Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Today on Nightly Business Report

Today I'm taping a commentary for Nightly Business Report, which airs nationally on PBS (click here to find out your local airtime).

I'll let you know when it's scheduled to run, but until then, you can read what I have to say below:

I've got a deal for you: I'll buy you whatever you want, no questions asked. Just pay me back over time, plus a little extra for my trouble.

Make that a lot extra. American consumers are saving a decent percentage of our incomes for the first time in decades but those savings could be overtaken by payments on our consumer debt given the arbitrary interest rate hikes being imposed by our friends, the credit card industry. I say "friends" because taxpayers have given credit card issuers billions in bailout money and I tend not to give money to people I don't like. You'd think they would be decent enough to let us off the hook for some of what we owe them.

Instead, they're slapping around people like the guy who emailed my blog complaining that he hadn't missed a payment in four years but still wound up with a 14 percentage point rate hike on his Visa card.

Not that consumers are innocent; I just finished paying off a $9,000 credit card bill from stuff I bought too long ago to remember. Still card issuers need to consider whether slamming already strapped consumers is really good for business. The economy wont fully recover until consumers are confident enough to spend, which fuels the credit card business. I don't know about you, but having a card in my pocket and an anvil over my head doesn't make me feel all that confident.

I'm Keith Reed.

1 comment:

Tammy said...

Everybody is trying to recoup a loss, even our friends the credit card companies. But they will soon learn their lesson. As people foreclose and file for bankruptcy, they will lean towards negotiating balances/payment plans as opposed to hiking up rates. It's much better to get a fraction than none at all right?

Don't get me started on that darned bail out...