Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What Comes In 3's?

We’ve plunged head first into a new year, and along with its fresh beginning, comes the need for a new car. The damage our jalopy sustained in the crash of 2008 was beyond repair, and we’re forced to leave the junk yard masterpiece behind the bush as we seek out a suitable replacement.

They say things always come in threes. Big 3 Automakers, Big 3 Banks, Big 3 Credit Bureaus. One could even argue “3” to be the anti-trust magic number. And now we find ourselves having to deal with all three of the Big 3s in our hot pursuit of new wheels.

As any typical car shopping American consumer knows, obtaining bank financing at preferred interest rates would be an essential first step; and being typical American consumers, we followed the necessary protocol and applied for our big purchase financing with a Big 3 Bank. What we weren’t prepared for was the rejection that promptly followed.

It didn’t take long to discover our credit denial was based upon an unpaid collection account erroneously listed on our Big 3 credit report. Further research indicated the collection account allegedly belonged to car fanatic Jay Leno and even he swore it wasn’t his.

We knew writing letters to the Big 3 Credit Bureaus wouldn't resolve our dilemma of becoming mobile any time soon, urgency aside. Before we could even consider our next step, the phone began to ring incessantly with calls from high risk finance companies eager to provide us the loan we needed at usurious interest rates. If being debilitated with an unjust credit denial wasn’t enough, the Big 3 Credit Bureaus didn’t hesitate to add insult to our injury by selling our personal and confidential information to the highest bidders in the form of trigger leads.

Most of the world understands that businesses are in business to make money and the Big 3 Credit Bureaus never pretended to be non-profits; however, they are the nation’s repositories of private, personal and highly confidential information and with this comes an assumed moral and fiduciary obligation to the vulnerable public whose information they routinely collect and maintain on file like the CIA. Yet their regulated governance is dubious at best, and like the deregulated and now collapsed financial systems that chose greed over self-regulation or even (>gasp<) the greater good, they appear to have no intention of reigning themselves in.

They’ve caught the virus that hospitalized Wall Street.

It’s easy to win the game when you make all the rules, and to hold undisputed power over the general public’s financial future one person at a time can be extremely intoxicating. When the rules conveniently change like shifting sand, the public is deliberately kept intimidated by the system’s illusionary complexities. Just as health insurance companies notoriously and oftentimes determine whether an individual lives or dies, the Big 3 Credit Bureaus hold the power to determine whether one financially thrives or financially dies in our credit-based economy.

A look in the rear view mirror swept us back to when the philosophy "Cash is King” was the rule of thumb embraced throughout nearly three-quarters of the 20th century. Three decades of Big 3 social reconditioning has made this old world practice of little benefit in today’s credit driven world and basically a foreign language to Gens Y and Z.

The Madams of the Big 3 Credit Brothels appear to have amazingly formed a red-light Credit Cartel, and like all good bordellos, top priority is naturally given to the biggest paying regular customers. We’re certain that isn’t us and can only surmise who’s paying the most for the biggest tricks. As bottom line proliferation continues to supersede fiduciary accountability, how concerned should we be over the dissemination of our confidential information for a fee?

For more ways to follow the money, see our ‘In The Rear View Mirror’ December 28, 2008 posting "Why Bernie Made Off With 2008".

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