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.
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.”