I’m back from my conference. I did two presentations – both went very well. I met some good contacts and was introduced to students at my alma mater. I’ve never had so much to do outside the conference – restaurants by the hundreds, good music everywhere. I can’t wait to go back with just friends. I tried switching which card the room was charged too and they didn’t remove it from the initial card presented. I have to give the hotel a call and take care of that.
When I got there, I discovered my laptop wasn’t working. It’s a dinosaur, but up until then had worked just fine. It acted as though a key was being held down – system beeps during start-up, start menu not staying open. Pretty frustrating since one of my presentations wasn’t finished at arrival. I finally fixed it – but I’m not quite sure how. The hotel wanted to charge $15 per day of internet wifi access. Yeah right. With the laptop acting up, I didn’t want to take it to the convention center.
All that to say I didn’t do any blogging while away. I also didn’t have access to email – yikes! So I’m catching up on this. I kept track of national news, but nothing local. So here’s the first thing I found:
Rep. Udall (CO) has introduced a bill that might do some good things for consumers using credit cards. He’d like to include H.R. 1461 to the economic stimulus bill (as of the 21st of Jan.). The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2007 would, among other things, require advance notice of increases in card interest rates, impose a freeze of interest rate terms and fees on canceled cards, prohibit penalties for on-time payments (thank you!!!), prohibit fees for non-use of cards, and prohibit over-the-limit fees for creditor-approved transactions.
While these steps don’t go far enough, in my opinion, they sound like good steps. I’ve written about this before: the frame that needs to be applied to this situation is one of taxes being applied to consumers that are not directly approved by legislation. It could be argued that by inaction, Congress approves of banks taking advantage of us, but that’s not how things work at the end of the day.
I think interest rates should be capped at a more realistic level. I also think that since banks couldn’t do a good enough job discriminating people who posed too high a risk to the products they were seeking, Congress should intervene there too. It’s not a stretch to argue that its in the interest of the entire economy, and by extension the world economy, that banks shouldn’t be allowed to run around without oversight. It’s clear to me there hasn’t been enough oversight of banks for some time. It’s time for Congress to exercise their duly appointed powers.