Daily Archives: May 20, 2009

Neither a borrower nor a lender be

Is it just me, or does the new credit card consumer protection legislation protect less responsible cardholders (those who accumulate a lot of debt or exceed spending limits) at the expense of more responsible ones who usually pay off their bills on time, and who are likely to get hit with new fees or have rewards canceled as banks try to make up for lost revenue?  Transparency is generally good, and requiring credit card companies to notify cardholders in advance of an interest rate hike seems unobjectionable — but what if the bank has to respond quickly to changing market conditions or lose money?   Is there really anyone who doesn’t know that credit card companies generally have fines for spending over the credit limit or paying by phone?  And is it really such a good idea to impose extra hurdles on young men and women between 18 and 21 — old enough to marry, vote, drive,  join the Army — before they can apply for a credit card?  (One of the options is to have a parent or guardian as a guarantor; apparently, parental control is oppressive when it comes to sex or contraception, but  not money.)  

Meanwhile, on HuffPo, Arianna rails against the evil of usury, invoking the Bible, the Koran, and St. Thomas Aquinas (inter alia).  Apparently, invoking religious texts as justification from social policy is also fine when the policy in question is a politically liberal one.  It seems that some scripturally condemned activities between consenting adults are not okay after all.

8 Comments

Filed under economy, freedom, liberalism

Elena Bonner speaks on Israel (and Russia)

Cathy Young and Elena Bonner in August 2007 

Cathy Young and Elena Bonner in August 2007

 

Elena Bonner, the widow of great scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov and an outstanding human rights activist in her own right, is truly one of the heroes of the modern age.   (It was my privilege to interview Bonner nearly two years ago for this article.)  Yesterday, the 86-year-old grande dame of the Russian human rights movement spoke at the Oslo Freedom Forum.  Her speech, of which Ms. Bonner sent me an English translation, is worth reproducing in full.  Ms. Bonner is a woman of strong and outspoken opinions; agree or disagree, she is always worth hearing.

Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under Israel, Russia, terrorism