Credit Cards

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Monday, August 04, 2008

H.R. 5244: The Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act of 2008

Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act of 2008I had just about given up on Congress when they enacted the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act back in the spring of 2005 [1][2][3]. The bill gave the banks what they wanted, and made it harder for those in financial dire straits to declare bankruptcy, even poor folks who got into trouble due to high medical bills. The new law makes it more difficult for deadbeats to get away with not paying their bills -- and I have no problem with that -- but it also punishes those who deserve the kind of help that only bankruptcy can provide.

Now it seems that Congress is on its way back to representing the people instead of focusing on doing whatever the Corporate America-controlled lobbyists want.

Last week, the House Financial Services Committee passed by a vote of 39-27 the "Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act" (H.R. 5244.) If this bill is passed into law, things like double-cycle billing and universal default will become illegal. This bill still has a long way to go before becoming law, but it's a very good start. The bill was introduced by Democrat Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York on February 7TH, 2008, and still must go through debate, a vote in the House, a vote in the Senate and finally a signature by the President. Godspeed.

Don't get me wrong. I love credit cards, especially 0% cards that also feature generous cash back rewards. If this bill becomes law, much needed checks would be put into place to keep the credit-card banks from abusing their considerable power, and consumers would be able to spend with their plastic, secure in the knowledge that the credit-card playing field is reasonable and fair. Nothing wrong with that. That's the American way.

I wouldn't be surprised if passing H.R. 5244 into law boosted consumer spending; more spending is something the U.S. economy needs right now and for many months ahead[1][2]. In my humble opinion, I don't think the recent stimulus payments will do much to ward of a recession. I think most folks used the bulk of that money to pay down debt and/or shore up their savings. If we must endure a recession, let's hope that it's short and shallow. Amen.

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Anonymous sunken said...

Making it harder for people to declare bankruptcy for medical bills that are far beyond their reach is really unfair. One hospital visit can run into the hundreds of thousands and ruin one's credit and life. I was in the hospital for 4 days and it was $34,000. If they plan to make it more difficult, they need to do something about the cost of healthcare, so that one incident in one's life doesn't completely wipe the unfortunate person out. No one chooses to have a heart attack.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008 3:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Debt Blog said...

> Making it harder for people
> to declare bankruptcy for
> medical bills that are far
> beyond their reach is really
> unfair...

That bankruptcy bill was passed when the Republicans controlled everything (White House, Congress, Senate.) Remember Tom Delay? Enough said.

Sunday, August 10, 2008 9:24:00 PM  

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