Saturday, February 2, 2008

Consumers Cut Off

When our economy began to tank we saw a downturn in the economies of several other countries who rely on our consumerist behavior to support them. Consequently, we want to rush through a stimulus package that borrows money from China, maybe, to buy Chinese goods. That's great for us, because we've come to expect a certain lifestyle that is slightly beyond our means. What would happen if at the national, state, local, and individual level our credit was cut off because we had a "higher than acceptable risk profile" and we were forced to reevaluate our values versus spending habits?

A banking company in the UK has cut off the 7% of their credit cards with just that sort of spending to payment history. The story reads as though the bank is Big Brother saving consumers from themselves. My feeling is that with the economy trending down these folks will have difficulty making payments and the bank will have to eat it when those people finally go belly-up from their "support of the economy". This bank is saving it's ass and maybe the by-product is that 160,000 Brits will have to apply for a card elsewhere or hopefully make better choices.

Would American banks do this to Americans who have been ordered by the president to spend money to the extent that it's ingrained in our psyche and part of our identity? The mall is a shared American Experience! Even more interestingly, would the U.S. get cut off and therefore have to make more difficult decisions about what we do with taxpayer dollars? Perhaps we have forever status with our creditors. But what if our balance were due and we had to say no to ourselves? My mother-in-law sent me this YouTube video that asks a similar question. Where are American vales? Do we support the mission in Iraq? Do we reinvest in our corporate structure? Do we refocus our funds on children?

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