“You control the debt; you control everything. You find this upsetting, yes? But this is the very essence of the banking industry, to make us all, whether we be nations or individuals, slaves to debt.” – Actor Luca Giorgio Barbareschi as arms producer, Umberto Calvini, in The International.

luca

We don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt. In fact, for the next 10 years, it’s gonna be in a sustainable place.” – President Barack Obama on Good Morning America.

Guess the first quote in particular explains why Southwest Airlines sends me a sustainable Visa credit card application every week. And I thought Southwest just wanted to fly me to different places on the map.

It’s an airline, not a bank…Right? And yet, the “other” income line on Southwest’s annual income statement rose from $490 million in 2010 to $765 million in 2011 and to $835 million in 2012. Is there any doubt that credit card debt payments are included in LUV’s “other” income?

Can you say, “ka-ching?”

For a while it was Victoria Secret catalogues that were relentless. All they wanted was for me to admire the eye candy photography, and then to spend money for skimpy delightful things here and spend more money for skimpier delightful things there.

Southwest Airlines is using the prospect of two “free” tickets to entice a longer (month-to-month) commitment. They want servitude at 18 percent or higher interest. My Banana Republic card charges 24 percent interest, if I make the unfortunate decision to run a balance.

It would be easy to dismiss The International as just a 2009 film, starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts, which was either loved or panned by the critics. Looking deeper, the movie is based upon the Bank of Credit and Commerce International scandal (e.g., money laundering/financial crimes) of the 1980s. The now-defunct $20 billion bank with 30,000 employees was chartered in Luxembourg before it was shut down by regulators.

BCCI

The sinister bank in the movie is called The International Bank of Business and Credit…surprise, surprise…also based in Luxembourg. This is no coincidence.

One must wonder whether then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger actually knew what he was doing when he made his historic secret trip to the People’s Republic of China in 1971. Soon thereafter. his boss President Richard Milhous Nixon, was toasting Chairman Mao, relaxing tensions between American democracy and Chinese communism just a smidge.

Little did anyone know that this trip led to the unthinkable: Marxist China would become the credit card bank for the majority of America’s record $17.4 trillion debt (and counting). And yet this debt, which equates to more than 100 percent of the nation’s GDP,  is deemed “sustainable” by the leader of the free world.

As the ad by Citizens Against Government Waste suggests will our sons and daughters be working for China to repay the debt. Will China control everything? Will we as a nation become slaves to the debt? Have we already crossed this threshold?

Recently, CNBC reported based upon figures from the U.S. Census that debt-carrying U.S. households had “dropped” from 74 percent in 2000 to 69 percent in 2011 with a median debt load of $70,000. Does that mean that we should be popping champagne corks because Americans holding credit card debt “decreased” from 51-38 percent in those same years. For seniors, the average debt is $26,000.

Shouldn’t our seasoned citizens be safe and secure in their Golden Years?

If a debt plane slammed into a New York skyscraper or torpedoed a battleship in Hawaiian waters, we would certainly rally as a nation. The issue is that debt accumulation is stealth and silent. The sun comes up the next day. The birds chirp away. The bees buzz. Life goes on to the tune of nearly $1 trillion of new debt each year, let alone the mounting debt loads for states, municipalities, homeowners and credit card holders.

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Why should we worry?

The banks are happy. States (e.g., China) that serve as banks are happy. And we are mostly happy too. After all our slavery to debt is “manageable.”

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100582392

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_International_%282009_film%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_of_Credit_and_Commerce_International

http://www.quotefully.com/movie/The+International/Umberto+Calvini

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/03/president-obama-there-is-no-debt-crisis/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LUumD0MwL8

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