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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/15/10

A Gathering of Vultures

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Message Mary Pitt

As the Liberals in Congress struggle against the Party-of-No Republicans and the Blue Dog DINOs, the people in the lower economic level are being picked of the last flesh on their living bones by the circling vultures. After they have lost almost everything they possess by the too-big-to-fail banks and investment companies, bled by the co-payments for essential medical care for their children, and either lost their homes in foreclosure or have trouble paying their rent, the vultures have gathered for the last pickings.

One cannot long watch television without the realization of precisely what the aims are of the remaining ghouls that dog their tracks. First and foremost are the "easy credit" advertisements by which they are bombarded. If you get a paycheck, you can get money quick to last until then. It only costs you a "little" more than you borrow, (only an APR of a hundred or two), and you can spend on anything you want. If you own a car, bring in your title and get the same sweet deal. The commercials depict happy people enjoying the prospect of living it up on all that "Easy Cash."

Congress is currently struggling with the task of regulating these vultures against those who think that the poor are not sufficiently important to protect. They appear to rest secure in their opinion that those who are dumb enough to fall for those deceptions deserve to be victimized. The fact that many may be so financially strapped in this "Land of Plenty" that they have no other avenue of survival.

Another source of income to the television channels are the advertisements telling those who have won lawsuits and have judgments which are to be paid over time that they don't have to wait for their money. They can really sell those judgments (at discount prices, of course), and obtain a large amount of "cash now" with which they can "live it up" until it's all gone. They do not, ever, tell how much the discount will be and how much they will collect of the proceeds for corporate profit. Often, these judgments or annuities are the only source of supplemental income available to these people and they will suffer terribly by their loss but, what the hell, it's all "Free Enterprise"!

A third enticement, aimed the elderly, is one that I particularly find reprehensible. They dig up all the old has-beens like Pat Boone, Robert Wagner, or Peter Graves, who were the heart-throbs of our youth, to hawk the idea of "reverse mortgages" wherein they promise monthly stipends in return for signing a contract that allows the lending institutions to own their homes when they die. Now, every elderly person whom I have met will tell you that they have made precise plans for whom they want to inherit from them and they will deprive themselves of essentials of life to retain their property for that purpose.

(Note: Peter Graves has passed away since this writing and I, for one, will always remember him as the dashing and daring Mr. Phelps of "Mission Impossible" and not as the enfeebled huckster for reverse mortgages.)

Further, this arrangement amounts to the bidding company actually wagering that you will not live very long because the more quickly you die, the more profit they will gain. Let us hope that most of these elderly have brains enough to know that, should they determine that they want to leave the old home place, they will make more money by selling it outright, even if they themselves carry a contract for a balance. At least, they won't have to live the rest of their lives looking over their shoulders and wondering whether their "heirs" are becoming impatient.

To add insult to injury, they continually remind us of our advanced years by showing us how decrepit our once-upon-a-time has gone through the same deterioration that we must deal with every day. This comment from a person who refused to attend the 60-year class reunion because she prefers to recall the raucous friends of her youth rather than the old codgers who now creep around with canes and walkers. She prefers to remember the friends of her youth as vital and energetic as they were so long ago.

As macabre as these three "vultures" may appear, there is still one that is so reprehensible that they don't even advertise. They merely contact the elderly personally in the effort to purchase their paid-up life insurance policies. The proposal is that they will discount the amount payable on your death and give you that amount "today." In return, they become the beneficiary of that policy and collect it only on your death. I can't speak for anyone else but it would seem that one could never again sleep comfortably at night.

While the comfortably wealthy worship at the altar of Capitalism and engage in the preservation of Free Enterprise while resisting any regulation of banks and other lending institutions, the sheep have already been stripped of their fleece and new ways are being developed to profit from the disposal of their bones. Meanwhile, the vultures go about their work of devouring whatever value remains of their being.

Does anybody out there care? Will the Senate shape up and pass the Consumer Financial Protection Act which has been passed by the House? Or will the Republicans continue the campaign to end the Class Warfare in their usual manner, by forcing the poor back to the status of serfs in bondage to the privileged?

Stay tuned.

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This writer is eighty years old and has spent a half century working with handicapped and deprived people and advocating on their behalf while caring for her own workung-class family. She spends her "Sunset Years" in writing and struggling with The (more...)
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