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voodoo economics in the ‘independent’

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to article startThis is the fourth in a series of documents that analyse manipulative writing techniques used by reporters, and others, in order to promote their own political agendas.


The ‘Independent’

Ah is guaranteed!!

“Consumers teeter on the edge of borrowing precipice

“As banks warn that defaults are rising, the advice agencies are gearing up for action. David Prosser reports

“Published : 04 June 2005

“HBOS this week became the third bank in 10 days to warn that the number of consumers defaulting on debt repayments has risen sharply this year.”

I feel great sympathy and pity for the banks that are once more caught with bad debts. Get out the violins....

“The Halifax Bank of Scotland group says that its bad-debt provisions will increase markedly this year. It is now tightening its lending requirements to try to get on top of the problem.”

Well, at least they act rationally eventually.

“HBOS's warning follows similar alerts from both Barclays and HSBC last week, amid increasing concern that Britons may finally be running into trouble in repaying the £1trn of consumer debt now outstanding.”

The ‘understanding’ of the writer is typical of the ‘Independent’.
You owe the bank £500, you have problems.
You owe the bank £1 trillion, the bank has problems.

“The Bank of England's latest consumer-credit figures, also published this week, show that borrowers are continuing to spend more on credit cards and personal loans.”

And why not? Borrowers make a judgement call. That is how free markets work.

“ And, while last month's rise was the smallest for four years, [...] ”

In other words, the rate of high interest borrowing is on the way down. That is down, which is different from up. That will mess up the bank profits.

“[...] some debt experts believe that many borrowers may have passed the point where showing some restraint will get them out of trouble.”

I always like articles that refer to “some”, so much less precise than sums.

“The three banks' warnings are the latest signs this year that a debt crisis is imminent.”

What is one of those????

“ In April, for example, the Government announced that 37,900 people went bankrupt over the year to the end of March, [...] ”

Gloriana - the sheer awfulness of it. That’s nearly 1 in 1,500. It must be the end of the world.

“[...] a 30 per cent increase on the previous year.”

4 is a 30% rise over 3 - nearly!

“And figures from Credit Suisse First Boston suggest that borrowers will default on £4.5bn of bank loans and credit-card debt this year.”

How dreadful. That’s nearly ½% of the money on which banks have been collecting large rake-offs since god knows when. Surely this must be the end of civilisation as we know it?

“The defaults come as people struggle with higher mortgage bills than a year ago - there were five increases in the Bank of England base rate over the 18 months to last August.”

Well, naturally. Inflation takes at least 18 months to 2 years to filter through. So, with rises not hurting before the election, it was safe to do that [the UK general election was on 10 May 2005].

“A reduction in the number of interest-free deals on offer from credit-card lenders has also prevented people moving debt around so easily, which may previously have masked the extent of their borrowing.”

Life is hard, and then you die. Surely no-one with an ounce of sense imagined the ‘free’ rates would go on after the banks had idiotsville caught in the net?

“For now, lenders are not panicking.”

But the ‘Independent’ is, of course. Those fossil media idiots live in a permanent panic. Comes of being innumerate socialists.

“ Barclaycard's Ian Barber says: "You will always see ups and downs in bad debt figures during the economic cycle, but we believe that the current levels are manageable [...] ”

How boring....

“[...] in the absence of significant interest-rate rises or a sharp increase in unemployment." ”

Ah, the banks are fat and happy, but they don't believe they can squeeze much more from the lemons.

“However, the increases in bad debt at banks such as Barclays and HSBC are larger than those analysts would expect to see when the economy is not in recession. HSBC economist John Butler warns: [...] ”

Don’t worry. If major banks go bankrupt again, the government will bail out their clients with your taxes - as ever.

“ "Consumers are now very sensitive to the slightest shock.”

“We’ve squeezed until the pips squeak. I fear they are starting to squeak.”

“What is worrying is that this has happened when unemployment is still very low." One problem may be that many people are actually worse off than economic indicators suggest - high-profile job losses at companies such as Rover, for example, have yet to feed through into the official figures.”

Ah yes, the canard that a major company supplied vast amounts of ‘jobs’. Why did he bring up Rover?

“But debt advisers are concerned about the type of people in difficulty.”

The big green ones....

“John Fairhurst of the charity Payplan says: "Debt problems are no longer just the result of a change in circumstances, such as a relationship break-up or losing a job. We're seeing more people who've just been spending a little too much each month over an extended period and who find that this is now catching up with them." ”

Awful, really awful. Now they’ll have to spend a little less for a while. At least they can enjoy their hi-fi set, or their plasma tv, or their bigger house, while they squeeze on the visits to granny and the hols in Majorca for a while.

“Malcolm Hurlston of the Consumer Credit Counselling Service adds: "Broadly speaking, people adapt to changes in their circumstances more quickly than the experts predict and, in fact, real incomes have continued to rise this year. Even so, it is clear that consumer spending is slowing and that many of our clients are finding it even harder to make repayments." —

As the violins play on.....

“The CCCS took 180,000 calls from worried borrowers last year, [...] ”

How many calls did each ‘worried borrower’ make? Perhaps they were feeling lonely and wanted to moan at someone.

“ [...] and is currently hiring enough new staff [...] ”

More jobs for all those unemployed who have not appeared yet. Isn’t life just hell?

“[...] to be able to cope with 300,000 calls [...] ”

Another entrepreneur expands the business to employ those poor Rover exes.

“ [...] in 2006. Payplan says it is also hiring, with the number of calls it receives having increased rapidly over the past six months.”

Ah yes, “rapidly”. Another good word that saves you having to think or count.

“What frustrates debt advisers is that many borrowers only realise they are in trouble when a crisis point arrives.”

If that didn't happen, how would ‘debt advisors’ get employed?

“By taking action earlier, it is possible to avoid disaster.”

“Disaster” - no ice creams for a week.

“Anyone struggling to stay on top of debt should talk to one of several free advice services.”

Under pain of mortal sin.

“They may be able to help you resolve the problem by sorting out your finances.”

And pigs ‘may’ fly. Who pays for these ‘debt advisors’? Who trains them? We must be told! Is it the banks?

“There may be obvious ways to reduce the cost of debt, for example, or you may be missing out on state benefits.”

Incredible. If you’re in debt, no probs, just come to us and we’ll help you steal some more money from those who do not profligately run up debts.

“These agencies can also speak to creditors on your behalf, in order to renegotiate what you pay each month.”

Ah. You mean so as they can keep squeezing you at just below the level at which you starve; or worst still, the level at which you declare bankrupcy and the poor sods at the bank cannot squeeze you any more.

“CCCS, 0800 138 1111; National Debtline, 0808 808 4000; Payplan, 0800 085 4298”

I must ’phone them right away.

Who writes this trash? I do hope it’s not you!

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