The LuLac Edition #1608, May 23rd, 2011
Newt Gingrich’s Presidential campaign got off to a rocky start because he bothered to tell the truth about the Medicare Program. Gingrich said that Congressman Paul Ryan’s plan to have Medicare recipients buy vouchers was conservative social engineering. The right wing of the GOP has been going nuts on him. So much so that Gingrich has back tracked on his previous statements which is unfortunate. The man might have been a horn dog but he is brilliant when it comes to addressing public policy. While Medicare is one of the largest entitlement programs run by the government and it does need some tweaking, asking seniors to bear the burden of the costs is unconscionable. Nowhere have the GOP deficit hawks asked for the oil companies to give up their government subsidies. Nowhere have the GOP hawks explained why a voucher system sold by a government clearinghouse is so different than the health care bill they were all opposing last year. Nowhere has the GOP asked those making over a million dollars a year to sacrifice for the sake of the deficit. No, the national GOP way is to ask from those with the least to give…to give more. My disappointment in Gingrich is that he caved in to the right wing extremists of his party. Like the old country song goes, “If you don’t stand for something..you’ll fall for anything”.
It is ironic that as Wilkes Barre raps up the Fine Arts Fiesta this weekend, one of the men who was a constant on Public Square in the 60s, 70s and 80s passed away in Virginia. Tom Finn was the guy who set up the band shell, made sure the microphones worked, made certain there was no feedback and handled any crisis real or imagined with a very calm demeanor. He worked for years at Charles & Mary Music and was the father of the late TV Weatherman Hugh Finn. Mr. Finn was a pleasure to work with when I coordinated special events in the 80s for the United Way of Wyoming Valley. He was one of those behind the scenes guys that public events couldn’t do without.
President Obama’s Credit Card Reform act helped consumers so that the major credit card giants would not rip off the little folk. But the same safeguards that consumers got are not being afforded those card holders who own or represent a business.
The sudden interest-rate hikes, high fees and steep penalties that last year’s credit card regulations were designed to eliminate are still lurking in one segment of the credit card market: cards designated for businesses. As a result, consumers who don’t carefully read the fine print on card applications may learn the hard way that when it comes to such practices, “It’s just business, nothing personal.” The credit card law that took effect a year ago has been deemed successful at making personal credit easier to understand, while saving consumers millions in interest charges, late payment penalties and over-the-limit fees. But the law that restricts the way banks can change rates or charge fees doesn’t apply to cards labeled for business or commercial use.
A study released Wednesday by the Pew Charitable Trust’s Safe Credit Card Project says that consumers are still vulnerable to these practices, because more than 10 million offers for business cards are sent to U.S. households each month.
It’s going to be difficult to get any new legislation through the current Congress, said Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., who wrote the credit card legislation, in an emailed response to a request for comment. Pointing to efforts underway to repeal or delay aspects of last year’s financial overhaul, she said, “Congress is not passing any new consumer protections given the change in control of the House.”
Translation: The Republicans are in charge. These are the guys who champion small business as the back bone of the American economy. Yet they do nothing to screw the small business person out of a few dollars.