Like many Americans, I have occasionally found myself somewhat embarrassed by credit-card debt. Such was my situation last month, after a spell of unemployment. It wasn’t a huge amount of money, but it was keeping me awake at night. I could just hear the usurious interest tick-tick-ticking up.
Finally I borrowed the amount again a weensy, I might even say derisory, pension account I have, at a rate of interest much more favorable to me, and paid down the entire account.
You would have thought the heavens had fallen. The credit card people promptly canceled the card. The phone was ringing off the hook. Fraud alert!
But hope springs eternal. They sent me another card. I went to energize it on the phone, and an extraordinary rigmarole ensued. Was I a US citizen?
Now I’m sure there’s some more or less ineffectual scheme to prevent money laundering — or rather, unauthorized money laundering — behind this craziness. But the unintended message is awfully clear: You’re not paying 17% interest on a loan, and you call yourself an American?!?!