I talk a lot about judgment doled out to stay at home parents by those in the working world, by other parents, by non-parents and by themselves. That's all small potatoes compared to a new ruling by the Federal Reserve.
On its face, this ruling seems to make sense. People who don't make any money shouldn't have the responsibility of having to pay credit card companies back for their consumption needs.
Behind that face, however, the issue is so much deeper. Behind that face are women and men who stay home to take care of their kids while their spouses work, providing the more disposable income. To prevent these men and women from being approved for credit takes their legs out from under them, squelches their independence and deems the work they do worthless. Now I don't care if you don't think being a stay at home parent is a career or even a job. This isn't about needing appreciation for the work done or not done. This is about being forced into a box because of personal life decisions.
This rule is unrealistic and it oversteps boundaries, in my opinion. The economy still falters. Many have lost their jobs. The saving grace for some has been the ability to stay at home with the kids, raising them and saving money on childcare costs while they look for other work. Other work that hasn't been coming. Now The Fed tells us that we can no longer get credit unless we can prove we can individually pay for it? Okay, fine. Make the jobs come back and society will get right to work on that. Or not. Because it's our choice to work or not if our families can afford it, and repercussions should not be lauded over us for our personal family choices.
What about people who need to build their credit? They can't. What about those stuck in abusive relationships? Without access to credit, they're left crippled, forced to stay with their partners, given one less avenue in which to forge their escape or start a new life if they so choose.
This takes the stay at home parent back to a level of dependence the country hasn't seen since the passage of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, which prohibits credit issuers from discriminating on any basis, including gender.
Because this is discrimination, plain and simple. You can say you're looking out for the consumer. You can point to the housing bubble collapse and blame the consumer. You can tell us it's for our own good. But you're wrong. It's constricting, belittling, and, honestly, it's dangerous.
Stay at home parents are not irresponsible with their money simply because they're not currently making any. And while their home situation is okay right now, everyone deserves to have an individual safety net should circumstances change. The Fed is taking that net away from many parents. A death, a divorce, an abusive situation...without a credit history, the victim is rendered helpless on their own. It's a trap.
I have my health insurance through my husband's job. I have my car insurance jointly with my husband. I hold a joint bank account with him. If the government and insurance companies and other businesses accept my worth combined with my husband's, why not credit card companies? Or are my insurances and bank account next on the chopping block?
Well, go ahead and take them. I don't need them. I won't even notice they're gone. I'll be too busy over here in the kitchen in my heels and apron, making dinner for my provider and asking him if I can borrow a few dollars to buy the brood some shoes.
Let's not let it get to that point, okay, Fed? Just because we stay at home does not mean we're not independent. But it will if you take all adult avenues away from us.
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Parentwin regularly blogs at Tales of an Unlikely Mother, where there's currently a bit of a 'discussion' going on about this.
Photo Credit: andresrueda.
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