Welcome to the somewhat unbalanced mind of Orbson Rice.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Rank Banks

With Occupy Wall Street protests gathering momentum throughout the world, I find myself finding yet another example of the growing disparity of wealth in this country. Here is a brief timeline of some of my recent personal banking events:

1. Washington Mutual (my bank) collapses.
2. JP Morgan Chase takes over.
3. After six years, I run out of blank checks.
4. I now have to pay $18.99 for simple blank checks that used to be free.
5. Decided that I am annoyed by this new fee for paper.
6. Decided to move my banking to Fidelity Investments, but keep Chase account open to deposit any checks I might receive.
7. Talk to Chase Customer Service about making this happen.

Get this: Unless I have a sizeable direct deposit, I must maintain $1500 in the checking account in order to avoid monthly fees. $1500?! It takes my Target-employed mother more than six weeks to make $1500. Most of that goes to health insurance and other bills. There is no way she would be able to get a fee-free checking account. I recently asked her why she no longer had a bank account. Her answer? It’s too expensive. Now I see that she was right. Many banks are raising their fees. Who has to bear the burden? The poor of course.

Now I’m sure there may be people who’ll say that banks are providing their customers a service and that fees help to pay for that service. Capitalism at its finest. Normally, I would agree. This time, I do not. The bank is not simply holding your money for you. They are not a storage unit that remains locked until the owner comes by with the key. No, your money is being invested. Whether through loans or the market itself, your money is being given out and then returned with interest. For most customers, their savings or checking accounts collect little or no interest. Thus, the banks keep the profits on their investments. I don’t have a problem with that. Surprised? Don’t be. If you have a lot of money in a savings or checking account it’s your fault that you’re not investing it yourself. If the banks can profit on you, they should. Your money is being loaned out to people who want to buy a car, a house or start a small business. These are good things (unless the banks are stupid about who they loan to). What’s not good is when the poorest members of society are unable to even consider getting a bank account because of the banks’ insatiable greed.

The right-wing believes that liberals are engaging in class warfare because we want the wealthy individuals and corporations to pay a fair percentage of taxes on their income. They believe it because we demand that corporations spend money to make their businesses environmentally safe. They believe it because we express anger at union-busting legislation. They believe it because we don’t like to see a handful of companies controlling entire industries. They believe it because we are finally beginning to take to the streets in protest of Wall Street’s blatantly evil greed. Well guess what conservatives; the classes have been at war for over a decade. The poor and those who support them have just never fought back before. That is until now. Wall Street has gone too far. Corporations have gotten away with too much. Elected officials of the United States of America: If you’re in their pockets, next election cycle, we’re coming for you next. Conservatives, you cry class warfare, you have not seen anything yet.

Yo’ Asshole Did What? School administrators banned the cheerleaders of Gilbert High School in Gilbert, Arizona from wearing “inappropriate” shirts to school events. Well, they must have been really bad right? What, they were supposed to help raise money and awareness for Cancer research? What, they only said “Feel for lumps. Save your bumps.”? Congratulations school administrators, you are Orbson’s Assholes of the Day. Don’t worry, I didn’t get you t-shirts to commemorate your title.

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