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Give Rep. Dan Benishek some credit. When he was elected to Congress in 2010, he told his voters he'd only stay in Washington for three terms and then come home.
And he's doing just that.
After some initial wobbling, the Upper Peninsula Republican says he will not seek re-election to a fourth term in 2016.
That's a refreshing commitment to a promise. So many politicians have made the same pledge, only to have it burned away by Potomac fever.
The state's congressional delegation has had a lot of turnover in recent years. But it still has members who have stayed well beyond their physical and motivational prime. And yet they keep hanging on.
I'm no fan of term limits, except for the voluntary kind that Benishek imposed on himself. Too many politicians are so enamored of the office and its trappings that they just can't quit. Benishek isn't one of them.
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They're riddled with errors. They're difficult to correct. And they may be keeping you from getting a job.
But a spotty credit report could cease being a reason for employers to reject applicants, if legislation introduced Tuesday by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) becomes law.
"Credit reporting companies that sell Americans' personal data to potential employers have pushed the narrative that a credit history somehow provides insight into someone's character," the lawmakers wrote in an op-ed announcing the Equal Employment for All Act. "In fact, research has shown that an individual's credit has little to no correlation with his or her ability to succeed in the workplace."
The bill would prohibit hiring managers from seeking credit information on potential employees unless state law requires a credit check or the job in question requires a security clearance. The latter situation is one of the few where a person's credit history is actually relevant to their qualifications for employment: Someone in financial trouble is more vulnerable to bribery or blackmail.
But for all other classes of work, the lawmakers argue, credit checks are not only irrelevant but inherently prejudicial. Economic hardship - sudden medical expenses, say, or getting fired - doesn't automatically ding a person's credit. Wealthier people with savings to fall back on can weather such bruises without falling behind on bills or running up expensive credit card debts. But for those of fewer means, such bad luck often leaves a permanent mark on the dossiers kept by credit reporting agencies.
And even if credit histories were a meaningful measure of personal competence rather than a reflection of underlying economic status, the system that employers are calling upon for this information is marred by flaws.
A Federal Trade Commission (FTC) study released in 2013 estimated that as many as one in four Americans have "at least one potentially material error on at least one of their three credit reports." While about 80 percent of those who sought a correction eventually got the error fixed, there are multiple different credit bureaus that may have to be contacted to address an error, and the process can be convoluted.
If the ratio in their sample holds up across the entire population, that's more than 40 million people whose credit history is lying about where they've been and what they've done. While many of the errors from the FTC study were not significant enough to affect a person's credit score, the rampant inaccuracies in credit bureau dossiers further undermine their utility for judging a person's character.
But using credit checks to screen job applicants is incredible popular despite these deficiencies. Nearly half of all hiring managers surveyed in 2012 by the Society for Human Resource Management said their company checks candidates' credit histories. The figure was down from 2010, when a full 60 percent of those surveyed said they use the tactic.
With the number of people looking for work far exceeding the number of available jobs ever since the financial crash and Great Recession, it's logical that the people who hire workers might look for quick short-cuts to cull the herd. But like the check-box for former felons, building a credit check into hiring creates a nearly automated system for rejecting a large swathe of the applicant pool.
"Americans should be able to compete for jobs on their merits, not on whether they have enough money to pay all their bills," Warren and Cohen said of the proposal, which Cohen has pushed for since 2009. "Much of America - hard-working, bill-paying America - has damaged credit. It is wrong to shut them out of the job market."
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UPDATE @ 4:55 pm: The suspects ran away from the River Valley Credit Union on Salem Avenue after robbing it and a K-9 unit brought to the scene could not pick up a scent, police said.
Police have been dispatched on a report of an armed robbery at the River Valley Credit Union, in the 5100 block of Salem Avenue.
We're hearing the invaders were a woman armed with a long knife and a man. The robbery was reported about 3:48 pm
We have a crew on the way. We will update this report as we gather information.
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About 25 percent of Americans have never even taken a look at their credit score. While shocking, it leads to this question: What does your credit report say and have you been making any mistakes with your credit?
A lot of Americans are simply not in the know about whats on their credit report these days. Youd think this would be of greater importance, because your credit rating can either cost or save you a fortune. According to US News amp; World Report, there are several mistakes that you will want to avoid at all costs with your credit.
The accuracy of your credit report is very important. A good example is that some people who share a common name or similar address can suffer from a credit mix-up. This can mean that Johns maxed out $10,000 credit card is showing up on your report and is sucking points away while jacking up your interest rate or flat-out getting you declined for new loans.
Inaccurate information on a credit report that you know is incorrect could also mean that you are the victim of identity theft or even fraud. Its good advice to review your credit report at least twice per year and to immediately take action to correct any inaccurate information you find.
Unpaid Ghost Bills
Now most people would say, I am great about paying my bills! This is not presuming that you arent. But sometimes companies make errors. Sometimes you never receive the bill and it goes to collections, where it can mess up your credit. Other times you may have never known about a bill that is screwing with your rating.
In many cases, you can simply dispute these online. The creditors have 30 days to prove the bill is valid and to send you a copy. If they do not do this, you can easily clear such ghost bills off your credit report once and for all. Or you can pay them if it turns out that you actually do owe the funds.
Utilizing Too Much Credit
Another mistake thats commonly made is by utilizing too much of your credit, which can look irresponsible to banks and make you a higher lending risk. Experts say that you should try to avoid exceeding 20% of your credit limit. Once you hit that 20 percent cap, it can knock your credit score down a lot.
Another solution is to request an increased credit limit on cards that have a balance greater than 20%. In some cases, this can help improve your score by reducing the balance-to-limit thats being used, or your debt-to-credit ratio.
By all means, avoid making these common mistakes with credit. They could mean the difference between you getting approved for that loan you need at a reasonable interest rate... or not.Visit NowItCounts.com, The Destination for Americans 50+ covering financial, health, beauty, style, travel, news, entertainment and sports.
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PORTAGE, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Two young men are in custody in Portage after police say they racked up thousands of dollars in purchases on fake credit cards.
But not before a last ditch effort to avoid getting caught.
Portage Police tell us the men started throwing the fake credit cards out the window on I-94 as soon as they realized they were being followed.
But ultimately, it didnt work.
Police say they found 20 fake credit cards on the young men, after they used them at seven different stores in Portage on Wednesday, most at the mall.
Police tell us the men--both from Detroit--had racked up more than $8,000 in purchases.
Lieutenant Brian Vandenbrink, with Portage Public Safety, says the credit card numbers are real, but belong to other people.
He also says credit card cloning seems to be on the rise.
People are buying their own machines, and embossing blank cards, and putting numbers on them, and the stores take them, Lt. Vandenbrink said. Theres usually something suspicious that goes along with it. For these, the magnetic strips werent working on the back, so they had to manually enter the credit card numbers and thats unusual.
Portage Public Safety says they were able to catch the men, thanks to the quick thinking of one cashier who called them about the suspicious transaction.
The men will be formally charged soon.