A new Federal Prison, has been built in a small town in the Northeast. We will not name the town, but note these details. It was put there, ostensibly, to "create jobs". But there is a problem. It has not opened. It has been repeatedly delayed. And this is the bad part, it will not open for a while, if ever.
Because the law says that a federal prison employee must have a good credit report for employment. This prison is in a town that has been hit by lay offs, closings and unemployment because of the economy. There aren't enough people in the town with a clean credit report for the prison to staff up.
Thus, no prison, no jobs, no economic recovery. The irony is, that the town, the politicians, all wanted the prison, to bring jobs and economic recovery. But the credit scoring system of the United States, of our credit card industry and banking industry is holding it back. The system cannot understand or allow for giant depressions or recessions. It just calculates a score. "You got laid off. You are unemployed. You missed 2 payments. Your credit score dives." Period.
50,000,000 Americans are now "locked out" of consumer spending. Time for a change "If America is to recover as a consumer economy, credit must be restored to consumers". says Ben Boothe, former banker and president ofhttp://www.benboothe.com
Consider, it is estimated that over 50,000,000 Americans now have damaged credit, or credit reports that would not allow them to purchase a home, car, or even a lap top computer. The traditional wisdom has been that it takes a person 7 years to "repair" his credit to gain it back, and even then, the limits can be strict.
If the United States is an economy that runs on consumer spending, and consumer spending has been financed by credit, consider the impact of 50,000,000 Americans taken out of the economy.
These Americans are living on cash, or debit cards. When their dollars are gone, they don't buy gas, go out to eat, buy clothes, and they certainly don't buy TV sets, trucks, tools, or clothes. Many do not even buy groceries. The last few days before their social security or unemployment check arrives, they eat soup, rice, beans, or sometimes, less.
50,000,000 Americans that cannot buy a car, is a significant financial penalty for and should alarm car manufacturing companies. Walmart must be concerned when their number of transactions increase, but the total dollar volume declines. More and more people are paying by cash, because they have no other choice.
The credit system today, is based upon a formula that is so secret, the formula confidential to the point that few bank presidents even know how it is calculated. But one thing is certain. There is going to have to be a change in the credit scoring system in the United States, otherwise the consumer economy will never recover to the level that is should be.
It is my suggestion that we have a system that like the Biblical system of ancient days, allows an amnesty, a forgiveness, and a "start over" for the millions who have been impacted and who have little chance of recovery without some change in the system.
A system that would say: "If a person goes 6 months with no late payments, will get his credit score upgraded to 675" would give those 50,000,000 people a change to get back in the game. To get back into the system, to enjoy a chance as the economy gradually recovers. Or…we could ignore the situation and go back to the days when people kept their savings in a pillow or hidden in a kitchen jar.
How about the politicians and leaders of our nation start discussing an "Amnesty" for bad credit to allow Americans to get back on their feet. Remember, it was not the fault of the average taxpaying citizen, that this economy fell. It was not the fault of main stream Americans, that Wall Street and Banking decided to push for deregulation and then abuse the system with pure greed. It was the rich and powerful who got their "bail outs" while Americans are paying the bill, with this heavy economic disaster weighing on them like a ton of bricks. While the fat cats are flying their Lear Jets, often paid for by taxpayer bail out funds, perhaps we should level the playing field a bit, and change this credit system to give those who wish to again dream of a better life, a chance?