Nation’s biggest challenge, credit card debt

Nation’s biggest challenge, credit card debt

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Nation’s biggest challenge, credit card debt

The nation’s biggest challenge, credit card debt. Credit cards are destroying this nation and its people, mortgaging the future and undermining our economy. We need to crack down on the banks and limit the amount of interest they can charge.

By Ray Hanania

RayHananiaColumnPodcast_I remember the JFK assassination. I remember the 9/11 terrorism. And, I remember the very first time I used a credit card. How many people remember that?

The Vietnam War ended and I had been transferred to an Air National Guard base in Peoria.

When I got home to Burbank, I borrowed my mom’s car to drive to Peoria. She gave me a plastic card and she explained I could use it to get gasoline from Shell.

Wow, how the world changed since I left to join the fight against the Commie-bastards!

The tank was filled and I jumped in without thinking, pretty much the same way we got into the Vietnam War, and later the Iraq War. I drove to Peoria. On the way back, I passed a Shell Station outside of Pontiac.

Credit card

Credit card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I didn’t fill up the tank, the owner did. And he checked the oil and cleaned the windshield, too, something only homeless people do these days. The gasoline cost $6 and I handed him the plastic card. A few minutes later, he returned and said it didn’t work.

I was in uniform, and that buzz cut was still fresh down the back of my neck. Turned out the owner served during World War II.

He told me I could mail the money when I got home. And I did, as soon as I got home. With a letter explaining how much I appreciated his courtesy, and his respect ,which came from trust.

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Little did I know that paying off credit card debt would soon become a life-long struggle, like trying to lose weight, and trust would become a thing of the past.

Credit card debt is our biggest challenge not only for individuals but for the entire country. Credit cards have taught us to mortgage the future, something as it turns out, government does all too well.

Credit cards let us buy what we can’t afford. Usually junk we don’t really need.

If I could tell one thing to young people, it’s to avoid using a credit card.

If I could tell one thing to congressmen – as if they would listen – I would say crack down on credit card interest rates. They are really out of line.

The other day I got this expensively designed letter and costly brochure from Discover that lavished praise and played to my ego. I have a great credit rating.

(Why do they get to know more about my credit history than I do?)

They begged, pleaded and cajoled me to sign-up for their card. They even offered me no interest for six months.

Buried deep in all of it was the interest rate they would charge: 25 percent. Gangsters don’t charge “25 percent.”

Credit card companies can charge outrageous interest, even though the average consumer barely earns 1/2 percent on their savings accounts: Actually our “savings account” is really money we give to the bank for “protection.” Gangsters call it “pizzo.” They charge us to use our money so they can make huge profits. It’s a twisted “protection racket.”

If all things were equal, the bank should ONLY be allowed to charge 5 percent above the Federal Prime Interest rate (3.5 percent today).

The banks are gangsters. Like Columbian drug killer Pablo Escobar and Mexican murderer El Chapo Guzman, the bankers give huge amounts of money to the politicians so the politicians can protect their interests, not the interests of the people.

We must change that. Why do we care more about helping foreign countries than helping our own people?

Why is the issue of immigration more important than credit card debt?

I miss that moment in time when two strangers could meet as “Americans” with a shared purpose and goal based on a sense of courtesy, respect and trust.

That’s true patriotism. Caring about fellow Americans and addressing the real problem we face in this country, mounting credit card debt. Mounting government debt. Mortgaging the future of our children to give political insiders huge pensions to secure their future while the rest of us struggle with barely enough to survive.

Give me a leader who truly cares about that!

(Ray Hanania is an award winning former City Hall reporter and political columnist. Email him at

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

Click here to send Ray Hanania and email.

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Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com
Ray Hanania