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Reason Foundation

Dear Congress, Your Credit Application Has Been Turned Down

Why should the American people keep extending credit to Capitol Hill?

A. Barton Hinkle
May 20, 2011

The Honorable _________
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable _________
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Mr. or Ms. _______,

Thank you for your interest in the American Public Trust's Gold Card credit program. Rest assured your application has been given thorough and careful consideration by the American people.

After reviewing the information provided in your application as well as your credit report, we regret to say that we are unable to extend you further credit at this time. The reasons for our decision are as follows:

(1) Inadequate income.Our records indicate that your annual income for the 2011 taxable year was $2,170,000,000,000. You have requested a credit limit of $17,000,000,000,000. These figures exceed the American Public's debt-to-income guidelines for credit issuance.

(2) Excessive spending. The receipts you provided indicate your annual expenditures for the 2011 fiscal year total $3,820,000,000,000, or $1,650,000,000,000 more than your total income for the year. The American Public prefers that its members of Congress maintain a positive or neutral rather than a negative cash flow.

(3) High debt utilization. Your credit report indicates that you have a credit limit of $14,300,000,000,000, and of that amount you have utilized $14,300,000,000,000, for a debt utilization ratio of 100 percent. Consumer banking industry guidelines recommend a debt utilization ratio of no greater than 30 percent for standard creditworthiness, and 10 percent for exemplary creditworthiness. A debt utilization rate of 100 percent meets our classification of "You're *&^%$#@! kidding, right?"

(4) High credit activity. Our records indicate you have credit accounts open with the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States, the Social Security Administration, the People's Bank of China, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Bank of the Republic of Burundi, Bank Frick & Co. AG Liechtensteiner Privatbank, Quik-Cash Loans, Three Gold Balls Pawn Shop (Ann Arbor, Mich.), MyFast Loan.com (Antigua), paydayloans-r-us.com (Cayman Islands), Frank the bartender (Old Towne Tavern), and several members of the extended family of Salvatore "Sammy Meatballs" Montigliano of Montclair, N.J. While account activity threshholds vary by lender, your activity exceeds American Public guidelines for further credit issuance.

(5) Multiple recent credit inquiries. Records indicate your credit report has been accessed more than 6,437 times in the past 60 days. Inquiries may be triggered by applications for credit, employment or both and represent one factor in determining an applicant's loan risk to a credit issuer. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), as amended, requires businesses to have legitimate grounds for requesting your credit history. If you feel your credit information is inaccurate or has been accessed for unacceptable reasons, you may wish to contact the Federal Trade Commission.

(6) Multiple account charge-offs. Balances left unpaid for more than sixty (60) days may affect your creditworthiness. Your credit report indicates unpaid balances from Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq); Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan); the Troubled Asset Relief Program; the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act; the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act; the Cash for Clunkers Extension Act; the Worker, Homeowner, and Business Assistance Act of 2009; the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010; and others too numerous to list.

Member of Congress, please understand that the American people's decision was based on information obtained from a report from one of the following three consumer credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, or Trans- Union. The reporting agency did not make the credit decision.

You have the right under the amended Fair Credit Reporting Act to request a free copy of your credit report once each calendar year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies listed above. You can order your report from annualcreditreport.com or the Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

You may also wish to contact a consumer credit counseling agency. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling can help you locate a reputable counseling agency in your area. You may also wish to visit the NFCC's website for helpful tips on such subjects as

•drawing up a budget
•living within your means
•saving during tough economic times
•steps to take when your finances get out of control

In the event that you can provide documentation of changes to your credit status, we will be happy to evaluate another application for credit from you at that time. We hope to have the opportunity to meet your credit needs in the future.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the American people during regular business hours. Please do not contact us at home. If you call us after 9 p.m. and wake the baby, there will be hell to pay.

Sincerely yours,

We the People

A. Barton Hinkle is a columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. This article originally appeared at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. This column previously appeared at Reason.com.



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