August 17th, 2009
…and HCR update
The biggest bank failure of 2009 happened last week when the FDIC moved to shut down Colonial BancGroup of Alabama, along with four other banks, bringing the total thus far this year to more than 70. A quick deal with BB&T to purchase Colonial caused its shares to rise. FDIC will be shouldering much of the losses, of course, which adds billions to the bailout of the banking system while at the same time working to further bank consolidation for the wealthiest banks still standing.
Such situations are a ‘win-lose’ proposition. Win for BB&T and their stockholders, lose for We the Taxpayers. This scheme where the feds cap the buyer’s losses at taxpayer expense is just another outrage to the hard-pressed public at a time when all the glorious pronouncements of economic recovery have yet to even begin to touch the lives of the general public still losing jobs at a high rate while no new jobs seem to be forthcoming.
And on top of the still-dismal economic situation for average people in this country, now we have the extremely contentious health care reform debate ongoing that looks more and more like bad street theater every day. Between the noisy hoards of idle old folks bused around the country to shut down discussion of provisions during Town Hall meetings held by vacationing congresscritters, and the absurd lies being spewed by the usual suspects at FoxNews and right wing radio, it’s looking more and more like the final result will be a significant new tax on the working poor that will be earmarked directly to the health insurance industry by means of mandatory purchase of junk insurance.
The situation is really health insurance reform, though reform isn’t really a good title either considering how much the Death by Spreadsheet crowd will end up getting from the public directly and from the government as subsidies. Yes, they will have to stop excluding anyone with a pre-existing condition, retroactively canceling policies if the insured person gets sick, and simply not paying for covered health care after the fact. But they will more than make up for however much this costs them by the ~40 million new policies the uninsured will have to purchase, and with government subsidies for many of those as well as losses incurred by having to honor their contracts.Bank Failures, Economic Recession, Government Bailouts, Health Care, Joblessness, Taxes | Comment (0)
May 26th, 2009
One of my favorite series bloggers sarahnity has a weekly series at Daily Kos called “Frugal Fridays” that offers different tips and ideas every week, by her and a number of volunteer authors, on how to make your money go farther, how to earn money on the side, and how to hang on to what you’ve got. Last Friday the theme was frauds and scams geared toward those being most harmed by the current economy, entitled Don’t Get Fooled Again.
I’m just going to list the major confidence games going around in recent weeks/months, and the several resources and good advice offered to help people determine if something’s on the up-and-up or just more grifters targeting the weak to make themselves strong. The series is awesome, definitely worth bookmarking by all readers of this blog and checked every Friday afternoon for the latest in resources for the frugal.
The major scams making the rounds these days – particularly via the internet – are sometimes old and sometimes new. There’s the standard Work from Home sting where you have to pay to find out who’s hiring. If someone wants your money before showing you the want ads, it’s likely a scam. Real employers aren’t looking for you to pay them, they’re seeking people to pay for good work.
Then there’s the new-ish trick of Facebook identity theft where a clever grifter assumes an identity from among your networking ‘friends’ (often a relative) to beg for money. Be suspicious if someone on your Facebook page suddenly asks for money. Often the real person knows nothing about it – so check on regular email before sending anything.
There are also property tax scams going around where someone tells you you’re paying too much for property recently devalued. All you have to do is send money and the scammers won’t do anything for you. These can come in the regular mail too, so always do your homework and check with your real property tax officials about what’s what. If you really do pay too much, they’ll let you know for free. In line with this there are also housing and mortgage frauds, where someone offers you a “special rate” to refinance, take your money and disappear. Don’t fall for it.
There are more, of course. Please click on Sarah’s linked diary and check them out, there is good advice on how not to be victimized and who to report suspected scams to in your state and locality.Filed under Debt, Government Bailouts, Housing, Pirates, Taxes | Comment (1)
November 3rd, 2008
We’ve seen a lot of desperation as the world (and US) economy tanks in the wake of the mortgage-loss pyramid scheme crash. We’ve heard a lot of hyperbole and rhetoric from the candidates who want to replace Bush-Cheney as President and Vice-President of the United States. This is The Week That Was, votes will be counted tomorrow night, and we should know sometime in the wee hours of Wednesday which of the contestants gets the erstwhile “prize.”
As Wall Street began its precipitous fall, Republican candidate John McCain was busy informing the nation that the ‘fundamentals’ of our economy are strong. No, they aren’t strong, they’re utter failures after years of massive tax cuts to the wealthy, heavy borrowing to support two wars, and the “Unfettered Free Market” [TM] frenzy allowed by blanket de-regulation of the banking and investment sectors.
To get an idea of just how outrageous things had gotten, consider the so-called “Mortgage Meltdown” that took so many once-staid capitalist houses into ruin. We all know that housing prices had ballooned in most urban areas of the country, a ‘bubble’ sustained by the practice of lending to workers whose incomes haven’t seen even a minimal rise in more than 30 years, for houses that cost easily twice as much as they could hope to afford and three times what they were actually worth. Many of these loans were made with specific criminal intent to skim fees off the top, and saddled with adjustable interest rates that worked just like time bombs to force people into bankruptcy.Bankruptcy, Economic Depression, Economic Recession, Education, Elitism, Government Bailouts, Housing, Income Inequality, Politics, Taxes | Comment (0)