New Credit Card Rules Bound to Shock Some

New reforms on Credit Cards go into effect today – it’s a good idea to check on changes to your cards:

More here: King 5 News

That helps explain why the industry reacted so aggressively to the legislation. Among the moves it made:

— Resurrected annual fees.

Annual fees, common until about 10 years ago, have made a comeback. During the final three months of last year, 43 percent of new offers for credit cards contained annual fees, versus 25 percent in the same period a year earlier, according to Mintel International, which tracks marketing data. Several banks also added these fees to existing accounts. One example: Many Citigroup customers will start paying a $60 annual fee on April 1.

— Created new fees and raised old ones.

These include a $1 processing fee for paper statements for cards issued by stores such as Victoria’s Secret and Ann Taylor. Another example is a $19 inactivity fee Fifth Third Bank now charges customers who haven’t used their card for six months.

Other banks increased existing fees. JPMorgan Chase, for instance raised the cost of balance transfers from one card to another to 5 percent of the transfer from 3 percent.

— Raised interest rates.

The average rate offered for a new card climbed to 13.6 percent last week, from 10.7 percent during the same week a year ago — meaning cardholders had to pay almost 30 percent more in interest, according to Bankrate.com.

For millions of other accounts, variable interest rates that can rise with the market replaced fixed rates. The Fed is expected to start raising its benchmark interest rates later this year, which would likely trigger an increase on those cards.

Besides making credit more expensive, banks also made it harder to get and keep credit cards. One big reason: Since the financial meltdown, many credit card issuers have been trying to reduce risk.

The Proof of the Pudding is the Eating

The Proof of the Pudding is the Eating

While some in the NY Conservative party and in the Right Wing blogosphere are trying to portray Tuesday’s historic defeat in NY-23 as a victory, the proof is really in the pudding.
Immediately past the election the House Democrats and Nancy Pelosi are scrambling to clear some hot button issues for a rare Saturday vote on Healthcare.

Here’s what Nancy says on the election from The Hill:

Although the Democrats lost two governors’ mansions in Tuesday’s election, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) picked up two more votes: John Garamendi, who replaced a Democrat in California, and Bill Owens, who won a GOP-held seat in upstate New York. Pelosi said Owens called his win a “victory for healthcare.”

“From our perspective, we won last night,” Pelosi said Wednesday. “We had one race we got involved in.”

The “Twooooo Konservatives” are such geniuses, this reminds me of the time they defeated Immigration Reform during the only period in which Republicans could hold sway over the shape and form of it. So this matches exactly with my final election tally yesterday for NY-23:
* +1 vote for public option
* +1 vote for cap and trade
* +1 vote for immigration reform
* +1 vote for Speaker Pelosi.

Obama is Failing IV

Obama is Failing

It’s now more that a month past my first post about President Obama’s First two quarters in office,  and the outlook is not any better. Obama is presiding over an economy with accelerating  job losses when he promised job gains with TARP’s passage. The economy is the key thing worrying the country right now, and his entire party and administration seems oblivious to that fact.

Here’s a graphic map that visualizes job losses through time at Slate, please hit the start button, then the green play button. You will see that job losses accelerated dramatically from November when he was elected through to the present.

Even his most ardent supporters cannot step forward in the face of this and say that he is succeeding in his election promise of saving and creating jobs. If he wants success there he’s got several long rows to hoe and with the course that he has set the outcome will be Congress facing elections with the US poorer and unemployment still high in 2010. This will occur even though the economy has turned and our basic economy is sound.

The contentious cap and trade and health care bills in Congress insure economic restraint through uncertainty if they are passed, and if they fail then they must fail dramatically to end the uncertainty. Both will introduce huge new costs to consumers, businesses, state economies, and local economies. These costs are unknowns which keep bean counters at every business in America awake at night because they can’t make forecasts with any hope of reasonable accuracy.

Bottom line:

  • High energy prices created by Cap and trade legislation will turn the economy down, not up, as President Obama promised.
  • Increased taxation from the Health Care bill will retard rather than progress the economy as Obama promised.

Cap and trade has been called “Cap and Tax” for a reason: one outcome will be increased energy costs for consumers and businesses, and high energy prices  drive all other things in the economy.

Indeed there are good arguments to be made that the rest of the world’s countries implementing cap and trade policies in prior years led to the fragility which tipped us over the brink in the banking and mortgage loan industries. Without high energy prices the past several years the system might have been able to sustain with a lower burden of defaults, and mortgage companies might not have so many “toxic assets” on the books. High energy costs stifle economies worldwide, so why would you intentionally make them higher at a time of severe economic malaise?

The other problematic bill in congress is the Health care bill  – the unknowns are more daunting than the knowns since the bill is a nightmare of cut and paste confusion as Pelosi’s staffers and lobbyists crammed like they were writing a term paper they had blown off all semester to get this before Congress in time. The resultant mess in the lower congress from “rushing to woo” the public is a crazy patchwork quilt of conflicting measures that can be interpreted any way opponents want to. This has been a real boon for grenade throwers like Sarah Palin and others.

The outlook for both bills has seriously worsened since I wrote this post, however I still expect pared down versions of both to pass. You can bet that some Republicans in congress do want some of the energy investments in the “energy bill portion” of Cap and Trade, and you can bet there are some health care reforms that Republicans and Blue Dogs could get behind. If Obama wants a cosmetic win in getting both passed then he’s going to have to give up the Pelosi and Waxman versions and cross the aisle to sanity.

To me that’s a failure since the Dems have a big lock on majority and should be able to get pretty much anything through. The struggles they are having now really demonstrates how truly incompetent their legislators are.

UPDATE: Charles hits the nail on the head about the political sideshow of the “DeathPanel” debate, with fact checking on the provisions provided by ABC. Also note that Rick Moran’s been taking a lot of heat over his stance on this, but he’s right.

UPDATE: Slick Willie Preps the diehards for the deal they will have to make if they want a health care bill.

UPDATE: Middle Class and Independent voters would prefer no Bill instead of House Plan by strong majorties.

Health Care Reform Costs Visualized

Health Care Reform Costs Visualized

1000 Pennies is at it again, this time showing how much health care reform will cost in visual terms.

But would you pay for it?

But would you pay for it?

This CNN segment cuts to the essentials of the health care and cap and trade bill debates:

F- For Ayers and Obama’s Education Efforts

 More on this here.

“Chicago’s former schools chief has flunked the education foundation headed by Barack Obama and founded by 1960s terrorist Bill Ayers – saying it failed to monitor projects and funded school ‘reform’ groups that campaigned against boosting academic standards.” — New York Post

“‘F’ For Barack’s School Fix”
By Carl Campanile
New York Post
October 20, 2008

Chicago’s former schools chief has flunked the education foundation headed by Barack Obama and founded by 1960s terrorist Bill Ayers – saying it failed to monitor projects and funded school “reform” groups that campaigned against boosting academic standards.

“There was a total lack of accountability. If you went back and asked, you’d be hard-pressed to find out how the money was spent,” said Paul Vallas, the city’s school superintendent when Obama chaired the Chicago Annenberg Foundation from 1995 to 1999.

Annenberg spent $49.5 million, mostly on grants to 211 public schools that partnered with community-based groups. But despite collecting millions, those schools performed no better than other public schools, a study found.

Ayers, a professor of education at the University of Illinois and an ex-Weather Underground bomber, wrote the grant that won the Windy City funding from the national Annenberg Challenge. He was a key adviser to the Chicago Annenberg board.

While much debate has centered on Obama’s relationship with Ayers, there’s been virtually no discussion about how the Annenberg schools performed.

“Very little of the money found its way directly into the classroom,” Vallas said.

Most frustrating, Vallas said, was that Annenberg under Obama and Ayers funded groups that fought his mission, under Mayor Richard Daley, to impose uniform standards and stricter accountability in low-performing schools.

Many of Vallas’ goals were later adopted by Mayor Bloomberg in Big Apple schools.

“Many of the school-reform groups viewed greater accountability as an infringement of local control. Some opposed ending social promotion and grade retention,” Vallas said.

Senator Obama is Part of the Problem

Here’s a devastating video from the group “Let Freedom Ring”:

Crisis, and how to Overcome it

While the markets tumble Barack Obama is hob-knobbing with Celebrities and High Rollers in Hollywood.:

The polls are one thing, but it sounds like Barack Obama might make progress in other ways during two ultra-rich Beverly Hills fund-raisers Tuesday. According to Politico, the events could raise more than $9 million, which, if it happens, would be a one-day record.

More also at Jammie Wearing Fool.

It is also noteworthy that Obama made a remark about the crisis:

“Eight years of policies that have shredded consumer protections; have brought us to the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression.”

If things got “shredded” then the Democrat-controlled senate Anti-trust Competition and Consumer Rights Sub Committee helped, and Barack’s running mate, Senator Joe Biden, was a member of that committee.