Saturday, June 23, 2012

"E" and Immigration Reform: More than "Kissing Cousins!"

Are we to the point that politics and political expediency are the only things that matter?

Looks that way! Yet, in the heat of battle, Florida Senator Marco Rubio deserves some credit for attempting to bring closure to an argument that has gone on too long. The President? Well, there is an election taking place in November.

What is puzzling is "why" immigration reform and English as the official language have not joined hands. They are more than merely "kissing cousins!" Maybe it's because it's too simple. Senator Rubio has advocated English as the official language. Now, he is piecing together a plan that actually might gain bi-partisan support.

Obama's actions are not surprising. He made a truckload of promises to the Hispanic community in '08. Then, those aspirations became back seated in favor of a stimulus package, health care and green energy. Sorry, Hispanic community! Your needs are secondary to those of more key Democrat constituencies!

July is breathing down our necks! Time to start thinking about the election! That means, recounting old promises to key voting blocs. There is concern in the Obama camp. They are fortunate that the Republican nominee, in the words of former Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales "doesn't connect" with the Hispanic Community. But that doesn't insure that the 16% of America that they represent will automatically flock to Obama!

41 year-old Florida Senator, Marco Rubio is favored as Romney's running mate by the majority of Republicans. If Mitt listens to them, and to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as well as Tea Party spokeman, Jim DeMint, it will be bad news for Democrats. That's why the 11th hour hoopla of a pieced together immigration plan that bi-passes the legislative process. Rubio's proposal, at least goes about it legally!

What about our plan, proposed in "E" is for English? Why not bring it all together? It isn't that House Speaker, John Boehner hasn't been exposed to it! Maybe it's because I am who I am. Nobody but another voice of mainstream Amertica. I haven't made any significant contributions to the party or GOP candidates! Perhaps there isn't time for anyone save those with the Fortune 500 stamp of approval. Could that be it, Mr. Speaker?

What differentiates the "E" plan from Rubio's is that it provides a direct path to citizenship for those who are here in the U.S. illegally through no fault of their own. All they must do is pass a 10th grade English profiency exam and participate in some sort of service. Rubio's plan allows them to stay legally. But it is vague about eventual citizenship.

Obama's plan is simply the D.R.E.A.M. act which failed to make it through the leglislature. The D.R.E.A.M. act would provide a path to citizenship. But, unlike the "E" plan, it would extend entitlements to offenders. This includes Pell grants, food stamps, student loans and other safety net entitlements. The "E" plan puts these offenders on probation, making them ineligible for entitlements.But, it creates a legitimate route to citizenship.

The "E" plan also takes a second look at the 14th amendment. This is where we need to start! In 1866, "Born in the United States" was a direct reference to the newly freed slaves.  In the proposed "E" Amendment, this definition would be redefined as "anyone born of at least one parent having permanent alien resident status." It would also clarify the "birther issue" by affirming that anyone born of "at least one parent having attained permanent resident alien status would have all of the rights and privileges of an American." In other words, they could run for President or Vice President of the United States of America.

This proposed legislation is truly a "bridge for the moderates." And, in full view, it is superior to Rubio's proposal! It is certainly a better option than the Presidents!

Best of all, it forces the country to go "English only" with all official documents, voting ballots, drivers license testing and literally anything government sponsored, or under the auspices of the federal government. It virtually eliminates voter fraud. It puts a major dent into the identity theft crisis, creating tens of thousands of domestic jobs in the process!

This is about a stronger, smarter, more secure America. The present course does nothing but Balkanize the nation. In the name of political correctness!

I would challenge Senator Rubio to take a look at the "E" proposal. It will be a winner for him. Both with the Immigrant community and long time Americans.

"E" is about making us "one." If there was ever a time to have such a discussion, it's certainly now!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Dark Side of America

His name was Peter Labruno.(A suedonym) His voice echoed South Philly. He made it clear that it would not be a problem if the subject creditor's identity was compromised. He went on to tell me that his company received fifty dollars per credit report from their "clients." He was referring to the debtors' credit reports.

Peter worked for a collection agency. The professional description is a "debt organization service." He emphasized that he "had no issue with his associates selling "clients" credit reports "out the back door."

In this case the ready buyer for this wealth of private information was AmericaQuest, a subprime lender. When I asked Peter if it might create a compliance problem, he assured me that "most of the guys working here have felonies on their record. It's not a big deal."

That wasn't reassuring! But, it was pretty typical!

The debt recovery industry is completely out of control. Neither, Mitt Romney, the expected Republican nominee, or the incumbant president has had much to say about it. Maybe it's time both parties took a fresh look at it. There may be reasons for the reluctance.

When someone proposed the idea of a "S.A.F.E. like" industry test for debt recovery most political leaders sat on their hands. Maybe they thought that we were "overreacting?" Perhaps they also knew that key contributors to their campaigns might be impacted. True, there have been overtures such as the Fair Debt Recovery Act. But the questions regarding (a) where the collectors sat, (b) the ethics used by these collectors and (c) the actual recovery in relation to the original debt were disregarded.

We need to put this obscure industry under the microscope. Have you had a call from "Jerry from New Dehli" or "John from Taiwan?" If you don't have any "dings" on your bureau, perhaps not. Consider yourself lucky if your don't!

The fastest growing crime in America is identity theft. The debt recovery industry has little if any regulation. Most of it has been outsourced to Asia, the "home of the master computer hacker."The problem is awareness. Only those who have missed a payment or have suffered through some mistake have entered into this private hell. It's called, "pay up, owe it or not, or we'll ruin your credit!"

This is simply the "ugliest part of America." It is the conclusion that "we will ruin your life, because your credit often reflects your character. We will harass you unmercifully if you don't pay...whether you owe it or not! Doesnt't matter if it's $50 or $50,000."

Todays global landscape includes a new breed of debt recovery specialists. They are tough, unscrupulous and take no prisoners. In the logic of debt collectors, the "Golden rule" is for losers and idiots. What's important is making those who owe pay. And if they don't? Haunt them until they see the light and pay up! Period!

Have we reached this point? Afraid that we have! What's next? The most common solution is bankrupcy. This has become an accepted "tool." Twenty years ago, it was scorned, considered a last ditch option for the hopelessly indebted. Today, it is actually encouraged. Knowing that the alternative is "Jerry from New Dehli" and a distinction of being a person lacking in "moral turpitude," the debtor acquiesces.

The question becomes, "is recovering what are generally nickels and dimes worth it?"

After all, the original creditor is lucky to receive "tens cents on a dollar" from debt recovery companies! In the case of a $1500 credit card debt, that equates to $150. Okay! $150 is better than nothing! But what if the debt is half that? Or one-third that? Now we're talking about $50 to $75. And the amounts continue to grow smaller.

Hospitals commonly turn over delinquent accounts owing $30 to collection agencies! I guess they need the three dollars! Unfortunately, these "nickels and dimes" can force a borrow into less desirable credit terms on a major purchase, such as a home or car loan. Good riddance? Serves the "deadbeat" right for not paying! BUT, what if they don't actually owe this money? Amazingly, this is often the case!

Problem identified. Now for a solution!

Let's start by banning all offshore help. It's time for "Jerry from New Delhi" and "John from Tawwan" to say "adieu." A legislative ban of these delightful entities will help! We need to make it clear that this job is "verboten" to all help outside our borders! For those who don't believe it, a $10,000 fine per occurance will await them!

Then, for those inside the borders, a "100 question exam, following an F.B.I. record check," to make sure that there has been no "funny business" in the applicants' past MUST BE IMPLEMENTED. The exam will he rigorous. It will rival the S.A.F.E. exam in difficulty for the taker.

Any collection under $500 will be disallowed for reporting! In other words, if the collection is less than $500, it cannot be reported to the bureaus. If it is, the perpetrator will face a $5,000 fine and a twelve month incarseration in a correctional facility. Nine dollar an hour clerks in accounting departments will not be spared.

Why would we be so willing to give these "deadbeats" a break? Two reasons:

(a) The company might receive 10% of the balance. Selling a $500 collection to a collection agency for $50 isn't going to make one rich. But it can seriously hurt the recipient! Is it really worth it! Has anyone heard of the Golden rule? Or, have we turned it all over to computers?

(b) The second reason is pretty obvious! We want to build a middle class, not destroy it. Simple credit dings can be the difference in elevating a lifestyle or not. True, the original creditor has the right to recover his fifty bucks. But the effort to recover the fifty dollars is now imbeded in the system. A better option would be to encourage companies to keep the debts in-house and work out repayment terms with their borrowers.

The end result will yield more positives than negatives. Such as more borrowers with better credit scores. Not to mention fewer bankruptcies! It's time to "stop tripping over a dollar to make a dime."

In short, protecting middle class interests is more important that making $50. We must look past this "he owed it, or they said that he owed it! Let him pay or make him pay!" It's important for credit reports to be cherished, and protected. We need to give all of our middle class borrowers the benefit of the doubt!

The debt recovery industry is the "dark side of America." We need to get it under control. REALLY under control. It should be as regulated as Securities or Mortages. If anything, more so.

It's time for political leaders to stop running from this issue. They need to deal with it. It's the unspoken nightmare of the middle class. It MUST be addressed.


We must get past these dogmatic vocalists who think that "if they owe it, they owe it. No quarter. To hell with them! May 'em pay." This point of view may give gratification to a few. But is it condusive to bettering the country?

For those who don't care, think about this: "What if it were you?" Don't say it couldn't be. Never say never!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

An Unexpected Ally for English as Official Language

Have you checked your credit card balance lately?

Some can triumphantly proclaim, "thank God, I don't have credit cards!" But for those of us who might, it's painfully obvious that the person we often speak to on the other end isn't local! In fact, they are quite a ways off! As in on the other side of the planet!

To have an intelligent discussion about identity theft prevention, we must first determine potential security breaches. Which leads to the first question: "Should consumer sensitive information be entrusted to someone not required to conform to the normal security measures required in the United States?"

To work in banking, securities, insurance, real estate or mortgage lending a person must be fingerprinted and checked by the F.B.I. in Washington, D.C. for prior arrests, felonies and misdemeanors. Are these same rules required for employees working offshore? Fair question.

In reality, some of these companies are so large, they may not be able to answer the question! What they can tell you is that "in America, companies would be required to pay $7.25 per hour for this help. In India, Central America, Indonesia and the Philippines, it is MUCH cheaper." Furthermore there are often no overtime requirements, benefit standards and cumbersome restrictions that can come with banking in America.

Consumers may find this "help" somewhat deficient at times. But the alleged tradeoff is cost. Or, in their case savings. Most never think past the point of "free" services. We have been conditioned to think globally. It is assumed that the only important consideration is the cost of the service.

As internet use has risen, so has identity theft. Is there a correlation between increased offshore employment in the service sector and identity theft? Fortune 500 companies would say "no" and suggest that any link between the two is "coincidental."

Most Americans take the practice for granted. However, when brought to light, it's easy to say, "wait a minute!" Why are we taking these jobs abroad when we have high unemployment at home? It's a fair question.

Defenders of the practice are quick to point out that "only encrypted" social security numbers are utilized. This isn't always the case. But even in instances that it is, four digits may be four digits too many! Some of the finest internet hackers in the world reside in Asia. Therefore, why even take such chances?

This is a great non-partisan issue. It is politically popular to bash companies who would compromise Americans' privacy, in the name of making an increased profit. The thought of banning the practice would spread like a prairie fire across the parched West Texan Llano in August!

Packaging this measure with a sweeping bill that featured English as the Official Language would be doubly delightful! If there was ever an idea that would cross party lines it's "banning any and all offshore outsourcing that utilized all or part of an Americans' social security number." The identity theft prevention foundations would be receiving a major consideration. American politicians could talk about "returning tens of thousand jobs to our shores."

Amazingly, no English foundation has considered pairing with anti-identity theft advocates. Yet, the two causes actually parallel." English, as the official language, would impact information processing in America. "Making Americans the masters of the English language" points toward a goal of an eventual world monopoly on English information processing. It will begin with banking and the financial services sector. Debt recovery, an industry sorely in need of restraints will follow. The last link will be accurate credit reporting.

It begins with linking "English only" with identity theft prevention. Expect some flak!

Diversity cultists would be horrified at such a Populist proposition. It completely discredits their claim that English as the country's official language "discriminates." It makes it possible for proponents to correctly align diversity cultists with globalists. In a mood of growing nationalism, America is looking for scapegoats. It would be a severely inopportune time for any constituency to oppose either measure.