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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about credit cards, Social Security, and the decline of printed news.

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A credit card is a practical necessity

Regarding J.H. Huebert's Aug. 13 Opinion piece, "I exploit credit cards. So should you.": I agree that using the zero percent balance transfer and similar offers can be helpful to consumers – although the companies might well have mitigated that by the increased charges for transferring balances (I, too, read the small print).

However, I must take issue with the comment that "No one's forced to get a credit card at all." Having tried, very hard, on several occasions to function without credit cards, I beg to differ.

Unless a person lives in a very limited world; has a job that requires only working in one place (not traveling); is willing to put up with not repairing cars, appliances, or houses; or is willing to forgo medical care when it seems necessary, credit cards are quite necessary.

Even the local taxing entities tell people to charge the taxes to the credit cards rather than making the entities wait on payments when a taxpayer can't pay the entire amount. (I also happen to think this is a very irresponsible attitude for the taxing entities to take, but that's another matter.)


In response to Mark Lange's Aug. 13 Opinion piece, "The outrage in your credit card's fine print": There's a big difference between abusive/predatory practices and unattractive ones. Abusive ones merit review for potential government intervention; unattractive ones merely warrant – in clear language – upfront disclosure, so that a reasonable consumer can intelligently decide whether to sign on.

Few, if any, of the objections Mr. Lange raises involve abuse. He does clarify, however, that there may be cause for the government to take pains to better educate the consumer so that sounder decisions are made in the financial marketplace.


Include all incomes in Social Security

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