In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 17, 2006 / 25 Tishrei, 5767

Banks play dirty, rotten card tricks

By Lenore Skenazy

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Zero percent interest — till we jack it up the wazoo! No late fees — until you're late! Low, low monthly payments — so you can say in debt forever!

Ah, if only the credit card companies laid it on the line like that. But of course, why would they? They're making fistfulls of dough hiding their fees and penalties deeper than the peanuts in Cracker Jack.

How MUCH dough? In 2003, Americans paid almost $8 billion in credit card fees — quadruple what we paid in 1996. Hey, when being one hour late on your payment costs $34, it adds up fast! And so do the penalties for going over your credit limit.

Oh, you didn't know that when you go over your limit, your card is no longer automatically declined? Now it buys your item AND a $35 penalty AND a penalty rate: 30% from now on. Too bad you didn't read page 13, paragraph 4, section d. The card companies are fleecing Americans so efficiently, even the government is taking notes!

Er, notice.

A report last week by the General Accountability Office — that's Congress' investigative arm — concluded that the info provided by most card companies in fact exhibits "various weaknesses that reduced consumers' ability to use it and understand it."

Which makes the GAO sound like a credit card company itself. So here's how my friend James puts it:

"They are dirty and nasty."

He ought to know. He got socked with a couple of those late fees, making it even harder for him to pay off his balance. "All I was doing was paying the interest!" says the Harlem retiree. "It had to be about 25%."

And, frankly, 25% doesn't even sound that bad anymore, compared to the 30% rates — and higher — being generated by a new practice called "universal default."

Under universal default, already employed by roughly half of all the card companies, if you're late paying ANY bill - even (if it gets outsourced to a collections agency) your LIBRARY BILL — your credit card is allowed to jack up your interest rate as if you had paid ITS bill late.

The GAO report disapproved of this, too — or at least the fact that most consumers have no idea this could happen to them, thanks to the card companies' legalese.

In response, Edward Yingling, president of the American Bankers Association, was quoted as saying, "The disclosure system is not working well. It needs to be fixed."

Not working well? Oh please — the "disclosure system" is working exactly the way the companies want it to. It's perfect! It's so exquisitely misleading that we are now spending $90 billion a year in interest and penalty payments. That's $90 billion of our money with nothing to show for it except credit card company profits!

How hard would it be for a statement to say: "Here's your bill. Pay it PRONTO or we'll soak you dry. Go over your limit, we'll soak you dryer. Pay by phone, there's gonna be a fee. Pay by computer, we just imposed a new fee. Pay any OTHER bill late and..."

You get the idea. So does the GAO. Now let's hope Congress does, too, and forces the credit cards to let us in on their tricks. Or, even better: Stop using them!

But I'm open to a special introductory offer.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Lenore Skenazy is a columnist for The New York Daily News. Comment by clicking here.

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