The New Financial Scam Driving Workers Deep Into Debt

I did this for AlterNet: The New Financial Scam Driving Workers Deep Into Debt,

If you can lure people into borrowing then you own them, sometimes literally—it’s a game as old as money itself.

Regular people don’t know much about money, loan terms or the trap of debt-slavery. This enables predators to dangle loans in front of desperate people and entrap them into various forms of financial and even actual servitude. Again and again schemes and scams pop up that trick people into borrowing. Of course, we all know how the credit-card trap has ensnared millions. Car loan terms have gone from two to three and now as long as five or even six years because people think a lower monthly payment is a good thing. In recent years we’ve seen “subprime” mortgages and payday lenders entrap borrowers. Now there is a new predatory lending scheme in operation called “workplace loans.” Keep an eye out for this, it is just one more way for the financial industry to lure workers into debt slavery.

But also keep an eye out for a different form of workplace loan that can actually help employees.

Read the rest at AlterNet.

This Was Good

Last night’s Virtually Speaking was really good, and you can listen to it here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/virtuallyspeaking/2013/12/23/dave-johnson-cliff-schecter-virtually-speaking-sundays-1.

Commentators Dave Johnson (Campaign for America’s Future) & Cliff Schecter (Libertas LLC) discuss:

1) Good public policy as popular public policy. A government jobs program with a minimum wage increase would be both. Moral Mondays as an example of bringing public opinion to bare. Gillibrand’s populist “Opportunity Agenda.”

2) Political satirist CoT’s most ridiculous moment from the morning gabfest.

3) Potential progressive options to Clinton (Sanders, Schweitzer, O’Malley) and the impact they may have on the Democratic Party, and Clinton’s positions and campaign.

Jay Ackroyd moderates. Follow @CliffSchecter @DCJohnson @Bobblespeak @JayAckroyd.

Virtually Speaking Tonite 6pm PT/9pm ET Dave Johnson and Cliff Schecter

Virtually Speaking is a regular online “radio” show that you can listen to live while it is recorded, or later (and on Podcast.)

This week, commentators Dave Johnson (Campaign for America’s Future) & Cliff Schecter (Libertas LLC) talk about good public policy as popular public policy and how a government jobs program with a minimum wage increase would be both, e.g. Moral Mondays and Gillibrand’s populist “Opportunity Agenda

A ridiculous moment from Culture of Truth

Then potential progressive options to a Clinton candidacy e.g., Sanders, Schweitzer, O’Malley; and the impact they may have on the Democratic Party as well as Clinton’s positions and campaign.

You can listen live or any time later http://www.blogtalkradio.com/virtuallyspeaking/2013/12/23/dave-johnson-cliff-schecter-virtually-speaking-sundays-1.

You can also get Virtually Speaking on Podcasts.

5 Signs the Rich Have Way Too Much Money

I have an article up at alterNet: 5 Signs the Rich Have Way Too Much Money,

Here’s something to read after you get done trying to figure out how to make the mortgage or the rent or the car payment this month. It’s a little story about how the other half lives. Well, maybe not the other half, exactly. More like the obscenely wealthy .01%.

What do you do when you just have too darn much money? Let’s say you already have your mansion(s), your jet, your yacht, your cars, your $50,000 watches, and you’ve still got too much money left over. (Yes, this really is a problem some people have.) While many, many Americans are struggling to get by, and a very few ultra-wealthy have too much money, here are five signs that the rich are just too rich.

Click through to read 5 Signs the Rich Have Way Too Much Money.

Don’t Cut — Lower the Retirement Age and Open Up More Jobs

I have a post up over at Bill Moyers’ website: Don’t Cut — Lower the Retirement Age and Open Up More Jobs. The main points are:

1) Lowering the retirement age opens up jobs and,

2) Lowering the Medicare eligibility age takes the most expensive people out of the private insurance pool, which lowers everyone else’s premiums, and these people then become the lease expensive people in Medicare, which lowers the cost-per-person.

Virtually Speaking Tonite 6pm PT – 9pm ET

Virtually Speaking Sundays – 6p PT/9p ET

Listen live or later http://www.blogtalkradio.com/virtuallyspeaking/2013/10/21/dave-johnson-cliff-schecter-vs-sundays

Dave Johnson & Cliff Schecter offer a counterpoint to the Sunday morning media shows. Jay Ackroyd hosts. Likely:

• The return of the austerity and grand bargain narratives, including the appointment of New Democrats Chris Van Hollen, James Clyburn and Nita Lowey to the budget negotiation committee.

• GOP in disarray. Are the Teahadists chastened or emboldened by the loss?

• PPACA. Particularly the tension between identifying problems and defending it from attack

Plus satirical commentary from Culture of Truth.

Follow @DCJohnson @CliffSchecter @JayAckroyd @Bobblespeak

The VS Media Panel: Avedon Carol, Cliff Schecter, Dave Dayen, Dave Johnson, Dave Waldman, Digby, Gaius Publius, Joan McCarter, Marcy Wheeler & Stuart Zechman.

Listen live or later http://www.blogtalkradio.com/virtuallyspeaking/2013/10/21/dave-johnson-cliff-schecter-vs-sundays

Virtually Speaking Tonite 6pm PT – 9pm ET

Virtually Speaking Sundays – 6p PT/9p ET

Political & social commentators Dave Johnson & David Waldman & Jay Ackroyd offer a counter point to the Sunday morning talk shows. Plus political satire from Culture of Truth.

This week: #Gunfail in the NYTimes. Obamacare launch. Republican infighting. War vs diplomacy.

Follow @dcjohnson @kagroX @JayAckroyd @Bobblespeak

The VS Media Panel: Avedon Carol, Cliff Schecter, Dave Dayen, Dave Johnson, Dave Waldman, Digby, Gaius Publius, Joan McCarter, Marcy Wheeler & Stuart Zechman.

Listen live or later http://www.blogtalkradio.com/virtuallyspeaking/2013/09/30/dave-johnson-dave-waldman-virtually-speaking-sundays

Virtually Speaking Sundays: Girls Gone Wild! 6p PT/9p ET

Virtually Speaking Sundays: Girls Gone Wild! 6p PT/9p ET

Political & social commentators digby and Susie Madrak, offer a counter point to the Sunday morning talk shows. They compare notes from their observations, investigations and considerations of the past week. Culture of Truth satirizes the Sunday Morning talk shows. Sherry Reson moderates.

Chuck Todd – the relationship between gov’t and media

Grand bargain rising: Defunding Food stamp, Obamacare

Dept Ceiling Trainwreck

Guns as Acts of God

Follow @digby56 @SusieMadrak @Sherry_Reson @Bobblespeak

Listen Live or Later: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/virtuallyspeaking/2013/09/23/digby-susie-madrak-virtually-speaking-sundays

Virtually Speaking 9ET / 6PT – Me, Gaius Publius, Stuart Zechman and Jay Ackroyd

6p PT/9p ET – Listen live or later: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/virtuallyspeaking/2013/09/06/gaius-publius-dave-johnson-stuart-zechman-w-jay-ackroyd

Who are ‘we the people’? How might clear majorities of people prevail given that all the electeds (mostly) are against us? Dave Johnson, Gaius Publius, Stuart Zechman and Jay Ackroyd consider the political environment often described as left, right, center and the inverse relationship between the views of the people with power and the general populace.

For example, large majorities in both Republican-supporting voters and Dem-supporting voters favor No Cuts to Education, Medicare and Social Security.

How do we bring this popular coalition together in a way that wins? What are our best strategies for doing that?

Virtually Speaking Sundays: Marcy Wheeler & Dave Waldman

Do you know about Virtually Speaking?

Tonite (Sunday) at 6p PT / 9pm ET you can listen to Marcy Wheeler and Dave Waldman discuss current events with Jay Ackroyd. Plus satire from Culture of Truth. Syria? Gunfail?

Follow @emptywheel @kagroX @jayackroyd @bobblespeak

Listen live or later: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/virtuallyspeaking/2013/09/02/marcy-wheeler-dave-waldman-virtually-speaking-sundays

You can get all virtually speaking podcasts for iTune at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/virtually-speaking-blog-talk/id305728848

Virtually Speaking Tonite (And You Can Listen Later)

The GREAT DAVE JOHNSON & GAIUS PUBLIUS • VS SUNDAYS 9ET 6PT

Political & social commentators Dave Johnson & Gaius Publius compare notes from their observations, investigations and considerations of the past week. Jay Ackroyd moderates.

Listen live and later: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/virtuallyspeaking/2013/08/19/dave-johnson-gaius-publius-virtually-speaking-sundays

Content details & background here.