Frugality Begins At Home

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One reason to keep out of Congress: The body's spending habits might rub off:

More than 40 members of the House reported carrying at least $10,000 in credit-card or charge-card debt in 2003 and parts of 2004, according to a survey of financial disclosure reports conducted by The Hill….

The lawmaker reporting the highest credit-card debt was Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), who noted that in 2003 he had between $80,000 and $175,000 spread across seven credit cards. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, listed five accounts with a total of $75,000 to $250,000 in debt. New York Democrat Gary Ackerman was third in the survey, listing "various credit cards" with a total balance of $50,000 to $100,000.

The Senate, conforming to cliche, proved more responsible: Only one member reported a credit-card debt of more than $10,000.

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  1. Hey Jesse!

    Surfing through RAW sites and found one of your articles on Google- continued on to your blog.

    Just glad to read and know you are still writing, expressing, shitting, whatever! And, you published your book!

    Much love and warmest regards, Joni

    PS Changed my name to Sophie for 50th birthday, just for fun. It worked!

  2. I’m actually surprised with all the free gifts and such it’s so low. If I take the salary, somewhere north of 150K (don’t remember exacts), 10K of revolving debt is fairly low, considering the numbers of ordinary Americans making less than 60K with the same amount of unsecured debt.

  3. Just in case… making 150K+ with somewhere between 75K and 250K of unsecured debt is bad…

    But again, with graft, why worry?

    Homer recently elected as head of the local union at the nucleon plant:

    Homer: What’s this job pay?
    Lenny: Nothing
    Homer: Do’oh
    Carl: Unless you’re dirty.
    Homer: Woohoo!

  4. Someone should match these numbers up against the recent votes on the bankruptcy bill.

  5. Speaking of the bankruptcy bill, I was VERY disappointed that didn’t make it as a post on Hit and Run. I really wanted to know the official libertairan stance on that one, particularly all the rich-guys-get-out-free provisos.

    End threadjack.

  6. Jennifer-

    I don’t know enough to have a firm opinion on the particulars of the bill. My first thought is that I have no objection to cracking down on fraud, but it’s funny how certain vehicles for getting away with fraud were left untouched.

  7. Someone should match these numbers up against the recent votes on the bankruptcy bill.

    Follow the link: the Hill story does just that. It doesn’t find a correlation.

  8. Libertarians should be anti-bankruptcy. Don’t we believe in personal responsibility? Pay your damn debts people! Those who go bankrupt without truly needing it (death, disability, NOT job loss) are scum.

  9. I have an idea, how about we set aside part of our payroll tax and create personal Branruptcy accounts. We could invest the money in secure stocks and bonds (they would be safe since they would be be approved by the government after all), you would get a statement with YOUR VERY OWN NAME printed on it. Since we dont have the money to spend on these accounts, and it would be bad to raise taxes further, we could borrow more money to make up the shortfall. Dont think of it as taking on more debt, but rather making an investment in our future.

  10. But those lending money to those who go into bankruptcy should know what they are getting into to begin with. Like credit card companies and banks don’t know the risk they take *under the existing system* and figure it into their calculations .. yea right.

  11. Ten Dems and 8 Repubs. Nice bipartisanship.

  12. Just my two cents on the bankrupcty bill: It’s obvious by the sheer number of companies offering credit to bad risks that the bankruptcy laws in the US were — if anything — too stringent to begin with.

    I’ve seen companies offer a card to people whose credit rating was so crappy I wouldn’t loan them 10 bucks, much less a 5 grand card.

    Having taken a fun whirl through the world of credit card companies as part of my investigation of this bill, I’ve officially closed all but one — and that one’s empty, and just for emergencies.

  13. Credit card companies found out they could make a ton of money by charging people with bad credit very high interest rates (up to 28%!). When they started to get burned, they called for, and got, their own little gov’t bailout.

    The funny thing is, they still offer credit to people who just come off of Chapter 7 bankrupcty. The reason? You can’t legally file for another 7 years, and they figure they can get you stuck on the same endless debt cycle once again, this time with no legal recourse. Lesson? Burn your credit cards.

  14. Big Spending (among other things) Republicans:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7206305/

  15. 9.9% credit card interest to make 100+% on sweet insider trading deals? You’d be an idiot not to be maxed out.

  16. I could see carrying that kind of debt on a congresscritter’s salary, especially since, if and when I finally retired/got-my-ass-booted back to civilian life I managed to land in a typical ex-pol’s job – rainmaker at a law firm, lobbyist, “insurance executive”, media whore, etc. Even with anti-revolving-door legislation these guys make out pretty good when they leave office – and the pensions!

    Kevin

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