To Sojourner re; Interest rates, etc. : LUSENET : A Village Commons : One Thread

In a response to an earlier post you stated that consumer debt was at it's current high level due to the easy availability of credit cards. I disagree. High consumer debt is the fault of the borrower, not the lender. Let's take a little personal responsibility here.

I have a truck that will easily travel in excess of 100 mph but I'm smart enough not to drive it that way. I don't need a governor on it; I act as my own governor. People should be able to do the same with credit. I have credit cards in my pocket with substantial limits on them I've never used. Just because I CAN borrow thousands of dollars doesn't mean I should and I know this. If I do borrow then it's my obligation to pay it back according to the terms to which I agreed.

You describe their rates as "absolutely usurous." On that I have two comments. First, their rates are not usurous by the definition employed for usury here. Second, if anyone feels the rates are too high I have a simple solution; DO NOT take the money!

Ironically, the question to which you posted these comments was essentially a "What's wrong with thing here?" I have an answer for that you may not like. No one wants to take any responsibility for anything they do any more. The idea of borrowing money then blaming the person who lent it for your difficulty in repaying it is ludicrous.

You stated "so many people have gone bankrupt due to easily available credit cards" that lenders have lobbied for stiffer requirements for bankruptcy. I have two comments here. First, easily available credit doesn't cause bankruptcy. Mismanagement does. Second, as to the tightening of requirements for bankruptcy I say it is long overdue. I'd bet you'll see a drop in bankruptcies once people realize it's not going to be the free pass it has been. I don't see what's wrong in bankruptcy with someone being required to repay at least some small (pennies on the dollar) portion of what they owe.

Well, that's my opinion. I welcome debate (properly done) and other opinions as well. Thank you for the opportunity to voice my views.

-- Gary in Indiana (, July 23, 2001


Gary, I think you said it really well, I may add, That I myself have only one credit card, and I pay off at the end of month. I came out of the depression, and it was just part of my learning not to buy unless you can pay for it. Just save the money till you can buy whatever.Then I had children, and we wanted more for them, and they learned instant gratification. They have charged themselves into a mess, If they lost there jobs, they would be in deep trouble. If the economy keeps going south, I think a lot of baby boomers will have a rude awakeing. Irene

-- Irene texas (, July 23, 2001.

Gary, Irene, I agree with you for the most part. People should learn how to manage their money. On the other hand, the credit card companies are only too willing and anxious to exploit people's ignorance or stupidity. Also their deperation.

Thirty odd years ago, I applied for credit cards, being young, dumb and buying into the meme of the day: everyone kept telling me how "important" it was to maintain your credit rating.

No credit card company, nor gas company, department store, etc, would give me a card, because I didn't already have a credit rating. Duh.

Now, the credit card companies seem to prefer people who are likely to fail in their repayments. Hell, my late caretaker, who stiffed all of his credit card companies to pay for chemotherapy, and various other medical costs while he was dying, still keeps getting preapproved credit cards in the mail, even though he stiffed everyone once, and has been dead for almost six years. These cards arrive in my mailbox every month or two. Amazing.

When my son was in college, he was given credit cards, un asked for, and like a dummy, he proceeded to start using the cards, rather than working enough to pay his college expenses. He should have known better, but he was just a kid, and you know how kids can be. He's been kicking himself now for what, nine years?

My point is that the credit card companies are greedy pigs, and they are immoral to take advantage of people's weakness. They are like the sirens, luring sailors onto the rocks.

I've also known people who simply could pay their monthly bills, due to various circumstances, e.g. being a single mom, husband split, left her with kids, this sort of thing. So the person pays the bills with the credit card, trying desperately to postpone the inevitable. Some of the folks KNOW they are getting in over their heads, but since they can't pay their bills anyway, they hope for some deus ex machina to bail them out before the shit hits the fan.

Now, I tell people that probably the best thing they could have is a bad credit rating.

In the "old days" there were things like "Christmas present buying plans" where people would give a retail store a few bucks every month, and at christmas, they would have saved up enough money to buy their presents.

Now, we have to have everything NOW, even if that means we end up paying for it two or three times.

Anyhow, I guess I'm just saying there's a little more to it than first meets the eye. You can't hold the credit card companies blameless.


-- jumpoff joe (, July 23, 2001.

Gary, your statement is correct, as far as personal responsibility goes. But what has been encouraged in the past 20 or so years, is not responsibility, but the "victim" syndrome. "Poor me, I have this problem, and it isn't my fault; can't the government do something to help me?" Yes, and materialism has its' part to play, as well. I see the people living in the new houses, with the new cars, and all the toys. I just have to wonder how far in debt they are. I work in the delivery business. One of my fellow drivers made the comment recently about a seemingly affluent area around Indianapolis. He says he delivers on average, three foreclosure notices per week to this area. That really opened my eyes. As long as people are caught up in the world, the world will consume them. Right out of the Scriptures, it's still so true.

-- Judy C. Vaughan (, July 23, 2001.

Joe- The situation with your caretaker is understandable. That's the exception that proves the rule rather than the norm. As to kids in college with no job getting credit cards, I agree with you to a point. When my kids were faced with those offers (literally being offered candy to apply) they laughed. They each knew how money and interest works. I wish I could tell you they learned it in school, but that's another post. ;o)

As to your comment about credit card issuers luring people in and taking advantage of their weaknesses... I feel the same way about bakeries and ice cream stores. ;o)

Thank you for making those excellent points.

-- Gary in Indiana (, July 23, 2001.

Gary, you're right; it's just like sweets; try telling a little kid (or a big one, for that matter) that they shouldn't eat so much ice cream and see what happens. Will they curtail their consumption: I don't think so. Same with cigarettes. Tell a kid they will cause lung cancer, and they think "not in my case".

Well, my crazy son seems to have had the same attitude: deal with it later, I can't get hooked on credit. Riiiiiight!


-- jumpoff joe (, July 23, 2001.

Gary - all I'm going to say is that responsibility is a two edged sword. When a lender fails to make sensible loans (e.g. a loan with a high probability of being paid back), why should the laws be changed to protect them from their own poor judgement? The "poor me" syndrome extends to the corporate boardroom as well as the individual. "Poor me", sez the banker, "I gave this 18 year old kid who has never held a job $15,000 in unsecured credit, and now he can't pay it back, poor poor me!" LOL!

It works both ways. I really am big on personal responsibility, but that goes for the corporations as well as the individual.

I haven't held a steady job until very recently for about 3 years now (I just started my 3rd week of a new, regular, 40 hr per week job). Yet for the past year - basically since I got onto regular mail delivery route instead of having to use a PO box - I've been getting those pre-approved credit cards in the mail at the rate of 2 or 3 a week. Since when is it good business practice to give thousands of dollars in an unsecured loan to an unemployed person who lives in a 14' camper??? Its not.

Instead of going crying to the gubmint about how they can't get people to pay back their exorbitantly high credit card rates, they should be making loans responsibly to start with. THEN, if they still have these sorts of problems, they might cry for relief. Not before.

-- Sojourner (notime4@summer.spam), July 24, 2001.


First, let me thank you for responding. I really appreciate the exchange.

I agree that responsibility should go both ways. Most consumers pay their debts. Part of the cost of those debts has to go to cover loans which get written off because of bankruptcies. If some income can be garnered there that isn't currently, the costs to consumers will fall and borrowing will become more affordable (which is what you want).

It's not unlike theft in retail stores in that we (the good consumers) are paying for it because of additional markups necessary to cover that. I'm sure you're in favor of store limiting losses from goods walking out the front (or back) door. This is essentially the same thing. The money store is limiting their losses to save their good customers money.

As to "exhorbitantly high credit card rates," generally speaking, interest rates are tied to risk. Mortgage loans are very low as there are great efforts made to examine the security and because it's security that tends to increase in value. Modular/mobile home loans are higher because they typically don't rise in value and, while not readily, can be moved. Car loans higher yet (with used higher than new) and finally unsecured credit is the highest because it is by far the riskiest.

An example I like to use is this. Let's say I owe you $5,000. Would you rather I pay you the cash right now or pay you $300 a month over, say, the next two years? My credit report is just OK. You get no security. I live in another state. The cash now is what most people prefer. The $300 a month is over 36% APR but still doesn't seem like enough in the scenario I described.

Very few people opt for taking that deal because they know they stand the risk of losing all or part of their money. If you make it $500 and $30 a month from ten different borrowers, more people like that idea. Most, however, don't even though they know that most people do pay. That's what the banks rely upon. Banks do their best to make loans responsibility.

Unfortunately, they're no more likely to be perfect at predicting the future than you or I would be. They don't go out looking for bad business, regardless of the interest rates. There's no percentage in making a bad loan at any rate. The rate is irrelavent when the loan goes bad. They do, however, have to set rates at a level so as to allow for bad loans in their portfolio. It's not evil, it's common sense and good business.

Yes, responsibility should go both ways. Lenders are responsible to their stockholders to turn a profit. They try to do that. When they seek to limit people who are working from walking away from every dollar owed, they're being responsible to those shareholders. Lenders are also, as you said, responsible to their customers. By doing this same thing, they are helping the vast majority of their customers by doing so. Once again, it's common sense and good business. Not only that, but it's what you want. You want lower loan costs and corporate responsibility. This is one way to get them.

-- Gary in Indiana (, July 24, 2001.

Gary, you say, "As to "exhorbitantly high credit card rates," generally speaking, interest rates are tied to risk. "

I'd be interested to know what the profit, or return, is on these loans. Only then would I be able to agree or disagree with that statement.

If it's true that the credit card cos. are only making a fair return on their money, then wouldn't it make sense for them to stop loaning money to all these folks who are so unlikely to be able to pay it back? This would, according to this theory, tend to reduce their risks, and enable them to lower their interest rates.

Yet, I don't remember that the interest rates were any lower back in the seventies, when credit cards required a good credit history; in fact, my fading memory tells me that the interest rate was even higher in the not to distant past, and that the credit card companies had their rates reigned in by the feds. True?

For that matter, what's wrong with people saving their money for things they want to buy? Screw the credit card companies.

Even "mature" adults I know can't handle credit cards. My wife, along with a bunch of other women, once took a bunch of teenage girls to an out of town conference. They had to change hotels, unexpectedly, and nobody had the money to pay for the rooms. My wife volunteered to put it all on her credit card. The other women were incredulous, she told me, asking how she could do that? She didn't understand what they meant, and they had to explain that all THEIR credit cards were maxed out! My honey pays her credit card off every month, and uses it only because it's free, she gets travel miles, and paying at the end of the month gains us a tiny amount of interest earnings at the bank.

You also say, "Unfortunately, they're no more likely to be perfect at predicting the future than you or I would be. They don't go out looking for bad business, regardless of the interest rates. There's no percentage in making a bad loan at any rate. The rate is irrelavent when the loan goes bad" I disagree. I think they send out these cards KNOWING that many people will have trouble paying them back. Of course, if the borrowers pay even for a while, the credit card companies can get their original money back, and much more, while the borrower still owes more than when he started. So there IS a percentage in a bad loan, and the higher the rate, the higher the return.

Lastly, you say, " they are helping the vast majority of their customers by doing so" Once again, I disagree. Even those folks who are able to pay off their credit card bills are paying lots more money for the items they buy (unless they pay off their bills before any intterest is accrued). How is this helping them, really?

I guess a lot of this discussion depends on your point of view. My point of view is that it's generally dumb to borrow money if you can possibly avoid it.


-- jumpoff joe (, July 24, 2001.

I think that while the lenders bear some responsibility, the borrower must accept the bulk of the responsibility. Blaming the lenders is a bit like blaming the gun makers for accidental shootings. Both problems, accidental shootings and over charging, could be greatly reduced with proper education. Some folks are simply ignorant about the use/abuse of credit. I know that I never had any schooling regarding the use of credit, and, yes I did get in over my head and had one heck of a time digging out. (it was a very expensive lesson) However, I don't think that it would be fair to blame my parents or the school system for not teaching me. At some point a person must accept responsibility for their actions.

Now that I have learned how to use credit it is a good tool. I keep one credit card and use it to purchase things on line and to travel with. Of course, it must be paid off each month.

-- Doug in KY (, July 24, 2001.

I just wish there was a way to stop all the applications that come in the mail. Like Sojourner say, three or four times a week. I get them and wonder exactly how do I destroy them so no one can go through my recycling to retrieve them and use the applications. Generally I tear them in two and try and remember to take them to the barn with me so they can be thrown under the cows' feet and gotten rid of that way. But you have to be on your toes because they come so often. Jump off Joe, I think you're right about making money off the bad loans. Maybe they do lose on the really bad ones, but look at the haul they have on the people who are late, or are in trouble some of the time, but not quite enough to default. They must make a killing on those people, and they are bound to be a higher percentage of people than the ones who are actually bad. So they lose a few and get rich on the rest. I think turning off TVs would go a long ways towards curing people of getting into trouble buying. If people don't see what they don't have, they wouldn't have to have it.

Jennifer L.

-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (, July 24, 2001.


First, let me thank you for your response. I genuinely appreciate it.

As to interest rates generally being tied to risk, I believe the example of mortgage rates, mobile homes, new cars, used cars and unsecured shows that quite well.

So far as bank profits go, more comes from CLA&H insurance premium rebates on consumer loans than comes from credit card divisions. Is their profit "a fair return" as you put it? I can only say that the basic laws of business make it so. If their profits were huge, no doubt others would enter the arena to compete and thus drive prices down. It's that way in lending money or selling apples by the roadside. If you see me selling them for $3 each, you'll open up a stand across the road and sell them for $2, etc. We want profits, but we also want to sell our product. If I stay at $3, you'll sell and I won't. If I go to 10 cents, I'll sell until I go out of business. Eventually a balance is met.

You imply lenders should stop making loans to people who are unlikely to repay. They don't make those loans. What you may take for that is their lending to individuals in a group wherein they believe there will be a high (10-12%) default rate. The problem is, they don't know which 10% or they'd simply eliminate them from the pool. Since they can't do that, they establish a rate to allow for that 10% to default. It's not evil to do so, it's merely prudent.

Not all loans or credit cards are at the same rate. If you're a member of a very low risk group, you can get a great deal on even a credit card (6.9-9.9% fixed). There are different groups or pools of borrowers and they are rated accordingly. Again, it's just good business.

Your comment on the seventies was accurate. Credit card rates were not lower then, nor were there anywhere near the sheer numbers of them or competition in that arena. Small finance companies filled that area more then than today. In the eighties credit card rates were not high enough to allow lenders a profit as prime rates climbed to unprecendeted heights. It was then that ceilings were hit and lenders stopped lending because of the numbers not working. A card at 9.9% then could have been an income source since you could buy a CD paying over 16%. The government finally had to raise the ceilings to allow borrowers the opportunity to borrow again.

When you asked what was wrong with people saving to buy what they wanted I had to smile. Joe, you're preaching to the choir here. On this we couldn't agree more. I'm like your wife in one way. I use one card (and a second one at Christmas shopping time) and have yet to pay my bank 10 cents in interest or fees.

You stated "there IS a percentage in a bad loan." That's simply not true. There is a percentage in loaning to a group wherein you know you'll have a given default percentage. The difference is that with the group you are able to cover the individual loss. With the individual, it's just a loss. I hope this doesn't sound like semantics. If any lender could know which particular loan would go bad, they certainly wouldn't make that loan any more than you or I would.

You said you disagreed that good borrowers would be not be helped by a stiffening of bankruptcy requirements allowing lenders to recoup at least some of their losses. I can't see how it wouldn't help them. The good borrowers wouldn't be burdened with having to carry the costs lenders have to pass on which are associated with the bad loans.

Lastly, a point on which we agree. I, too, think borrowing unnecessarily is imprudent. You and I (and your wife) each and all seem to adhere to that philosophy and, for my part at least, I am thankful. Another thing for which I am thankful is your post and the opportunity to respond. I enjoyed it. ;o)

-- Gary in Indiana (, July 24, 2001.

Gary sez: "Part of the cost of those debts has to go to cover loans which get written off because of bankruptcies. If some income can be garnered there that isn't currently, the costs to consumers will fall and borrowing will become more affordable (which is what you want). "

Errr, no, actually its not what I want. I don't borrow money. Period paragraph. I've been debt free for about 10 years now and I aim to stay that way. So whatever the interest rates are, its not going to affect me personally one way or the other.

The thing is, credit card companies AREN'T LOSING MONEY. When they SAY they've "lost money" due to declared bankruptcies, what they REALLY mean is they've lost PROJECTED INCOME. They haven't lost any real money; they're making money hand over fist. Even if every borrower paid off their balance every month and never paid any interest (like that's gonna happen, LOL!) they collect fees from the merchants who accept your credit card.

They're not in the red. They are most definitely in the black. So I say again, before they run out and change the existing bankruptcy laws to their own benefit and the detriment of everybody who has ever suffered a serious financial loss (keep in mind that there are an awful lot of folks who have to declare bankruptcy due to some sort of catastrophe), they'd better look to making loans RESPONSIBLY. Unfortunately, Big Bidness owns this country now, lock, stock, and politician, so the little guy gets the shaft.

Let's look at the term usury for just a sec here.

Usury: the lending of money with an interest charge for its use; especially the lending of money at exorbitant interest rates
: an unconscionable or exorbitant rate or amount of interest; specifically : interest in excess of a legal rate charged to a borrower for the use of money

So when interest rates are unconscionably high, they are, by definition, userous. The further definition says that ANY interest in excess of legal limits is ALWAYS userous, even if its only 3% (e.g., not exorbitant). But rates that are exorbitant though legal are not precluded from being considered userous.

And I contend that interest rates in excess of 20% are userous any way you look at it. Before the recession in the early 80s, the highest interest rate allowed in the state of Ohio was 12%, and most states settled at about the same rate. During the recession, loan companies and banks cried about inflation relief, and got it. Then when the recession was over, they had a taste for blood - and the interest rates NEVER CAME DOWN.

If they are claiming high risk as an excuse for charging such userous interest rates, then its high time they stopped gambling and went back to responsible loan practices. Credit was fairly hard to get 30 years ago. It really ought to be hard to get today as well. IMHO.

-- Sojourner (notime4@summer.spam), July 24, 2001.


OK lets see in our case I had triple by-pass surgery. Got triple billed. When my wife and I told them where to shove there $3900 per month bill. The Good folks at the hospital threw us into bankruptsy. (they were so kind they initated it and got us a lawyer) During the recovery period I foolishly used the visa to keep the homestead running. Before the judge I offered to repay the visa at $300 per month, the VISA lawyer guffawed and said forget it. Pay all now or just include it in the bankruptsy.

WELL after the bankruptsy I've received to date 1809 offers for credit cards. Before it about 5 a year.

Responsible people can be duped as well. Our neighbor recently showed us his MC bill. He had paid $100 but only $2.58 made it to the principal. So mand BS fees involved that I suggested he go to a bank and get a simple-interest loan.

Credit Card companies get away with charging high "42%" interest when the borrower opts to make minimum payments.

My advice pay off all cards BURN THEM. Sleep better at night.

-- Kenneth in N.C. (, July 25, 2001.


Thanks so much for responding. I'm happy to hear back from you since it was your post on another thread which prompted me to start this one. Your forum here has been a lot of fun for me with this post and all of the responses.

If I was in error believing you wanted credit card rates lower than they are now, I apologize. I assumed since you were decrying the current status and labeling these rates "exorbitantly high" and "usurous" that you believed they should be lower which would, of course, lower the costs of borrowing to the consumer. I also assumed that if you truly believed this situation to be unfair, a basic sense of fairness would have had you taking that position.

I'm now really confused, though. Is it just because you don't pay interest on that type of borrowing that you don't want what you describe as usurous rates lowered for people not so fortunate as you who do pay them or is it that you really find the status quo acceptable? You can't be on both sides of this, I'm sure, so the problem must be my inability to comprehend your position. Perhaps you can help me.

I don't recall profitability of lenders ever being an issue in this, but if you want it to be, I'll agree that most are profitable. I'm not sure when profit became a dirty word or when making money made someone inherently evil. I make money off profits of my business. You make money. I think that's a good thing. Personally, I like capitalism.

You seemed to indicate some deception as to how lenders can be profitable yet claim losses on loans. Maybe I can help. I'm a truck dealer by trade. Let's assume I made a profit last month in which I sold ten trucks. If I sold one or two for less money than I had invested in them, I lost money on those. The other eight more than covered those losses and gave me a profit for the month. It's the same with lenders. On some loans they lose money. The lose not only potential profit but actual principle. A $1,000 loan on which the borrow repays twelve $40 payments then defaults is still a loss without regard to potential future income or even the consideration of time value of money.

While you are certainly entitled to oppose changes to the existing bankruptcy laws I think you should understand what the effect of these proposed changes will actually be. These changes will still allow personal bankruptcy. They will simply change the ability of someone with substantial ongoing income to simply walk away from everything they owe with no payment whatsoever. Those individuals will have to contribute a small portion of their income over a given period to those lenders. It will only be pennies on the dollar owed, but it will be something. I hope you agree with me that someone earning a mid-six figure income who has amassed huge debt they can't repay on schedule should not be able to just walk away without paying anything.

I agree with you that in the situation you tout, wherein someone with catastrophic medical bills from some un- or under-insured situation who will be unable to resume working at their more modest income employment should still be able to set themselves free of that insurmountable debt. That scenario is one which will not be effected by the proposed changes whatsoever. That person will be able to file as now and will be treated the same as now, as you and I agree they should be.

We can run around in circles using different dictionary definitions and I hope we are smart enough to avoid that trap. There are denotations and connotations to most words. 'Usury' originally meant lending and charging interest. It's since changed to include other things including the connotation of being evil. 'Exorbitant' originally meant illegal. Now it's used to mean large and extravagant, too. When you used 'usurous' originally I took it to mean illegally high beyond statutory limits. I'm sure we agree that in that context the rates are not usurous. You may feel they're too high based on your personal barometer, and that's fine. When you contend any rate in excess of 20% is usurous, I can only assume you mean it's too high in your opinion. It's certainly not illegal.

You close by saying lenders ought stop lending in situations wherein they feel the need to charge 21% or more. You further say they need to go back to "more responsible" loan practices. All lenders are doing is OFFERING to lend. They aren't coming to anyone's door demanding they take the money. I can go to them and OFFER to borrow money at 3%. My guess is that, unless I'm armed, they're likely to decline my offer.

Good interest rate borrowing was, as you stated, hard to get thirty years ago. It still is. Today, however, there are more options available. Just because you and I don't choose to avail ourselves of such options is that any reason to eliminate the opportuniy for others who might? I think not.

There are many situations I can envision wherein I might take a loan at even as high as 36.5%. If I can buy something I use and buy regularly at a steep discount but don't have the ready cash it would make sense. Let's say I have the opportunity to buy a commodity I use regularly which would normally cost me $1500 for only $1000 but I have to take delivery and pay for it today. I won't have the $1000 for ten days. I can, however, borrow it at 36.5% interest. Should I do it? Yes, because it makes sense. In the ten days I get my $1000 in and pay off the loan. My total interest cost is $10 to save $500. Do I care that I paid an exceedingly high rate? Do I care that the lender made a very high return? No, it's only $10 and it saved me $500. I'd hate to have the opportunity denied to me because someone thought I shouldn't be allowed to take the responsibility to make a decision for myself.

-- Gary in Indiana (, July 25, 2001.

Gary - I guess it boils down to whether or not you think it is OK to make money off of other people's stupidity/foolishness.

My personal philosophy is that it is NOT ok, hence all the userous credit card companies that bait desperate/inexperienced/foolish (and sometimes actually retarded or mentally ill) people are Scum.

Personally there are NO circumstances under which I personally would borrow money at 36% interest. I consider that gambling. Who knows what catastrophic occurence could knock you off your block in the next ten days? Plus, I don't want to feed the coffers of the greed mongers. And, finally, it has been my experience that there is ALWAYS a "good deal" coming down the pike. If you "miss" this one, there'll be another along directly. Opportunity SELDOM only knocks once.

There is absolutely no argument you can use to convince me that cheating people - even if those people are themselves greedy, arrogant fools - is OK. We're right back to the cancer analogy, and the only way to cure cancer is to cut out the big chunks and hunt down and killl all the little chunks.

-- Sojourner (notime4@summer.spam), July 25, 2001.

Sojourner, Well Said!

I once bought some property from a very elderly couple. the cost, as I remember it, was $40K. The husband said, well, let's see; you're paying it off over ten years, so that's 10 years time 12 months, or 120 payments. That would make $40K¸120 payments, or $333.33 per month.

I'm glad that he was such a nice guy, because I didn't even have to hesitate before telling him, "Joe, I can't do this to you. You're totally overlooking the 10% interest! Had he been some rude jerk, I would have had a lot of temptation to let him screw himself. I hope I would not have succombed to the temtation. Life's too short, and I have to live with myself for the rest of it!


-- jumpoff joe (, July 26, 2001.


I'm sorry to see you reduce yourself to making an ad hominem argument like this. I'm truly disappointed. I expected better.

You imply that I feel it is acceptable to take unfair advantage of another less intellectually gifted or wise. You chose to label them stupid and foolish. Regardless, I can say irrefutably that you are wrong.

You continue your insipid name-calling with calling credit card lenders "scum". Your reason for this is essentially that they advertise. This advertising, in your mind, is designed to "bait" the weak into their lair. Quite frankly, as I reluctantly admitted earlier, I'm far more likely to be baited by the advertising of a bakery or ice cream stand playing on my weaknesses. Are they, too, "scum" for advertising or having their wares in a window I might see?

Your arguments appear to be based somehow in a personal philosophy you can't seem to explain rationally yet seem to want everyone to follow ("My personal philosophy is..., hence, all credit card companies... are scum").

Perhaps, in the interest of making sure everyone knows what is "fair," you would like us all to wear signs or have tattoos across our foreheads listing our weaknesses so no one would unfairly take advantage of the weakness of another. Mine would read "Loves sweets though they're not good for him. Please do not feed." Heck, the lenders are only getting money while these confectioners are ruining my health and shortening my life.

Whether or not you would take advantage of the opportunity I described to garner a net after tax savings of $490 for your family is irrelevant. My only comment there was that I shouldn't be denied the opportunity to make that decision for myself, but thanks for sharing just the same.

Lastly you argue that you cannot be covinced it is acceptable to cheat people regardless of their personalities and, in so arguing, attempt to imply I feel such cheating is acceptable. Again, you are falling to ad hominem arguments. For the record, I have never stated that (feel free to scroll up and check) and do not feel that way.

I had hoped you might have been able to continue this thread in a mature, responsible manner without these thinly veiled personal attacks to divert attention from the inherent weaknesses in your positions. Sadly, that appears not to have been the case

In closing let me thank everyone who contributed without personalizing things. It's been a pleasure. Thank you for your posts and for your opinions. I hope it's been helpful to some, entertaining to all and harmful to no one but me.

-- Gary in Indiana (, July 26, 2001.

Gary - hope you can appreciate the following attempt at humor.

Re: original meanings of words vs modern meanings.

If we're going to stick to the original meanings of all English words, guess we'd have to stick to the original spellings and pronunciation as well. Like this:

HwŠt! We Gardena in geardagum, ■eodcyninga, ■rym gefrunon, hu ­a Š■elingas ellen fremedon. Oft Scyld Scefing scea■ena ■reatum, monegum mŠg■um, meodosetla ofteah, egsode eorlas. Sy­­an Šrest wear­ feasceaft funden, he ■Šs frofre gebad, weox under wolcnum, weor­myndum ■ah, o­■Št him Šghwylc ■ara ymbsittendra ofer hronrade hyran scolde, gomban gyldan. ■Št wŠs god cyning!


-- Sojourner (notime4@summer.spam), July 26, 2001.

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