Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Selective Economic Darwinism (c)

Hello to Everyone who is listening to me. In the last day or so, The United States Government became the proud owner of General Motors Corporation. Well What's a few billion more paper dollars for a company that should have followed the many other businesses mostly small businesses that have failed, are on the brink of shutting their doors or are on life support without any "hand-outs" coming from the Obama administration.

Let me state that I supported Barack Obama for President, but it doesn't mean that I agree with the GM move. Last year it was apparent that GM and Chrysler were not going to make it. The UAW claims they have given back all they can give. Well the way I see it, Once all of their employees are out of work due to Americans not wanting to buy cars that are unreliable and where the quality has faltered not improved over the last few years. I.E. I own a Saturn ION II, It is my second ION II. My first ION II with 106,000 miles blew an engine, so I purchased another ION II, I paid more for the new vehicle that came with less features and is poor quality.

I will never purchase an "AMERICAN" GM,CHRYSLER,FORD brand vehicles again." The Government should have allowed GM and Chrysler to cease operations or file months ago Bankruptcy.

It seems to me the Obama plan is to be "SELECTIVE" in who fails and who succeeds, that is what I call "Selective Economic Darwinism" Selecting certain companies to succeed and allowing others to fail is a pure disruption in the ebb and flow of free enterprise, this disruption only causes more negative ripples down the line.

The suppliers who have to live with uncertainty of being paid, ordering raw materials, juggling who is laid off and who stays causes the ripple effect touch many industries and in my opinion disrupts the economy's efforts to bounce back faster, instead selective government interference hinders an economic return to near normalcy for 2009 and into 2010/2011.

In my opinion the demise of GM and Chrysler is going to happen and no government mandates and no government money is going to save either company, allow both companies to sink into the abyss, allow management to pull together the units that do show promise and through innovation and ingenuity allow both companies to rise out out of the abyss and Automotive technology companies with vehicles that are eco-smart and friendly and so innovative yet affordable for guys like me (JOE EMPTY WALLET) that we can afford to purchase a full or hybrid-electric vehicle.

Many including myself are feeling the pain of eating two cans of tuna fish and an increase in pasta consumption since the economy has turned, many are no longer eating the filet mignon, and sipping on expensive vodkas. I say open up the grill, throw on some cheap burgers,dogs and some ice cold beer and work through it.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Today's News
Date Posted: 03/30/2009

Senator Sanders

Credit Cards Vermont’s independent Sen. Bernie Sanders is the main sponsor of the bill to limit credit card interest rates to 15 percent. Times are tough, says Sanders, and some consumers cannot get out from under their credit card debt. “While people are really finding themselves in economically desperate circumstances, one of the reasons is they’re paying 25 percent, 30 percent interest rates on their credit cards.” The bill, introduced earlier this month, has attracted five cosponsors. While some states limit borrowing rates, there’s never been any such national law, CNN Radio reported. AUDIO

Senator Bernie Sanders has picked up and listened to my cause and thanks to all your TWITTER Followers of my blog and my TWITTS. Spread the word.


McCLEAN, VA 22102-3401

Tell him Joe Sent You. and tell him to recycle the plastic into something good.
tell him and any other credit card company that its 10%, or you will use cash or PAYPAL.
visit my blog at: jotronics.wordpress.com titled: JOE EMPTY WALLET


Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Good Morning to everyone.Please read the article below. In my personal opinion Cut the Cards!

Big Credit Card Changes in 2009

posted: 15 HOURS 34 MINUTES AGO
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Have you noticed anything different about your credit card account lately? Read the fine print. Really read it. Chances are your interest rate has crept or skyrocketed upward, a monthly fee has been tacked on or rewards point redemption rates diluted.
Chances are the new terms aren't good news for your wallet. Credit card users across the country -- including those who pay their bills on time and are good customers -- are being hit with a spate of changes in credit card account terms. Many of the changes have already taken effect; others kick in April 1 and still others, such as the return of routine annual fees, may be on the horizon.
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Credit card users across the country -- including those who pay their bills on time and are good customers -- are being hit with a spate of changes in credit card account terms. Many of the changes have already taken effect; others kick in April 1 and still others, such as the return of routine annual fees, may be on the horizon. Changes have come quickly in interest rates, fees, minimum payments, credit limits and rewards -- and none of them favor consumers.
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Changes have come quickly in interest rates, fees, minimum payments, credit limits and rewards -- and none of them favor consumers.
Interest rates
Although banks are scooping up billions in bailout money, or borrowing money from the Federal Reserve at as low as 0 percent, they aren't passing those savings on to consumers. Credit card interest rates have generally increased for all major card issuers and even doubling or tripling for consumers who pay their bills on time.
Credit cards interest rates are typically pegged to the prime rate, which has fallen from 5.25 percent a year ago to 3.25 percent now. But the national average rate for credit cards has actually risen over that period from 11.3 percent to 12.1 percent, according to the CreditCards.com weekly rate survey of large card issuers.
Card companies have become fee-addicted. According to industry consultant R.K. Hammer, card issuers raked in $19 billion in penalty fee income in 2008, up 5 percent from 2007. This year, penalty fee income is expected to rise to a record $20.5 billion.
Fees come in many forms:
  • In January, Chase began charging $10 a month to 400,000 customers who have large balances but little account activity.
  • Balance transfer fees used to be capped, so that no matter how much you transferred, you paid no more than $50 or $75. The caps have been dropped. The standard balance transfer fee has risen to 3 percent, and Bank of America increased that fee to 4 percent on certain offers.
  • Cash advance fees had been 3 percent, but Bank of America now has 5 percent cash advance fees for advances obtained through ATMs and at banks and 4 percent on direct deposit and check cash advances.
  • Analysts also predict issuers will reinstate annual fees as standard features on accounts.
    Minimum payments
    Chase increased the minimum payment from 2 percent to 5 percent for cardholders with large balances.
    Credit limits
    Many card issuers are slashing credit limits. Industry analyst Meredith Whitney predicts banks will cut credit card lines by a cumulative $2 trillion this year and $2.7 trillion by the end of 2010.
    American Express has taken the most heat over slashing credit limits. Nearly half of its portfolio underwent a major overhaul that included cutting limits by a half or more. Other issuers have cut limits too, sometimes to amounts lower than the balances owed -- triggering over-the-limit fees on a few accounts.
    Lowering credit limits also can cause immediate damage to the credit scores of consumers who carry a balance.
    Many rewards programs have become less rewarding. Citi's Thank You Rewards program thanked its customers by adding a $39 fee for all tickets redeemed through its CitiMiles program. AmEx's Delta Sky Miles "Always Double Miles" program on everyday purchases became "never double miles." The Hess Visa card's 10 percent introductory rebate for the first 90 days will be scaled back to only 60 days and the 5 percent gas rebate will be slashed to 3 percent effective April 1.
    Here's $300. Go away
    In a bold move, American Express is offering a $300 gift card to certain cardholders who agree to pay their balances in full by April 30 and close their accounts. Other issuers -- including Discover, Bank of America and Capital One -- have closed millions of inactive accounts over the past several months.
    Behind the changes
    Why so many changes? Why now, especially after the federal government has pumped billions into struggling banks to help bolster lending? Banking and credit industry observers say a tsunami of financial, regulatory and economic forces are driving issuers to drive up the cost of borrowing on credit cards. The recession, financial market turmoil, frozen credit card securities market, job losses and growing credit card payment defaults are fueling some of the changes.
    Card issuers are also gearing up for 2010, when sweeping new changes in federal credit card regulations take effect and significantly limit how and when interest rates can be changed (called re-pricing). Congressional attempts to curb card industry practices are also looming -- with the pledge to enact consumer card protections even sooner than 2010.
    "What you're seeing now is issuers basically doing some re-pricing of their accounts. They are basically readying themselves for the new world of post July 1, 2010. Certain issuers have actually announced significant re-pricing of their portfolios. That's something you're going to see over the next year," says Curt Beaudouin, vice president and senior analyst at Moody's Investors Service.
    The New York credit rating agency used stress analysis to evaluate the strength of the Big Six credit card issuers -- Bank of America, Chase, Citi, American Express, Capital One and Discover -- and found a number of them will struggle to maintain profitability this year. The six issuers have 80 percent of the nation's nearly 1 trillion in outstanding credit card balances.
    "I think the industry is obviously going through difficult times," Beaudouin says. "They are dealing with multiple headwinds simultaneously. 2009 is going to be a year to forget for the industry."
    Pre-emptive strikes against consumers
    Peter Garuccio, spokesman for the American Bankers Association trade group, acknowledges that credit card issuers are making pre-emptive strikes against that "new world" of regulation that's on the horizon. "Some of the changes that you're seeing in the credit card market are the results of changes to Fed rules."
    "What banks are doing is taking prudent steps to insure safety and soundness to minimize their risk," Garuccio says. "They'll continue to take steps to minimize their risk."
    "We are in a recession and the important thing to recognize is that the risks associated with all types of lending necessarily go up during an economic downturn," Garuccio says. "Those risks are amplified when it comes to credit cards because credit cards are the riskiest form of lending. There is no security backing up a credit card loan unlike a house or a car loan. The only security that a lender has is a borrower's promise to pay."
    'A complex dance'
    There's a real danger in what card issuers are doing. Fewer than one in 10 card users default on their payments or pay late, yet issuers in many cases are increasing rates on some of those nine good payers. While trying to shore up their balance sheets and profits in the short-term, they may be severing ties with good customers they need for long-term growth.
    "There is outrage over these punitive terms being applied. Many consumers are saying 'I'm going to show you. I'm going to close this account,'" says Gail Cunningham, vice president of public relations for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), a national credit counseling accrediting agency.
    Beaudouin, the Moody's analyst, says issuers are facing "a complex dance. It's a tricky thing."
    "Those customers who can go elsewhere do," he says. "What you're left with are people who are not such good customers because nobody else wants them. Issuers are going through that now. They're trying to walk that line between revenue enhancement and not harming the franchise."
    Payment industry consultant Bruce Cundiff says card issuers juggle many variables in deciding which cardholders to cut and which to keep. "They are trying to maintain the profitability of their portfolios. For different issuers that takes a different tack. They are asking 'What are the screws that I can loosen or tighten to maintain that profitability?' "
    The trick is determining what factors -- job loss, credit utilization rates, spending patterns -- will make a good customer become a bad risk. "Where does the good turn bad and what are the catalysts to making a good cardholder turn into a bad cardholder? Where you set that bar is going to differ from issuer to issuer," says Cundiff, director of payments research and consulting for Javelin Strategy and Research, a Pleasanton, Calif., - based financial services consulting company.
    Issuers are focusing on "keeping those good cardholders in your fold and making sure not only that those good cardholders are less risky but are also profitable cardholders," says Cundiff. He calls AmEx's $300 gift card offer to close customer accounts "shrewd" and predicts other issuers will follow suit.
    He describes the bank's thinking process toward consumers this way: "It's worth more for us to pay them the $300 than to worry about whether they are a default risk."
    Consumer advice
    Consumer advocates warn credit card users to read and review all correspondence from their credit card issuers. It may not be easy reading, but it can have a big impact on family finances.
    "They need to examine that statement to see if the credit line has been lowered, if the APR has been lowered and if their minimum monthly payments have been increased. That can be back-breaking," says Cunningham from the NFCC."If you're already living on the edge and you're scrambling to make the minimum payments, having it go from $200 to $500 is just a deal breaker."
    As for those people who are closing accounts in protest of the changes, Cunnningham cautions against acting in haste. "They may win the battle but they will lose the war." Closing credit card accounts can lower consumers' credit scores, especially for older accounts demonstrating lengthy credit histories.
    "Don't get mad at them and close the account," Cunningham says. "Leave it open. Only consider closing if they raise the APR or minimum payment beyond what you can afford to pay."
    Actions consumers should take include:
  • Keep using your cards, moderately: Charge something small and pay it off at the end of the month. "Issuers are closing the cards that you're not using," says the NFCC's Cunningham. "The reason creditors are closing unused accounts is you're a risk to them. They are making zero money off of you. You represent nothing but risk to them."
  • Redouble efforts to make every payment on time.
  • Pay down debts to build a good credit score.
  • And then comparison shop -- good deals still do exist for those with good credit.
  • A new era of card use
    The credit card changes also may signal what's ahead in personal lending. The days of easy credit with unsecured credit card debt are over, credit experts say. Recent jacked up terms are just shock therapy to wean Americans off of over borrowing.
    Cundiff, the Javelin research consultant, says there's already evidence of a shift away from credit card spending to other forms of "pay now" payments, including checks and debit cards.
    "You're already seeing the consumer begin to de-leverage, which is a good thing," says Moody's Beaudouin. "Maybe the industry will start moving back to the old way, which is to use your credit card sparingly as opposed to charging everything and running up balances."

    Tuesday, March 24, 2009


    Ok! How many out there can afford a $100,000+ sports car "all electric?" Well the company sold 1,000 cars with a backlog of over 700 vehicles. The US Department of Energy may loan Tesla motors $450-million dollars to build a factory for a $57,000+ vehicle. In my opinion, I believe an all electric vehicle should be priced for the "Joe bag "o" donuts crowd" me included, an all electric vehicle for under $20,000 retail.

    In my opinion the Department of Energy should invest in All Electric Vehicle companies (AEV's), who promise by 2011-2012 to deliver a 21st century people's car, like Germany's Volkswagen created the famous Beetle. I believe the D of E, should loan money to the firms who will bring an American made 100% homegrown vehicle to the people.

    Tesla motors market is targeted to the Rich, Famous and Elite, notice how they are seeking government loans for the upscale marketplace.

    I suggest readers of my blog check out a pioneer in electric vehicles called ZAP.
    www.Zapworld.com They have created electric vehicles in the "peoples price range."

    I would like to purchase one, but the economy has hit my micro-small business too, and I cannot afford a new vehicle right now, unless President Obama, wants to borrow money from the TARP and buy me one for $12,000 to $15,000.00 What da you say, President "O?"

    That's all for now folks, have a great day and remember. Keep your chins up, don't use Capital One credit cards or any credit cards, put them in a safe place for emergencies only.

    Be Wise, Do as I do USE CASH ONLY or PAYPAL. Only purchase what you need.
    Check out my website: www.lumberkings.biz for super prices on custom apparel for your business, your organization, etc. We only accept PAYPAL, Personal and business checks, and if you are local, CASH is fine too.

    Go Phillies!
    The Phils should talk to Pedro Martinez (5th starter). One-year contract

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    Philadelphia Mayor Mike O'Nutter Drops Bomb on tax-payers

    Hizzoner Mayor Michael Nutter wants a temporary 33% hike in thePhiladelphia property taxes so he can keep all of the Patronage employees, employed! HE is using the excuse that if he didn't raise the taxes "temporarily" he would have to lay off 500+ police and a few inthe fire department.

    Now it doesn't take a Rocket Scientist to look at each department and say "Why don't we begin reducing the hours of all non-essential municipal staff to 24 hours a week, and lay-off all non-municipal employees(Democrat & Republican Committee-People) from their jobs or cut them back to a two day work week, but have proof they actually do work.

    City Council seems laid-back and quiet about all of this and you know why. They all want to be reelected again and again and again.

    For those who vote in Philadelphia, this should be a "wake up call." for a new mayor and an all new face of city council. It's too bad Philadelphia is a one-party political machine. Real Republicans are powerless and are really only a handful of dedicated individuals, you can count them on your hands and feet. Republican party leadership is tied into the Democrat Bosses, in order to secure court patronage jobs and patronage jobs at the election bureau, so the Republicans run sham candidates year after year.

    It's called survival of the few for Municipal contracts for those who have all the greenbacks.

    The Republicans are extinct according to many citizens and many voters stay home because they know a vote for a Republican candidate is a wasted vote.

    Will Sam Katz come back for another try? I doubt it. For a Republican to run for any position in Philadelphia, its all pain, and no gain. The only way to break through is to be a Democrat and run in the primary, have at the least 10-million dollars of your own money and you are still not guaranteed a victory, even if you are a Union Leader in a Union Town, you cannot snatch victory from the jaws of Boss Big Gentle Bear "BOB BRADY."

    As the city continues its slide down the hill to Camdenization (Camden,NJ), We can only blame the elected members of City Council, some of the NO to Everything Neighborhood groups who have delayed the casinos and of course Mr.Mayor "NO" himself, Nutter for lost jobs and lost revenue the casinos would have brought to the city of "famous Crook Vincent Fumo."

    As the city rolls onto deeper debt, and the taxpayer gets stabbed in the back again. I say to the taxpayer and voter, Get the lead out of those who don't vote, find a candidate and a slate of City Council candidates and run an opposition slate, but start now, not later.

    Go Phillies!

    Friday, March 6, 2009


    Hello Again:

    How are things going. Do you best not to use your credit cards. (1) You save money, (2) You deny the banks dollars on high(loan-shark) interest rates (3) Cash is Golden. I stopped using my credit cards, I am using PAYPAL for online orders. Don't rent money anymore.

    By not using your credit cards, the Bank Issuers will have to eventually give in and lower the interest rates and offer deals. I cut up my Capital One Card, sent it to the "recycle bin!"


    Has anyone heard the latest. The Depression is back courtesy of G.W.Bush and "DICK" Cheney.
    Yes, Sir-Ree Bob, Circuit City closes all stores on March 8,2009. My business at: www.lumberkings.biz hasn't received any significant orders since July 7,2009.

    How about all my readers, What is going on in your neighborhood?