Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders is calling for a political revolution. Part of his proposed revolution is breaking up the big financial institutions on Wall Street. His call has touched the hearts and minds of many progressive Democrats between the ages of 18 – 35. Let’s delve a little deeper into this proposal.
First of all, we understand (somewhat) how this change would affect Wall Street, but what about us on Main Street? Not much. We who live on Main Street are struggling with low and/or stagnant wages, and high debt, including student loans. There is talk to address these issues but, in the meantime, there is another huge problem that no one is talking about – the credit bureaus that track our income and expenditures. First of all…why are there three of them with differing information? How is it they can post anything they want on our records without our prior knowledge, consent, or confirmation? Why do we have the responsibility of monitoring their records and correcting errors when we see them, or have to hire another company (and spend money we don’t have) to do the work for us? Why do they have more information on us than we have on ourselves? Why are we considered guilty of negative information they post, instead of being innocent until proven guilty? Minimally, this practice causes unnecessary purchase and credit denials, and STRESS. How did we become so complacent in accepting this blatant violation of our Constitutional rights? Doesn’t the 4thamendment of the Constitution protect us from unreasonable search and seizure? Well, let’s see.
Remember COINTELPRO, the counterintelligence program of the FBI that spied on many Americans, particularly African Americans? COINTELPRO was found illegal in the 1970s; however, after September 11th, the spying program was resurrected and called the Patriot Act. Fortunately, this Act expired a few years ago after we found out that the National Security Administration was reading all of our e-mail. I don’t remember (and I’m old) voting on or agreeing to corporations tracking my finances. Some folks might say, “Well, that’s just the way it is.” Really? Since when?
Just because corporations have the technology to track people this way, does not give them the right to do it. We should be able to control our own information, and share information we choose when we are negotiating a deal. Corporations should not have more information on us than we agree to share with them. They should not be able to call an unknown database and approve or disapprove a negotiation, saying they will send a written explanation later in the mail. The current practice has created a financial caste system that disproportionately affects people of color, given America’s history of redlining and structural racism. It is obscene. While we are considering a political revolution, we need to focus on one of the major infringements that directly affect us – credit bureaus. Let us raise our voices to end this system of undue surveillance and oppression. Eradicate the system.
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