html 4.0 transitional//en"> MATTERS OF LIFE AND DEBT



Plastic pushing dangerous game
Card firms no better than drug pushers

We all know the tragic consequences pushing drugs has on our people. Our government claims to be fighting a "war on drugs." Yet, we see little results except overcrowding the prisons with non-violent law-breakers.

There is another war, a very silent one, that should get equal attention. This war no political dares mention. It is the deadly plastic card virus that is running amuck in our land today.

We are informed via TV, radio and the print media that for us to really enjoy life we must have Visa, MasterCard, Discovery or American Express; the "never leave home without it" gang.

I call this "gang" of pushers the PCCPers (Plastic Credit Card Pushers). They know that people spend approximately one-third more when they use credit cards instead of cash.

But there is a sting in using that slick piece of plastic that the pushers never tell you. Just as a drug pusher would not tell you the dangers of drug-abuse, neither will the PCC Pushers let you in on the truth that the plastic card abuse can wreck a life. It is only useful to those who can pay their bill in full each month and avoid the interest.

Peter A. Schnall, Senior Vice President of Capital One, Richmond, Va., wrote a form-letter-offer to my daughter, T. L. Mayland, last spring. She in no way qualified for the credit line of $500. he offered. Had he had the ethics to check he would have found that she is a single mother working at minimum wage with huge medical bills. This is an example of the way the PCC Pushers go after anyone, regardless of their situation. Just make them addicts to the ever-growing capitalists-materialistic society.

The corporate plastic card giants do not care such offers temp low income people, with little ability to resist, and infect them with the "instant money" virus. Why do they send such people an immoral offer? In one word: greed.

To me the PCCPers are involved in an evil business. Granted, they are a legal business. Tobacco is also legal, but that does not mean it is good for a healthy life. So is booze a legal business, which kills the body and mind faster than tobacco. The PCCPers kill the spirit and bring only despair and hopelessness as people try to cope with debts they would not have made had it not been for `the card.'

So I up and wrote Mr. Schnall what I thought of his offer to Ms. Mayland; his proposition to make a poor person poorer. He probably could care less and I don't expect an answer.

In my letter to him I reminded him of some facts regarding all these people to whom he pushes his legal plastic `greed game':

(1) That the average person in our country is three weeks away from bankruptcy.

(2) That the average person has little or no money saved.

(3) That the average person already has significant monthly creditor commitments.

(4) That the average person is totally dependent on next week's paycheck to just stay afloat.

The PCC Pushers make their money with high interest rates. Suppose you have a credit card with a $5,000 balance, at 18 per-cent interest, and you are making the minimum payment required on your statement each month. It will take approximately 39 years to pay the balance in full.

But all is not lost! There is a way to get help against the PCCPers. There are several groups that help families and individuals to financial freedom. One of these is the Family Life Credit Services (FLCS), a national, non-profit Credit Counseling agency, specializing in liquidating debt with one low monthly payment. They help get creditors off the back of those plagued by the pushers of plastic.

Mrs. Florence McKinney, a personal friend in Houston, is a credit counseling professional with FLCS. She tells me the FLCS is not a loan company and is a not for profit corporation. FLCS deals with creditors for the client.

I do not know if there is a FLCS counselor in your area, but you can call the head office in Fargo, North Dakota for information (Kristy Erickson at 701-237-9247). It may be the phone call that will turn you to a more productive and happy life. --- (Sept 1 published in Brownwood Bulletin. Sept 17 published in the Waco Tribune Herald)

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