Shouldn’t We Burn Credit Cards in Protest?

In the sixties and seventies, some angry young men protested the Vietnam War by burning their draft cards.

Also in the sixties and seventies, some angry women protested their unliberated status by burning their bras. 

In the eighties and nineties, outraged parents and culture warriors protested raunchy and violent music lyrics by burning CD’s.

Fast forward to 2008.  Millions of Americans are viscerally angry about the credit meltdown and what it has done to our economy.  So Mr. ToughMoneyLove wants to know:  Where are the protests?  More specifically, why isn’t anyone burning credit cards?  Wouldn’t bonfires of plastic credit cards be inspiring as a form of protest?  I think so.  Let’s give the consumer credit industry it’s own meltdown.

“Now wait a minute …”  –  some of you are already protesting my suggestion.  You believe that this crisis has everything to do with securitized “toxic” mortgage debt and nothing to do with credit cards.  You are wrong.  The “toxic” assets that everyone is pointing to are simply the most obvious manifestations of a broader underlying problem.  That problem is the pervasive belief by too many consumers that what they lack in cash can and should be made up for with credit.  Houses, condos, cars, televisions, vacations, you name it, we bought it on credit with little regard for our ability to afford it.  The consumer credit industry and the credit score industry have conspired to convince us that this is the way it should be.  Our government has encouraged us to spend by purchasing (through Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae) billions of dollars of funny money mortgages.  Many have succumbed to this materialistic appeal.   Their standard of living bubble has burst.  And now we are all going to be paying for it.

Even though we are not without responsibility, have you also learned that we have been duped, misled, preyed upon, and sucker punched?  Are the warning bells now loud enough?  Can you agree that all of us – whether you are debt-free or drowning in debt – need to show our indignation at this economic state of affairs?  So show that indignation through protest.  What could be more symbolic than taking out those credit cards and openly burning them?  In fact, video the mass burnings and upload the video to YouTube and elsewhere. 

Our government leaders need to see these protests.  Why?  Because the lobbyists from Visa, MasterCard, Fair Isaac, TransUnion, Equifax, etc., are carefully monitoring our legislators.  They will twist arms and throw money in opposition to any hint of legislation that makes it more difficult for consumers to obtain and use credit.

Don’t think the consumer credit industry members have the power and influence?  Are you kidding?  They have created a credit score obsession.  They control the so-called credit counseling business.  They manipulate the bankruptcy laws.  If you think hard about it and then study the outcomes we are now experiencing, the consumer credit industry has been running our economic lives, with our full cooperation.

A “burn the credit cards” protest has an extra benefit:  You can’t use those credit cards anymore.  Yes, that’s radical but it’s just the kind of change that is needed now.  The entire consumer credit industry needs to be brought to its knees so that it understands that we are now in control.

So, in words made famous in protests past, “burn, baby, burn.”

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11 Responses to “Shouldn’t We Burn Credit Cards in Protest?”
  1. Isn’t burning plastic bad for the environment? :)

    Seriously, great idea – I don’t know why more people aren’t doing this.

  2. This isn’t the 70s, you can just post it on Youtube. So, if you think this is really a great idea, you go first.

  3. ABC – thanks for visiting. Maybe with a little cheerleading from all of us we can start a burning trend!

  4. dogatemyfinances: I only have one credit card left – and I use it for airline miles only – no balances or fees ever. But I am thinking about it anyway.

  5. doctor S says:

    Well I am down for this idea. Just paying it all off now. I have been saying that for 3 months. BUT I REALLY MEAN IT THIS TIME! Great idea. Lets get it going!

  6. goldenrail says:

    You forgot burning disco records, too. I’d be right with you on the plastic burning, except I only have one card and it’s for emergencies/living in Africa with no access to more cash.
    Maybe we could burn our old supermarket cards or club memberships or something. From far away, it might look the same.

  7. NtJS says:

    OHHhhhh! If we had any, we would soooooo burn them with you!

  8. octel says:

    No, burning plastic is bad! Let’s stay green and recycle those credit cards into bracelets, earrings, and of course guitar picks!

  9. Octel: Your idea sounds like it needs to be a business!

  10. Girlflower says:

    I totally agree! We the public have been totally brainwashed into believing we cannot do anything about Credit Scores and Credit Card’s outrageous interst charges.. I personally advocate a national stop paying on them!!! Let the rating go haywire… and quit using the cards! As for burning them.. how about a national cut them to shreads day!!! Time we all woke up to the true fact that the Banks of the World now own this country….and we are the surfs working 6 out of every 8 hours for them!!! Back tot he old… Just Say No!!! That will make them start listening to us and… using the “bail out” funds for the public good instead of paying themselves as they are truely doing!!

  11. dwhite2762 says:

    I was searching for a website or facebook page that advocated doing exactly this. Only, I was thinking that we need a special day just for doing this. I am planning a party where myself, family and friends will throw our credit cards into the fire. My son-in-law will film it and post it to YouTube. I will also forward a copy to Chase and Citibank. I opted out of the credit cards after the latest interest rate increase and credit limit reduction even after ranting at them about my excellent payment record. They didn’t care. So I am free from the fear of a low FICO score. The amount that I owe is pretty high due to medical and dental costs (it was a bad year). Now, I am telling my dentist that I no longer have credit cards. If I can’t work out something with him, I may have to change dentist. I am also working on building a large savings account with a local credit union. After giving up credit cards, I have traveled for a family reunion, taken a small vacation and I plan on having a nice Christmas without going into any more debt.

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