State of the Union–Conspiracy? or Change We Can Believe in?

The day before President Barak Obama’s State of the Union address, I received a letter from credit card company stating that the terms of my card is about to change.

The first change they highlighted was that the banks are now, by regulation, required to use the money customers pay towards their account to pay off the highest interest loans before they pay off lower interest loans.

So, previously, if you used one of those checks to get $6,000 on 6 months of 0% interest. Then you accidentally use the credit card and buy say $1,000 of stuff(this charge to the card would almost have some high interest rate like 19%).

In the next month, when you write a check for $500, what used to happen is that the 0% interest loan of $6,000 decreases to $5,500 and the high interest rate loan stays at $1,000 and accrues interest. There is no way to pay that off until you’ve paid off the remaining low interest loan balance of $5,500

The new policy requires the bank to credit the $500 you pay towards the higher interest rate loan before it goes to pay the lower interest loan.

“…. due to regulation changes…”

it says.

now, this is a great change!! I mean, I’ve been personally frustrated by this bank practice and got charged several times in previous decade, here’s a log entry I wrote about this.. And I am sure many many American experienced this practice. So, I hope Obama wins a whole lot of positive political karma!!! Because this really got me!

(and of course, as some co-workers advised me, this was also passed by the remaining legislative groups in the federal government…, so kudos to them as well)

But, having said that,…, some hours after the euphoria from the State of the Union, where Obama re-establishes the American spirit through his speech….

I think to myself…

wait, what?

The bank sent me a piece of mail, highlighting something that Obama(aka punisher of bad bank practices), did, for the public, for the poor, for the consumer,…, why would they do that for somebody who, to all appearances, have only given banks grief over every single thing they did ??


There’s gotta be a hidden agenda here.

I mean, when did anybody ever do anything good for another person…, and substitute “anybody” with “banks”…, and suddenly, a different picture merges.

Sigh…, I want to congratulate Obama for beating the banks to the ground, but I am fearful that the establishment has beaten the public…, and President Obama, may or may not be a unwitting/unwilling participant in yet another _____ scheme of one kind or another. (fill in the blank)

All fingers crossed, but still a thousand applause to President Obama for his seriously hard work…

Who caused that crash?

Sometimes, one thinks that countries competes for influence–and some times, even if the influence is negative.

Recently, (early 2009) there had been many days of stock market declines, and usually, the news headline notes “China tightens control on lending, market drops”(for instance, wsj article here)… or something to that effect. (mixed in with repeated reports of more and more bad products from the PRC, dry wall, toys, food, pet food…)

Not to be pushed out of the limelight, Japan’s Toyota today announced that it extends it’s gas-paddle recall to include asking the dealership to not sell several models.(Sydney Morning Herald, wsj article)

Since these quality problems has been reported many times in previous years, and since no action were taken then, one can only surmise that the recent decisions to not only recall sold cars, but also to recall unsold cars (as opposed to paying for pre-market patches), seems like a reactive motion to join the “ruinner of economy and consumer confidence” club.

oh…, and stock market crasher.

who’s better Pang or Madoff?

There seem to have been two Ponzi schemes in the news recently. Recently, the perpetrator of one of them, Danny Pang, committed suicide. The other one, Bernard Madoff, is in jail.

Most modern people, those I work with, those I’m friends with, my parents even, probably will say a person like Madoff is better. He made more money with the a scam and lives. For many, we may even suspect that he is just a red herring for something else, and actually a saviour of sane world as we know.

Where as Danny Pang, having killed himself, made certain that he is not a red herring and just lost the battle to stay filthy rich in a world that allows it.

Assuming, superficially, that their offences were equally evil, but differ only in the quantity of money and the number of victims in question. (according to wiki, $65b vs. $4b)

As a person who is involved in absolutely zero devious schemes, I would like to say that I prefer a business man who have a conscience and is so shamed, that he kills himself. I would prefer a person who feel compelled by conscience than a person who is not compelled by conscience. Not because I like to see people die when they make mistake, but that the fact of morality is… extra safety measure.

BUT, having said that, everybody says to me that thick skin like Madoff is better for me. EVERYONE!!

so………, I am left wondering… in principle, in mouth, we will ultimately agree we want moral persons,…, err, I guess the expression is… professional ethics… an ethical professional is what we want, not an unethical professional. But in practice, we are encouraged to tolerate professionally unethical behavior (both in ourselves and in others we’re teamed with)

so… in practice, ethics is just something to make others do and not to do ourselves?

because I have to, absolutely must admit, I like the fact (if all is as seems, that he did intentionally do bad things to old people who put their savings into an account with him) that he felt the shame and ultimately relieved himself of the shame…. (without going into western religious things about how he is actually not cleared of any sins by suicide but added to it…) that ethics was a force in his system of workings…

Where as in Madoff’s system, he is happily in jail…. or unhappily, but still wills to live.

Yeah… now that I type it out, I do prefer Madoff, in that he lives…

I feel so guilty for feeling this way.

(Being as it would appear not involved in any unethical money making scams)