We Need a New Barometer Besides Credit Scores

I'll admit it. I don't have a very good credit score. Most people develop bad credit from failing to pay credit card bills or make mortgage...

I'll admit it. I don't have a very good credit score. Most people develop bad credit from failing to pay credit card bills or make mortgage payments. My not-so-good credit comes from a different, more nefarious source: I don't like spending money I don't have.Until a few years ago, I refused to even get a credit card. A debit card, I reasoned, allowed me to participate in e-commerce and to enjoy the benefits of a cashless economy without putting me in hock. In fact, I was only forced to get a credit card because my local video store refused to accept a debit card as collateral. Sadly, it seems that without a credit card-without borrowing money-you aren't a real member of society.As I have come to various milestones in my adult life, it's become harder and harder to participate with my anti-credit attitude. Getting my first apartment was difficult-it was almost as if I didn't exist. And now that I've been forced to get a credit card, I keep the limit low so as to not allow me to go into debt for more money than I can pay with what is in my bank account. This doesn't help my credit either.In effect, I am being penalized for being as fiscally responsible as possible. And, in the wake of an enormous financial crisis brought on by people spending money that they did not have, that should not be something we encourage. We can and should be reforming Wall Street and adding new regulation, but true change would begin at the bottom and affect all Americans: a new way of calculating people's financial worthiness that gives credit to people who have never borrowed money.

This chart shows how credit scores are calculated.Sure, there are some necessary items-cars, houses-that must be bought on credit (though, if everyone refused to buy them at prices that required credit, trust me, the prices would start coming down. Perhaps you've shopped for a house in Detroit recently?), so ability to pay back a loan is something that we need to calculate. But shouldn't cash on hand and income be much better barometers of that ability than the fact that you have, in the past, been forced to borrow money for other things you couldn't afford-even if you were able to pay that money back? To put it another way, a person with no credit should be a person with perfect credit.So, for what it's worth, I'd like to call for a change in the way credit scores are calculated and how much they are relied upon. The idea that being a fully functioning member of society requires you to live a life of borrowed cash is utterly wrongheaded and doesn't enforce the kind of values we need to turn this economy around and make sure this doesn't happen again.
via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

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For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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via / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

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The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

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