As the economy continues to flail about, Americans are rather worried. This is hardly surprising, given that each new day brings more bad news. Of course, some people are getting a bit angry over how things are playing out. I must admit, that I am starting to feel a bit angry as well.
I saw today that Citigroup might get additional federal support. While this concerns me as a taxpayer, it also concerns me because they own my mortgage (a sensible fixed rate loan with a great interest rate) and I have one of their credit cards.
My mortgage started out, as most mortgages do, with another company. It was eventually bought by Citigroup. Since the rate and terms were reasonable and set by the original company, I have no real complaints about it. The transition was not quite as effective handled as one might hope (I got “double billed” at the start). However, since I had gotten a fixed rate mortgage, there was not much damage that Citigroup could do to me.
My feeling about my Citigroup credit card is more negative. Like most credit card owners, I’ve experienced the usual rate increases. My response has been to not use the card anymore and I am considering simply canceling it. But, I feel basically the same about all credit cards.
What generates my specific ire about the Citigroup bailout is that in addition to sending them a check each month for my mortgage, they are also getting some of my tax dollars. I do not mind paying off my mortgage-that is a debt I owe and I get something in return (my house). But, handing them my tax dollars does not seem to help me. I do not get any mortgage credit for that. My card’s interest rate has not dropped. I suspect that many people feel the same way and wonder what we are getting in return for our money.
Naturally, If the folks in Washington want to give the folks at Citigroup our money, my thought is that they should take less of my money in tax dollars and encourage me to use that savings to pay off my mortgage faster. That way Citigroup gets money but I also get something as well. I do not think it is unreasonable to get something in return for my money.
It is also somewhat ironic that a company that deals in credit cards is getting a bailout. After all, such companies often tend to be rather rapacious in regards to their fees and their interest rates. Fairness would seem to demand that if they find selves short and unable to pay, they should be subject to fees and their own brand of retaliatory measures.
But, one might say, would not such fees and retalitory measures be hitting them when they are at their weakest, when they are in most need of compassion and mercy? Yes, yes it would. But, that is the way of business, is it not?