Chapter 26:       OBLIGING ALL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS TO OPERATE

                              ON A UNIFORM CALENDAR FOR THE BENEFIT OF CONSUMERS?


 

MOTION: That the Rudd Government immediately seek to require all financial institutions to operate on a standardised, 4 weeks per month, 13 month financial year for the benefit of consumers.

Rationale:

As to how the existing tricky calendar year can be economically and efficiently applied to the financial system is really a non-sequitur. Many people may like the Gregorian calendar because it exactly repeats itself only once every 400 years! Would that consideration be more than enough variety to avoid boring some people with repetition within their life spans? That consideration may please those who appreciate endless variety within their own lifetimes which is difficult to achieve otherwise. For lots of information about the history of calendars, refer to the following site:

http://charon.nmsu.edu/~lhuber/leaphist.html

However, the Gregorian calendar does not lend itself readily to economic efficiency and fiduciary justice for the less well off in our society. In fact the irregularity inherent in the Gregorian calendar is ripe for exploitation by unscrupulous banks. Correction via regulation would minimise the prospect of punitive overdraft fees being applied due to inadvertent insufficiencies of funds at the time of the direct debit occurring.

For example, consider a common scenario such as that where a low income pensioner family endeavours to make regular $50 per calendar month home insurance premiums for example – if they are lucky enough to own a home, that is. If the premium being paid via direct debit from the family bank account occurs irregularly with respect to fortnightly pension payments, then the opportunities for financial institutions to benefit from consumers failing to have sufficient funds available on the due calendar date are augmented massively. The financial system’s demands for such irregular arrangements are nothing less than scams to make the rich richer and the poor poorer as usual. Consider for example, the “Australian Pensioners Insurance Agency’s” TV advertising that prattles on about caring and understanding, to attract customers. More lies and more hubris? If they actually cared as much as they claim, then they would re-jig their calendar monthly insurance premium payments to lunar monthly payments to coincide with regular pension payments. But not so – the only conclusion is that their CEO cares only about monster personal salaries and perks, otherwise the call for simple reforms would have been heeded long ago. To date, pleas from members to effectively change periodic insurance premium payments from irregular to regular direct debits have been ignored. Would that be due to senility in the CEO ranks?

The Commonwealth Bank has been advertising on being “Determined to be different”. In what way are they different? As with all of the major banks, they charge customers punitively for trivial overdrafts and for direct debit bounces, astronomically out of proportion to the cost of providing the service. The CBA has long way to go to be different to any other bank in that regard.

For pensioners, the immediate and obvious problem is that Insurance companies typically refuse to re-jig their premiums to be based upon 13 regular 28-day lunar months rather than 12 irregular calendar months for the benefit of consumers. A pensioner would then be able to organise direct debits on pension day, without fail. Then, today’s bank rip-offs as orchestrated by bank CEOs would be much diminished. Every dopey Pollie, who reckons that he or she is worth squillions per annum, just like CEOs of banks and other public companies, merely panders to the immorality of stealing from the poor to make the already wealthy, absurdly richer.

Pollies like Howard PM and Treasurer Costello, who insist that market forces are the most efficient method of running an economy, must be blinkered fools? Or perhaps they are simply hankering for satisfying their own greed post-politics? Or are they completely morally and ethically corrupt? Public corporate CEOs don’t need to be really smart, simply to be able to exploit the anomalies inherent in irregular calendar date based payment systems.

Maybe that’s why our Pollies reckon that they are worth just as much as big-time CEO’s, but don’t have the democratically-driven-nous to apply economic rationalisation to Pollie sinecures. Apparently, allowing big companies that make political donations to be able exploit the poor with impunity, so that their CEOs can be immorally rewarded, is hunky dory for our major parties and H&C in particular. Otherwise they would have done something about it long ago, in the name of “Doing what’s in the national interest”.

How smart would Costello have had to be to recognise the nature and the depth of the problem and to have done something about it? Having failed to legislate for change prior to the 2007 Election, he would not be likely to do so as PM if ever that state of affairs came to pass sometime in the distant future, would he? Costello was a status quo supporter to the Future Fund backbone. No consultation with the people and no democratic change needed to run an undemocratic government thanks. Costello had his sights set on a post-parliamentary squillionaires’ job as a reward for having failed to hold the banks to account.

How difficult would it be to figure out that regular fortnightly or lunar monthly direct debits would allow such payments to be arranged to coincide with pension payments? If H&C had wanted to promise something useful to help out “Howard’s Battlers” and maybe win a few more votes, then such a rationalisation would have immediate appeal to a broad church of voters.

 

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