Free Credit Report?

Come to think of it, why should banks be allowed to maintain a secret ranking system of customers that they share with everyone but the customer? Isn’t that kind of monopolistic?

Someone thought so, because your credit report belongs to you and you don’t have to pay anyone to get it. But that doesn’t stop enterprising souls from trying to sell you what you already paid for. Have you seen those adorable commercials for

The Federal Trade Commission is not amused. It has long believed that the company that owns is deliberately diverting people from a government-mandated site where consumers can get free credit reports by law, and using the reports as a lure for a $14.95 monthly service that alerts subscribers to important changes in their credit status.

A while back an enterprising member of Congress proposed a bill to make Americans pay a private corporation for what we already built and maintained with our tax dollars. Basically the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was giving out weather reports to everyone without additional charges. How socialistic. Some silly idea about public safety, no doubt. Here’s Wikipedia…

“While generally respected as one of the premier weather organizations in the United States, the National Weather Service has been perceived by some[citation needed], particularly libertarians and commercial weather services such as AccuWeather, as competing unfairly with the private sector. In 2005, Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) introduced the National Weather Service Duties Act of 2005, a bill intended to limit the NWS’s ability to provide data that could be given by commercial outlets, but at cost to generate private profit. The bill was widely criticized by users of the NWS’s services. The bill died in committee during the 2005 session.”

How hurtful. Especially to the campaign fund.

In the wake of the bill’s introduction, Santorum, who had already gained notoriety for his activism against gay rights and the recent Supreme Court decision Lawrence v. Texas that struck down sodomy laws in the United States, was accused of political impropriety and influence peddling due to the fact that Joel Myers, the head of Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather and one of Santorum’s constituents, was also a Santorum campaign contributor. Though no action was taken by the Senate on the accusations, Santorum has become the most significant target of the Democratic National Committee’s campaign effort for the 2006 U.S. Senate Election.
In September 2005, while the bill was still in committee, Santorum criticized the National Weather Service’s forecasting of Hurricane Katrina, claiming that more lives could have been saved if the NWS’s operation focused on severe weather. However, both public and professional opinion held that the NWS’s forecasting had in fact been substantially better than most other sources, and Santorum’s comment was largely ignored.

Well, anyway, if you’re not afraid that socialist demons will jump out of your screen you may visit these sites, which have, as you will notice, .gov in the address–

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration There is a cool weather map of the East Coast with color coded storms in real time.

Federal Trade Commission. Find out what you can get that you have already paid for with your tax dollars, and then if you want more services shop around for a private vendor who isn’t spending millions on TV commercials claiming to give it away for ‘free’.

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