I recently received a letter in the mail from my bank. They were urging me to help them help me. The letter asked that I sign an agreement to keep my overdraft protection service. This "service" has been the benign of my existence for some time. Instead of declining transactions when funds weren't available, it allowed me to buy my coffee and then tacked on a $30 fee. I've stormed into Chase a few times ranting and raving but I will finally be liberated from this ghastly courtesy.
New rules force banks to have customers consent to the overdraft protection "service", rather than providing them with it whether they like it or not. Bank of America has decided to do away with overdraft protection all together, based on customer responses. Whereas Chase (my bank) is aggressively trying to get customers to sign up. Citibank never had overdraft protection.
Ironically, I use my debit card purposely to avoid spending money that I don't have. Chase has been using nightmare scenarios to convince people they need overdraft protection such as: "you're in a drugstore and you need baby formula", "your car has broken down" "you have an emergency over the weekend and you get paid on Monday."
For me, the most nightmarish scenario came from a study by the FDIC: if you make a $20 purchase and spend $27 in fees and bring your account back to zero in about two weeks, you are paying an annual percentage of 3,520.
I think I'll pass.
source: The New York Times
Health Care Reform May Pass this Week
Health-care reform is practically an oxymoron in this country, but it is possible that this is about to change. According to the New York Times, “The White House and Congressional leaders put Democrats on notice Friday that they would push ahead next week toward climactic votes on the health care legislation.”
Currently, there are roughly 46 million uninsured Americans, and it has been estimated that some 45,000 Americans die every year because they do not have access to health care. Passage of this bill would extend health-care coverage to all Americans, and put an end to preventable deaths.
Economist and columnist, Paul Krugman, writes, “This is a reasonable, responsible plan. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise… it would make a huge difference to the less fortunate among us, even as it would do more to control costs than anything we’ve done before.”
If this bill does not pass, it is a mathematical certainty that the percentage of Americans Krugman blandly refers to as “less fortunate” will continue to grow. This is the moment when America decides if health care is a privilege or a right. Next is the future where America lives with that decision. Here’s hoping the answer leads to a future of care for all.
Image Source: http://northcoastcafe.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/08/17/health_care.png
Pop a Pill, Live Longer
Exciting new findings reveal that women who took the birth control pill in the late 1960’s could live longer than their non-pill-popping contemporaries.
According to a British Medical Journal report published Friday, March 12, the study began in 1968 and followed over 46,000 women through four decades. The women, most of who took the pill for four years, showed a 38% reduced rate of death from bowel cancer and a 12% reduced death rate from any other disease. Researchers are quick to point out that this study reports only on women who took the pill in the late 60’s and might not be applicable to women taking more modern forms of birth control today.
The pill releases synthetic hormones that prevent ovulation from occurring, but that does not explain how the pill promotes longevity; more research will have to done to determine its exact science.
Here are a couple of thoughts, though: Perhaps not being pregnant, or perhaps the absence of child-related stress, leads to less disease. Or maybe—could it be possible—that sexual activity lead to a longer life?
Image Source: http://www.youthsexualhealth.ubc.ca/home/projectfiles/2d2e183ec05a8e29931cf7efaefaa675/pill.jpg