Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Make-It-Up Stage

There I was, all set to post about the latest chapter in the mendacious marketing of Target Iran. Then I saw that someone had already taken care of it nicely, so I'll just link to him here.

Indisputable fact: the last two major wars the U.S. has fought---Vietnam (Tonkin) and Iraq (WMD's)---have been based on faulty, cherry-picked, or flat-out fabricated intelligence. (I'm not including Operation Desert Storm as a "major war.") If our senior military leaders had gotten their way during the early 1960's, there would have been another such war in Cuba (link here).

Americans fancy themselves as virtuous and benevolent. And in many ways that's indeed the case. But many Americans---particularly conservatives---also idealize the U.S. as a reluctant warrior. How does that self-image comport with reality and history?

There's a good reason why the Bush administration has never cited specific intelligence to indicate the proximity of Iran's nuclear capability: our intelligence community is on record with an estimate that such capability is about a decade away. And just a few days ago, former IDF Chief of Staff and ultra-hawk Moshe Ya'alon conceded that Iran is at least three to five years from the ability to build a bomb. Since the intelligence is inconvenient, the administration has marketed Target Iran via hints, intimations, and imminent-mushroom-cloud-redux dark warnings. And if that doesn't work, they'll simply make stuff up. With the Bush/Rumsfeld statements about Iran's purported connection to Iraqi IED's, we just got a glimpse of that.

There are some very good reasons why the Mullahs should be prevented from getting the bomb. But that makes it no less understandable why Iran and other nations--nervously eyeing our proven ability and rogue-like eagerness to invade others based on false pretenses---might want to protect themselves with the ultimate deterrent.

49 Comments:

Blogger St!ff M!ttens said...

Here's an amusing graphic from Bagnewsnotes related to this issue:

IED

3/15/2006 6:20 PM  
Anonymous Antonie said...

Now there you have an excellent goal: to be a "reluctant warrior." Let's elect one of them next time.

3/15/2006 8:02 PM  
Blogger semper fubar said...

We should have heeded Eisenhower's warning. The Military Industrial Complex has metastasized beyond our control, engulfing our economy, our foreign policy and increasingly, our domestic policy.

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

3/15/2006 10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Bush may run out of time before he is out of office - but I am just betting that if they can't get to Iran while they are in office then they are laying the groundwork for the next Republican administration that I am sure they think will begin the day after Bush leave office.

3/16/2006 8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iraq does not need to shop for IED materials in Iran. They got bombs for days. Did BushCo conveniently forget the veritable potpourri contained in the humongous bunker the military failed to secure on its way to Bagdad.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

A payday loan is a short-term loan that you promise to pay back from your next pay cheque. A payday loan is sometimes also called a payday advance.

Normally, you have to pay back a payday loan on or before your next payday (usually in two weeks or less). The amount you can borrow is usually limited to 30 percent of the net amount of your pay cheque. The net amount of your pay cheque is your total pay, after any deductions such as income taxes. For example, if your pay cheque is $1,000 net every two weeks, your payday loan could be for a maximum of $300 ($1,000 x 30%).

Before giving you a payday loan, lenders will ask for proof that you have a regular income, a permanent address and an active bank account. Some payday lenders also require that you be over the age of 18.

To make sure you pay back the loan, all payday lenders will ask you to provide a postdated cheque or to authorize a direct withdrawal from your bank account for the amount of the loan, plus all the different fees and interest charges that will be added to the original amount of the loan. The combination of multiple fees and interest charges are what make payday loans so expensive (Click here for an explanation of the various fees associated with these types of loans.

The lender should also ask you to sign a loan agreement. If the lender does not offer to give you a copy of the loan agreement, ask for one. Read this document carefully before signing it, and keep a copy for your records

How and when do I pay back the loan?
A payday loan agreement usually says that you must pay the total amount you owe for the loan on or before the date stated in your loan agreement. This includes the amount you borrowed, plus interest and any additional fees and charges.

Some lenders will cash your postdated cheque or process your direct withdrawal on the day the loan is due. However, some lenders may require that you pay the loan in cash, on or before the due date.

If you have not paid the loan in cash by the due date, some lenders may cash your cheque or process the direct withdrawal you signed on the day after your loan's due date, and charge you another fee. Ask the lender what the most inexpensive way is for you to repay your loan.

How does a payday loan affect my credit report?
Credit-reporting agencies collect information on whether or not you make your payments on time. This information, also called your "credit history", is part of your credit report and is used to calculate your credit score.

Making payments on time can help improve your credit score by demonstrating that you are able to manage your debt. Even if you have poor credit, you can rebuild it by using a credit card or other type of credit and paying back the money you owe on time.

This is not the case with payday loans. Since payday lenders are not currently members of the main credit-reporting agencies, getting a payday loan and paying it off on time will not improve your credit score. However, if you do not pay your loan back on time and it is sent to a collection agency, this will likely be reported to a credit-reporting agency and could have a negative impact on your credit report.

How much will a payday loan cost?
A payday loan is much more expensive than most other types of loans offered by financial institutions such as banks or credit unions. Before you apply for a payday loan, find out about all the fees and charges you will have to pay — including the fees you will be charged if you cannot repay the loan on time. The fees may not be easy to see right away, so read the agreement carefully before signing it. If you do not receive an explanation of all of the fees, charges and interest that will apply to the loan, or if you are not satisfied with the explanation you receive, do not sign the loan agreement.

How does the cost of a payday loan compare with other credit products?
Payday loans are much more expensive than other types of loans, including credit cards. But how much are you really paying? How does the cost of a payday loan compare with taking a cash advance on a credit card, using overdraft protection on your bank account or borrowing on a line of credit?

Let's compare the cost of using different types of loans. We'll assume that you borrow $300, for 14 days. Note the considerable difference in the cost of each type of loan.

Things to consider before you apply for a payday loan
Even if you think you may be turned down, ask your bank or credit union for overdraft protection on your bank account, or a line of credit. These are relatively inexpensive ways of obtaining access to extra funds, for short-term use.


If you are turned down for any of these credit options, ask why. If the reason is that you have a poor credit history, contact the three credit-reporting agencies to get a copy of your credit report. Read the reports carefully to make sure that all of the information in it is correct. If you find any errors, contact the credit-reporting agency to find out how you can have the information corrected. The three major credit-reporting agencies in Canada are Equifax Canada, TransUnion Canada and Northern Credit Bureaus. All three of these agencies will give you a copy of your credit report for free if you request that it be sent to you by regular mail.


Ask yourself if you really need to take out a loan, or whether you can get by until your next pay cheque. If you need the money immediately, try to make other arrangements. For example, you may be able to cash in vacation days. Or you might consider getting a short-term loan from a family member or a friend.


If you find that you need to apply for a payday loan because you have no alternative, only borrow an amount that you are 100 percent sure you can repay on the due date of the loan.


Don't borrow more than you need.

Things to consider if you take out a payday loan
Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Read carefully — and take home with you — a copy of the loan agreement that you are being asked to sign. Don't feel pressured to sign the loan agreement right away if you have questions and want more time to read through the agreement on your own. If the lender does not want to give you a copy of the agreement, look for another lender.


Be sure to ask about all the fees, charges and interest that apply when you first get the loan, and what other charges you will owe if you can't pay the loan back on time.


If you are taking out a payday loan at another location to pay back the first payday loan, or you are extending or "rolling over" the loan that you had with the same lender, you could find yourself in serious financial difficulty. The fees, charges and interest will add up quickly on these types of loans, which can put you into serious debt.
How can I figure out the cost of each type of loan?
To estimate the total cost of a loan, including the annual cost of the loan expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed, follow the steps below.

Step 1:

Determine how much interest you will pay. First, find out the annual interest rate that applies to the loan (if there is one). Figure out the daily interest rate by dividing the annual interest rate of the loan by 365 days. Then, multiply that rate by the length of time you are taking the loan. Finally, multiply the result by the amount you will borrow, in dollars:


Amount of interest

= Annual interest rate

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
365 days × Length of the loan
(number of days) × Amount of the loan

Step 2:

Determine the total cost of the loan by adding any fees that may apply to the interest you will have to pay. Find out what fees apply to the loan and add them to the cost of the interest, found in Step 1:


Total cost of the loan = Amount of interest + Total fees


Step 3:

Estimate the annual cost of the loan, expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed. First, divide the total cost of the loan, found in Step 2, by the amount of the loan. Then, divide this rate by the length of time you are taking the loan (in days) and multiply it by 365 (the number of days in the year):


Annual cost of the loan (%)

= Cost of the loan

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Amount of the loan ÷ Length of the loan
(number of days) × 365 days

Let's find out the cost of a $300 payday loan, taken for 14 days.

We'll assume that the lender charges you a one-time set-up fee of $10 and a service fee of $40, which includes interest on the loan.


Step 1:

Determine how much interest you will pay. In this case, there is no interest fee. The interest is therefore $0.


Step 2:

Figure out the cost of the loan by adding together any fees that apply and the interest you will have to pay. In this case, you would add the $10 set-up fee and the $40 service fee together:

$10 + $40 = $50


Step 3:

Estimate the total annual cost of the loan, expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed:


Annual cost of the loan (%)

= Cost of the loan

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Amount of the loan ÷ Length of the loan
(number of days) × 365 days
= $50
———— ÷ 14 days × 365 days
$300
= 4.35 or approximately 435%

The total cost of the payday loan would be $50 with an annual cost of 435 percent of the amount borrowed.






Information asymmetries are common in credit market models, but the usual assumption,

at least in commercial lending, is that borrowers are the better informed party and that

lenders have to screen and monitor to assess whether firms are creditworthy. The opposite

asymmetry, as we assume here, does not seem implausible in the context of consumer lending.

“Fringe” borrowers are less educated than mainstream borrowers (Caskey 2003), and many

are first-time borrowers (or are rebounding from a failed first foray into credit). Lenders

know from experience with large numbers of borrowers, whereas the borrower may only have

their own experience to guide them. Credit can also be confusing; after marriage, mortgages

are probably the most complicated contract most people ever enter. Given the subtleties

involved with credit, and the supposed lack of sophistication of sub-prime borrowers, our

assumption that lenders know better seems plausible.

While lenders might deceive households about several variables that influence household

loan demand, we focus on income. We suppose that lenders exaggerate household’s future

income in order boost loan demand. Our borrowers are gullible, in the sense that they can

be fooled about their future income, but they borrow rationally given their beliefs. Fooling

borrowers is costly to lenders, where the costs could represent conscience, technological costs

(of learning the pitch), or risk of prosecution. The upside to exaggerating borrowers’ income

prospects is obvious—they borrow more. As long as the extra borrowing does not increase

default risk too much, and as long as deceiving borrowers is easy enough, income deception

and predatory—welfare reducing—lending may occur.

After defining predatory lending, we test whether payday lending fits our definition. Payday

lenders make small, short-term loans to mostly lower-middle income households. The

business is booming, but critics condemn payday lending, especially the high fees and frequent

loan rollovers, as predatory. Many states prohibit payday loans outright, or indirectly,

via usury limits.

To test whether payday lending qualifies as predatory, we compared debt and delinquency

rates for households in states that allow payday lending to those in states that do not. We

focus especially on differences across states households that, according to our model, seem

more vulnerable to predation: households with more income uncertainly or less education.

We use smoking as a third, more ambiguous, proxy for households with high, or perhaps

hyperbolic, discount rates. In general, high discounters will pay higher future costs for a

given, immediate, gain in welfare. Smokers’ seem to fit that description. What makes the

smoking proxy ambiguous is that smokers may have hyperbolic, not just high, discount rates.

Hyperbolic discount rates decline over time in a way that leads to procrastination and selfcontrol

problems (Laibson 1997). The hyperbolic discounter postpones quitting smoking,

or repaying credit. Without knowing whether smokers discount rates are merely high, or

hyperbolic, we will not be able to say whether any extra debt for smokers in payday states

is welfare reducing.2

Given those proxies, we use a difference-in-difference approach to test whether payday

lending fits our definition of predatory. First we look for differences in household debt

and delinquency across payday states and non-payday states, then we test whether those

difference are higher for potential prey. To ensure that any such differences are not merely

state effects, we difference a third time across time by comparing whether those differences

changed after the advent of payday lending circa 1995. That triple difference identifies any

difference in debt and delinquency for potential prey in payday states after payday lending

was introduced.

Our findings seem mostly inconsistent with the hypothesis that payday lenders prey on,

i.e., lower the welfare of, households with uncertain income or households with less education.

Those types of households who happen to live in states that allow unlimited payday loans

are less likely to report being turned down for credit, but are not more likely, by and large,

to report higher debt levels, contrary to the overborrowing prediction of our model. Nor are

such households more likely to have missed a debt payment in the previous year. On the

contrary, households with uncertain income who live in states with unlimited payday loans

are less likely to have missed a debt payment over the previous year. The latter result is

consistent with claims by defenders of payday lending that some households borrow from

2Consistent with a high discount rate, Munasinghe and Sicherman (2000) discover that smokers have

flatter wage profiles and they are willing to trade more future earnings for a given increase in current earnings.

Gruber and Mulainathan (2002) find that high cigarette taxes make smokers ”happier,” consistent with

hypberbolic discount rates (because taxes help smokers commit to quitting). DellaVigna and Malmendier

(2004) show how credit card lenders can manipulate hyperbolic discounters by front-loading benefits and

back-loading costs.

payday lenders to avoid missing payments on other debt. On the whole, our results seem

consistent with the hypothesis that payday lending represents a legitimate increase in the

supply of credit, not a contrived increase in credit demand.

We find some interesting differences for smokers, but those differences are harder to

interpret in relation to the predatory hypothesis without knowing apriori whether smokers

are hyperbolic, or merely high, discounters.

We also find, using a small set of data from different sources, that payday loan rates

and fees decline significantly as the number of payday lenders and pawnshops increase.

Reformers often advocate usury limits to lower payday loan fees but our evidence suggests

that competition among payday lenders (and pawnshops) works to lower payday loan prices.

Our paper has several cousins in the academic literature. Ausubel (1991) argues that

credit card lenders exploit their superior information about household credit demand in their

marketing and pricing of credit cards. The predators in our model profit from their information

advantage as well. Our concept of income delusion or deception also has a behavioral

flavor, as well, hence our use of smoking as a proxy for self-control problems. Brunnermeier

and Parker (2004), for example, imagine that households choose what to expect about future

income (or other outcomes). High hopes give households’ current “felicity,” even if it

distorts borrowing and other income-dependent decisions. Our households have high hopes

for income, and they make bad borrowing decisions, but we do not count the current felicity

from high hopes as an offset to the welfare loss from overborrowing.

Our costly falsification (of household income prospects) and costly verification (by counselors)

resemble Townsend’s (1979) costly state verification and Lacker andWeinbergs’ (1989)

costly state falsification. The main difference here is that the falsifying and verifying comes

before income is realized, not after.

More importantly, we hope our findings inform the current, very real-world debate,

around predatory lending. The stakes in that debate are high: millions of lower income

households borrow regularly from thousands of payday loan offices around the country. If

payday lenders raise household welfare by relaxing credit constraints, anti-predatory legislation

may lower it.

Payday lenders make small, short-term loans to households. The typical loan is about $300

for two weeks. The typical fee is $15 per $100 borrowed. Lenders require two recent pay

stubs (as proof of employment), and a recent bank account statement. Borrowers secure

the loan with a post-dated personal check for the loan amount plus fees. When the loan

matures, lenders deposit the check.

Payday lending evolved from check cashing much like bank lending evolved from deposit

taking. For a fee, check cashiers turn personal paychecks into cash. After cashing several

paychecks for the same customer, lending against f uture paychecks was a natural next step.

High finance charges is the main criticism against payday lenders. The typical fee of $15

per $100 per two weeks implies an annual interest rate of 15x365/14, or 390 percent. Payday

lenders are also criticize for overlending, in the sense that borrowers often refinance their

loans repeatedly, and for ”targeting” women making the transition from welfare-to-work

(Fox and Mierzewski 2001) and soldiers (Graves and Peterson 2004).

Despite their critics, payday lending has boomed. The number of payday advance offices

grew from 0 in 1990 to 14, 000 in 2003 (Stegman and Harris 2003). The industry originated

$8 to $14 billion in loans in 2000, implying 26-47 million individual loans. Rapid entry

suggests the industry is profitable.

Payday lenders present stiff competition for pawnshops, even though the internet, namely

E-bay, significantly foreclosure costs for pawnshops (Caskey 2003). The number of pawn

shops in the U.S. grew about six percent per year between 1986 and 1996, but growth

essentially stalled from 1997 to 2003. Prices of shares in EZCorp, the largest, publicly

traded pawn shop holder, were essentially flat or declining between 1994 and 2004, while

Ace Cash Express share prices, a retail financial firm selling check cashing and payday loans,

rose substantially over that period (Figure 4). EZCorp CEO, Joseph Rotunday, blamed

payday lenders for pawnshops’ dismal performance:

The company had been progressing very nicely until the late 1990s.... (when)

a new product called payroll advance/payday loans came along and provided our

customer base an alternative choice. Many of them elected the payday loan over

the traditional pawn loan. (Quoted by Caskey (2003) p.14).

Payday lending is heavily regulated (Table 1). As of 2001, eighteen states effectively

prohibited payday loans via usury limits, and most other states prices, loan size, and loan

frequency per customer (Fox and Mierzwinski 2001). Note that the payday loan limit ranges

from 0 (where payday loans are illegal) to 1250. Nine states allow unlimited payday loans.

Payday lenders have circumvented usury limits by affiliating with national or state

chartered banks, but the Comptroller of the Currency—the overseer of nationally chartered

banks–recently banned such affiliations. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation still

permits payday lenders to affiliate with state banks, but recently restricted those partnerships

(Graves and Peterson 2005).

Regulatory risk—the threat of costly or disabling legislation in the future—looms large for

Payday lenders. The Utah legislature is reconsidering its permissive laws governing payday

lending. North Carolina recently drove payday lenders from the state by expressly outlawing

the practice.

Heavy regulation increases the cost of payday lending. High regulatory risk increases limits

entry into the industry and increases the expected return required by industry investors.

Driving up costs and driving away investors may be exactly what regulators intended if they

view payday lending as predatory.
We define predatory lending as a welfare reducing provision of credit. Households can be

made worse off by borrowing if lenders can deceive households into borrowing more than is

optimal. Excess borrowing reduces household welfare, and may increase default risk.

We illustrate our concept of predatory lending in a standard model of household borrowing.

Before we get to predatory lending, we review basic principles about welfare improving

lending, the type that lets households maintain their consumption despite fluctuations in

their income.

The model has two periods: today (period zero) and payday (period one. Household income

goes up and down periodically, but not randomly (for now): income equals zero today

and y on payday. If households consume Ct in period t, their utility is U (Ct).Household welfare

is the sum of utility over both periods: U (C0)+δU (C1), where δ equals the household’s

time rate of discount. Households with high δ value current consumption highly relative to

future consumption. In other words, high discounters are impatient.

A digression here on discount rates serves later discussion. In classical economics δ is

constant. If δ changes over time, so does household behavior, even if nothing else changes.

If δ(t) is hyperbolic, households will postpone unpleasant tasks until current consumption

does not seem so precious relative to future consumption (Laibson 1997). With hyperbolic

discounting, that day never arrives, so hyperbolic discounters have behavioral problems: they

procrastinate. They may never repay debt, much less begin saving. Hyperbolic discounters

who start smoking may never quit.

Returning to the model, if the marginal utility of consumption (U 0) is diminishing, households

will demand credit to reduce fluctuations in their standard of living. Households

without credit, however, must fend for themselves (autarky). Welfare under autarky equals



U(0)+δU (y). The fluctuations in consumption for households without credit make autarky

a possible worst case, and hence, a good benchmark for comparing cases with credit.

If households borrow B at interest rate r, welfare equals U (B) + δU (y − (1 + r)B).

Borrowing increases utility in period zero, when the proceeds are consumed, but lowers utility

in period one, when households pay for their borrowing. Rational, informed households trade

off the good and bad side of borrowing; they borrow until the marginal utility of consuming

another unit today just equals the marginal, discounted disutility of repaying the extra debt

on payday:



U 0(B) = δ(1 + r)U 0(y − (1 + r)B). (1)

Equation (1) determines household loan demand as a function of their income, their

discount rate, and the market interest rate: B(y, δ, r). For standard utility functions,

household loan demand is increasing in income and decreasing in the discount factor and

interest rate: By > 0; Bδ < 0; Br < 0. Household welfare with optimal borrowing equals



U (B(y, r, d))+δU (y − (1+r)B(y, r, δ)). As long as households follow (1), their welfare with

positive borrowing must be higher than without (autarky).

The welfare gain from borrowing depends on the cost of credit production. Suppose the

cost of lending $B to a particular household equals (1 + ρ)B + f, where ρ represents the

opportunity cost per unit loaned and f is the fixed cost per loan. Think of f as the cost

of record-keeping and credit check required for each loan, however large or small the loan

may be. If the going price for loans is (1+r) per unit borrowed, the lenders’ profits equal

(r − ρ)B − f.



With perfect competition among lenders, the loan interest rate is competed down until

it just covers the costs of the loan: r = ρ + f /B. Equilibrium r and B are determined

where that credit supply curve equals demand (1).

Equilibrium in the payday credit market is illustrated in Figure (3). If fixed costs per loan

are prohibitively high, the market may not exist. Perhaps the payday lending technology

lowered the fixed cost per loan enough to make the business viable.3 Before the advent of

payday lending, households who applied to banks for a very small, short-term loan may have

been denied.

Fixed costs per loan imply that smaller loans will cost more per dollar borrowed than

larger loans. That means households with low credit demand will pay higher rates than

households with high loan demand. Loan demand is increasing in income, so high income

households who demand larger quantities of credit will enjoy a ”quantity” discount, while

lower income households will pay a ”small lot” premium, or penalty. That price ”discrimination”

is not invidious, however; the higher cost of smaller loans reflects the fixed costs of

lending. The high price of payday loans may partly reflect the combination of fixed costs

and small loan amounts (Flannery and Samolyk 2005).

A usury limit lowers household welfare. Suppose the maximum legal interest rate is r.



At that maximum rate, the minimum loan that lenders’ cost is f /(r− ρ) = B. Low income

households with loan demand less than B face a beggar’s choice: borrow B at r or do not

borrow at all. Such households would be willing to pay more to to avoid going without

credit, so raising the usury limit would raise welfare for those households.

Competition is another key determinant of how much households gains from borrowing.



3Alternatively, or additionaly, the demand for small, short term loans may have increased in the mid

1990s. The welfare reform then almost certainly increased demand for such credit as households who once

”worked” at home for the government were forced to go to work in the market.

Even with no competition — monopoly—households cannot be worse off than under autarky.

The monopolist raises interest rates until the marginal revenue from higher rates equals the

marginal cost from lower loan demand:



B(y, r) = −(r − ρ)Br(y, r). (2)

At that monopoly interest rate, rm, household loan demand equals B(y, rm).Household welfare

under monopoly equals U (Br(y, rm))+δU (y −(1+rm)Br(y, rm)). Welfare is lower under

monopoly because credit costs more and their standard of living fluctuates more (because

costly credit reduces their demand for credit) If households borrow from the monopolist,

however, they must better off than without credit.

In sum, welfare for rational households is highest if credit is available at competitive

prices. If households choose to borrow, they must be at least as well off as they were

without credit. Limiting loan rates cannot raise household welfare and may reduce it.

Monopoly lenders lower household welfare, but even with a monopolist, households cannot

be worse off than without credit.

The high cost of payday lending may partly reflect fixed costs per loan. Before payday

lending, those fixed costs may have been prohibitive; very small, short-term loans may not

have been worthwhile for banks. The payday lending technology may have lowered those



fixed costs, thus increasing the supply of credit to low income households demanding small

loans. That version of the genesis of payday lending suggests the innovation was welfare

improving, not predatory.





In the textbook model household welfare cannot be lower than under autarky because households

are fully informed and rational. Here we show households how can be made worse off



than without credit if predatory lenders can delude households about their (households’)

future income.

Suppose that by spending C(τ ), lenders can convince a prospective borrower that her

income on payday will be y +τ. The cost C can be interpreted variously as the cost of a guilty

10/14/2007 1:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Credit cards have
revolutionized the purchasing experience since Diners Club released
the first credit card in the year 1950.

The Dinners Club credit card gave consumers limited credit that, at
times, even surpassed the personal savings of some participants. It
allowed them to buy items they usually could not afford if they were
to make a straight cash purchase. It also provided the convenience and
safety of not having to carry large amounts of cash.

On average, American households possess 4 credit cards or a total of
13 payment cards if debit cards and store cards are included. There
are, actually, 1.3 billion payment cards of assorted types in
circulation in the United States.

But, if you think that credit cards have made the lives of modern
American consumers easier, you may be wrong...

Statistics show that the average credit card debt for each household
in the U.S. is $4,800 per month. Also, there were 1.3 million credit
card holders declaring bankruptcy in the year 2003.

And if you still consider yourself unaffected by credit card debt,
then consider this: upon retirement, most Americans can only expect to
receive about 37% percent of their annual retirement income because of
prior debt payment. This will leave many individuals depending on the
government, family and charity for economic survival.

These are some scary facts. So before you find yourself in a position
of economic uncertainty, it might be wise to evaluate your spending
and current credit card debt.

If your credit card debt exceeds what seems to be a reasonable level,
you may want to consider credit card debt consolidation.

So what is credit card debt consolidation?

In a nutshell, credit card debt consolidation is taking all your
credit card payments and consolidating them into one monthly payment.
This way, you dont have to worry about managing the payments
individually. Aside from this advantage, it may also provide you with
the following additional benefits:

- Reduce interest payments
- Waive late and overtime fees
- Reduced monthly payments
- Debt relief in a shorter time
- Credit improvement
- Save more money in the long run

There are actually two major types of credit card debt consolidation...

You may want to consider a Credit Card Counseling firm. They assist
consumers by consolidating all their monthly payments into one single
payment and then dispersing this to the creditors on behalf of the
consumers.

The other type is through a home equity loan or other secured loan.
This is done by exchanging an unsecured debt (such as
credit card debt) for a secured debt (a debt backed by specific assets
such as real estate

Debt1Consolidation.com

11/08/2007 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Credit cards have
revolutionized the purchasing experience since Diners Club released
the first credit card in the year 1950.

The Dinners Club credit card gave consumers limited credit that, at
times, even surpassed the personal savings of some participants. It
allowed them to buy items they usually could not afford if they were
to make a straight cash purchase. It also provided the convenience and
safety of not having to carry large amounts of cash.

On average, American households possess 4 credit cards or a total of
13 payment cards if debit cards and store cards are included. There
are, actually, 1.3 billion payment cards of assorted types in
circulation in the United States.

But, if you think that credit cards have made the lives of modern
American consumers easier, you may be wrong...

Statistics show that the average credit card debt for each household
in the U.S. is $4,800 per month. Also, there were 1.3 million credit
card holders declaring bankruptcy in the year 2003.

And if you still consider yourself unaffected by credit card debt,
then consider this: upon retirement, most Americans can only expect to
receive about 37% percent of their annual retirement income because of
prior debt payment. This will leave many individuals depending on the
government, family and charity for economic survival.

These are some scary facts. So before you find yourself in a position
of economic uncertainty, it might be wise to evaluate your spending
and current credit card debt.

If your credit card debt exceeds what seems to be a reasonable level,
you may want to consider credit card debt consolidation.

So what is credit card debt consolidation?

In a nutshell, credit card debt consolidation is taking all your
credit card payments and consolidating them into one monthly payment.
This way, you dont have to worry about managing the payments
individually. Aside from this advantage, it may also provide you with
the following additional benefits:

- Reduce interest payments
- Waive late and overtime fees
- Reduced monthly payments
- Debt relief in a shorter time
- Credit improvement
- Save more money in the long run

There are actually two major types of credit card debt consolidation...

You may want to consider a Credit Card Counseling firm. They assist
consumers by consolidating all their monthly payments into one single
payment and then dispersing this to the creditors on behalf of the
consumers.

The other type is through a home equity loan or other secured loan.
This is done by exchanging an unsecured debt (such as
credit card debt) for a secured debt (a debt backed by specific assets
such as real estate

Debt1Consolidation.com

11/08/2007 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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9/20/2010 9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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10/03/2010 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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10/24/2010 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cannabis, also known as marijuana (sometimes spelled "marihuana among many other names refers to any number of preparations of the Cannabis plant intended for use as a psychoactive . The word marijuana comes from the Mexican Spanish marihuana. According to the United Nations, cannabis "is the most widely used illicit substance in the world."[5]
The typical herbal form of cannabis consists of the flowers and subtending leaves and stalks of mature pistillate of female plants. The resinous form of the drug is known as hashish (or merely as 'hash').
The major psychoactive chemical compound in cannabis is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (commonly abbreviated as THC). Cannabis contains more than 400 different chemical compounds, including at least 66 other cannabinoids (cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN) and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), etc.) which can result in different effects from those of THC alone.
Cannabis use has been found to have occurred as long ago as the 3rd millennium BC] In modern times, the drug has been used for recreational, religious or spiritul, and medicinal purposes. The UN estimated that in 2004 about 4% of the world's adult population (162 million people) use cannabis annually, and about 0.6% (22.5 million) use it on a daily basis.[9] The possession, use, or sale of cannabis preparations containing psychoactive cannabinoids became illegal in most parts of the world in the early 20th century Since then, some countries have intensified the enforcement of cannabis prohibition, while others have reduced it.

2/16/2011 2:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Large number of similar exposure units. Since insurance operates through pooling resources, the majority of insurance policies are provided for individual members of large classes, allowing insurers to benefit from the law of large numbers in which predicted losses are similar to the actual losses. Exceptions include Lloyd's of London, which is famous for insuring the life or health of actors, sports figures and other famous individuals. However, all exposures will have particular differences, which may lead to different premium rates.
Definite loss. The loss takes place at a known time, in a known place, and from a known cause. The classic example is death of an insured person on a life insurance policy. Fire, automobile accidents, and worker injuries may all easily meet this criterion. Other types of losses may only be definite in theory. Occupational disease, for instance, may involve prolonged exposure to injurious conditions where no specific time, place or cause is identifiable. Ideally, the time, place and cause of a loss should be clear enough that a reasonable person, with sufficient information, could objectively verify all three elements.
Accidental loss. The event that constitutes the trigger of a claim should be fortuitous, or at least outside the control of the beneficiary of the insurance. The loss should be pure, in the sense that it results from an event for which there is only the opportunity for cost. Events that contain speculative elements, such as ordinary business risks or even purchasing a lottery ticket, are generally not considered insurable.
Large loss. The size of the loss must be meaningful from the perspective of the insured. Insurance premiums need to cover both the expected cost of losses, plus the cost of issuing and administering the policy, adjusting losses, and supplying the capital needed to reasonably assure that the insurer will be able to pay claims. For small losses these latter costs may be several times the size of the expected cost of losses. There is hardly any point in paying such costs unless the protection offered has real value to a buyer.
Affordable premium. If the likelihood of an insured event is so high, or the cost of the event so large, that the resulting premium is large relative to the amount of protection offered, it is not likely that the insurance will be purchased, even if on offer. Further, as the accounting profession formally recognizes in financial accounting standards, the premium cannot be so large that there is not a reasonable chance of a significant loss to the insurer. If there is no such chance of loss, the transaction may have the form of insurance, but not the substance. (See the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board standard number 113)
Calculable loss. There are two elements that must be at least estimable, if not formally calculable: the probability of loss, and the attendant cost. Probability of loss is generally an

2/16/2011 5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


In the United States, although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does acknowledge that "there has been considerable interest in its use for the treatment of a number of conditions, including glaucoma, AIDS wasting, neuropathic pain, treatment of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, and chemotherapy-induced nausea," the agency has not approved "medical marijuana". There are currently 2 oral forms of cannabis (cannabinoids) available by prescription in the United States for nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy: dronabinol (Marinol) and nabilone (Cesamet). Dronabinol is also approved for the treatment of anorexia associated with AIDS. The FDA does facilitate scientific investigations into the medical uses of cannabinoids.
In a collection of writings on medical marijuana by 45 researchers, a literature review on the medicinal uses of Cannabis and cannabinoids concluded that established uses include easing of nausea and vomiting, anorexia, and weight loss; "well-confirmed effect" was found in the treatment of spasticity, painful conditions (i.e. neurogenic pain), movement disorders, asthma, and glaucoma. Reported but "less-confirmed" effects included treatment of allergies, inflammation, infection, epilepsy, depression, bipolar disorders, anxiety disorder, dependency and withdrawal. Basic level research was being carried out at the time on autoimmune disease, cancer, neuroprotection, fever, disorders of blood pressure.
Glaucoma, a condition of increased pressure within the eyeball causing gradual loss of sight, can be treated with medical marijuana to decrease this intraocular pressure. There has been debate for 25 years on the subject. Some studies have shown a reduction of IOP in glaucoma patients who smoke cannabis, but the effects are generally short-lived. There exists some concern over its use since it can also decrease blood flow to the optic nerve. Marijuana lowers IOP by acting on a cannabinoid receptor on the ciliary body called the CB receptor. Although Cannabis may not be the best therapeutic choice for glaucoma patients, it may lead researchers to more effective treatments. A promising study shows that agents targeted to ocular CB receptors can reduce IOP in glaucoma patients who have failed other therapies.
Medical cannabis is also used for analgesia, or pain relief. It is also reported to be beneficial for treating certain neurological illnesses such as epilepsy, and bipolar disorder. Case reports have found that Cannabis can relieve tics in people with obsessive compulsive disorder and Tourette syndrome. Patients treated with tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive chemical found in Cannabis, reported a significant decrease in both motor and vocal tics, some of 50% or more. Some decrease in obsessive-compulsive behavior was also found. A recent study has also concluded that cannabinoids found in Cannabis might have the ability to prevent Alzheimer's disease. THC has been shown to reduce arterial blockages
Another potential use for medical cannabis is movement disorders. Cannabis is frequently reported to reduce the muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis; this has been acknowledged by the Institute of Medicine, but it noted that these abundant anecdotal reports are not well-supported by clinical data. Evidence from animal studies suggests that there is a possible role for cannabinoids in the treatment of certain types of epileptic seizures.A synthetic version of the major active compound in Cannabis, THC, is available in capsule form as the prescription drug dronabinol (Marinol) in many countries. The prescription drug Sativex, an extract of cannabis administered as a sublingual spray, has been approved in Canada for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

2/21/2011 2:27 AM  
Anonymous escort madrid said...

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5/16/2011 5:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lawyer according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law."Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political and social authority, and deliver justice. Working as a lawyer involves the practical application of abstract legal theories and knowledge to solve specific individualized problems, or to advance the interests of those who retain (i.e., hire) lawyers to perform legal services.
The role of the lawyer varies significantly across legal jurisdictions, and so it can be treated here in only the most general terms.

5/29/2012 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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1/25/2015 11:28 PM  

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