Feb 02 2009

Can America afford this credit card bill?

By Holli Keaton


I think all parents have one of those lessons they like to make sure you know each time you see them.

For my stepdad, a recovered debtor to the credit card industry, his main lesson has always been not to follow in his footsteps.

“Holli, no matter how hard things ever get, don’t get a credit card,” he has repeatedly told me since I was young, with much more important things to worry about than where money comes from.

And as much as I’ve smiled and nodded and halfway listened to him, those words have carried with me even to the days where I do in fact care about how I’ll pay my bills.

But, I don’t think those words have had the same affect on the majority of the country today.

Now, I’ve never claimed to be a political expert. I’ve even more so never claimed to be an economist.

But, I will go ahead and claim to be a resident concerned highly with both those issues.

With businesses closing doors almost every day and more and more jobs on the brink of extinction, it’s kind of hard not to wonder if the country isn’t quickly spiraling into the nightmares of the Great Depression I’ve only heard stories about.

But even more concerning, to me at least, is how the government is planning to ease Americans back into prosperity — with even more debt.

Whether President Barack Obama’s $900 billion stimulus plan is what it will take to bring Americans back into economic security is debatable. I have my doubts.

With some $90 billion for construction, another $142 billion for education coupled with $20 billion for health care and a list going on and on for 600 pages, where does it end?

These funds all sound like things that will boost America’s economy.

But will I – or my neighbors in Troy, Ala., – actually reap any of these benefits firsthand?

That, I doubt. And yet, I’m sure that with huge interest rates, we’re going to be paying back what will become a historically large $1.2 trillion stimulus package back in some fashion for a long time.

After a $700 billion banking bailout that hasn’t seemed to work, another $25 billion for the auto industry and now more…

I think there has to be another way.

Unfortunately, that’s not how the majority of the U.S. House of Representatives felt when they passed the bill 244-188 Wednesday night.

I commend our newly elected Bobby Bright for keeping his non-partisan promises of his campaign, being one of only 11 Democrats to say no to the largest piece of legislation to pass the House.

Further, I commend our Alabama Sens. Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby for their firm oppositions to the bill. While it may not make much difference in the end, they are looking out for their state well this time.

America needs “change,” President Obama.

I’m just not sure we need the credit card bill that will follow.