
This is yet another example of the disdain, even disrespect, that our condescending politicians have for the average consumer. Hey–why should we be trusted to make decisions for ourselves–we voted for these geniuses in the first place!
We all have to take a stand at these growing “protections”, or they will continue unfettered. We will find ourselves in a situation where all of our decisions, no matter how minute–are being overseen, supervised, or regulated by an earnest politician trying to “protect” us from ourselves. What we need to do is protect ourselves from overreaching, aggressive politicians.
There are many methods to having your voice heard by your government. Write a letter to your representatives in congress (better yet, go online and write one), or even start an online petition to send in to your representatives – power in numbers always get attention. The only thing we advise you not to do is sit idly by while your government is making decisions on things that will adversely affect you and your wallet.