Is our country being run by millionaires?

Between 1984 and 2009 the net worth of members of the US House of Representatives almost tripled while the net worth of the average American actually declined. Same sort of thing is going on in the US Senate. It seems the fat cats are taking charge and we better take it back soon or we will lose it forever.

With a new study just released by the Center for Responsive Politics, almost half of the members of the US Congress are millionaires - the so-called "one percenters" who make up a tiny percentage of the US population at large. And the richest person looks to be a nver-heard-of-him-before Republican named Darrell Issa from California who is worth reportedly just over $700 million. Then there's Vernon Buchanan, a Florida Republican whose net worth reportedly is just shy of a third of a billion dollars.

There are plenty of other examples, both Republican and Democrat, but what this study really shows you is that while the rest of us have just been struggling to get by, the richest of the rich have been getting by just fine, thank you very much. In fact, they've been doing really rather well.

Is it any wonder that Congress favors big businesses owned by millionaires and billionaires, over the interests of the everyday consumer just trying to get by? Not really. There is a natural human tendancy to want to favor and help the people you know and who know you. And let's face it, millionaires know other millionaires, billionaires know other billionaires, and folks like the rest of us just know the rest of us.

Meanwhile, the rich put politicians in charge and the laws get changed. Think it isn't happening to you? Don't be so sure.

All across this country there is one law that every state has and that protects consumers from unfair and deceptive sales practices by dishonest merchants. Called "Udap" laws (unfair and deceptive acts and practices) or Consumer Sales Practices Acts, these laws are under attack by wealthy, conservative state legislators who are chipping away at your legal rights.

For example, in Ohio the Republican-controlled state legislature is about to amend the law so that it practically wipes it out. The Ohio Consumer Act has helped consumers fight illegal sales practices and, at the same time, helped honest merchants compete with dishonest merchants. But hard-core rich legislators, perhaps looking to their donors from the last election or the next one, want to get rid of any law that can be used against any business - no matter how honest or dishonest the business owner may be.

These zealots of change are misguided. They forget that a dishonest business hurts everyone, including the honest business-person down the street who can't compete with a liar and a thief.

Not all business owners are crooks, that's true. But there is no reason that an honest business owner should help protect a crook just because he wears a suit.

Meanwhile the bill is the Ohio legislature is steamrollling its way to approval in the coming weeks. Can you stop it? Maybe. But you better act fast. Otherwise, honest merchants will have to start adopting the deceptive and unfair tactics of dishonest merchants if they want to survive in the dog-eat-dog world that the Ohio state house seems to be brewing up for Ohio consumers.

Email, write, or call your state house representative and state senator, click here, and tell them to leave the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act alone. We don't need House Bill 275 and we don't need any change to our Consumer Protection law. This House Bill would help rich people get richer by wiping out some of your rights and making it harder than ever to use what little rights are left over.

We have enough rich people running our lives already. Tell the state legislature to leave our Consumer Law alone. Do it now. Before it's too late.

Find out who your state congressman is by clicking here, and call them now. And if they don't listen to you? Vote the millionaire rascals out.

Burdge Law Office
Helping people protect themselves every day


Giving Back with Giftpacks Filled for the Needy

Each year the staff of Burdge Law Office does something for a local charity to help out the needy.

This year we returned to Fairhaven Church to help Homefull.org. Homefull works tirelessly to help homeless people by providing housing relocation help, prevention services, street outreach assistance, support services and education to the homeless in Ohio. Every day the folks at Homefull dedicate themselves to ending homelessness in our communities. Nationally an estimated nearly 700,000 people in the US are homeless according to a report in 2011 from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Fairhaven Church is a very giving congregation and this year their Christmas Gift project was to fill over 1,000 large plastic bins of needed home supplies for Homefull's team, to help make a difference in lives of homeless people as they struggle and gradually move into available housing opportunities.

The entire staff joined in the effort to fill some of the one thousand plus plastic tubs with the normal houseware goods and items that we all take for granted but which homeless people don't even have, so that as they move into housing they each have a 'starter' kit to help ease the transition. Now, with the tubs delivered to Homefull's staff for distribution, it's great to see so many tubs jammed full of the needed items to help ease the daily lives of the needy in our home town community.

Some of the over 1,000 plastic tubs
of supplies for the homeless

During the last year, attorney Burdge was also again invited to speak at a national seminar, this time in Colorado Springs and presented by the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, where he spoke to attorneys and other professionals on the importance, value and reward of giving back to the community and the legal profession, based on research he and others have conducted on how the simple human act of sharing and giving impacts the world we live in, the legal profession, and each giver too.

The staff of our law firm has always sought to help the needy in our world and every one of us is proud to have contributed to the Fairhaven Church Christmas Gift project again this year. The homeless of every community can use a helping hand and we encourage you to help out in your home town too.

Giving is what makes the spirit of Christmas last all year long.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers all year long


Escaping a Ford Escape with Seasons Greetings

Christmas and the holiday season are a wonderful time of the year.

We recently received a nice holiday greeting card from a former client. They had a bad Ford Escape that we had to fight with Ford over and they ended up getting their money back.

In the Christmas card they wrote their thanks and noted that they loved their new Honda.

When things work out right, and you can get rid of a lemon and get your money back, it's a great feeling. We were glad to have been of help in their case.

If you've got a lemon and the factory isn't taking care of you - and your dealer just wants you to trade it in on a new one - call us on our Toll Free Lemon Law Hotline at 1.888.331.6422 for a free case review. Or email us right now for free help. Christmas trees and lemon cars just don't mix!

Burdge Law Office
Because life is too short to drive a lemon


The super rich and their super cars crash into a super accident in Japan

You want to know where the money is and where they don't mind flaunting it once in awhile? It's in Japan.

In a single accident involving more than a dozen of super rich drivers and their "supercars" - flying by other cars at twice the speed limit -  a chain reaction crash into each other resulted in a total loss of millions of dollars. Apparently having money doesn't have much to do with being able to drive carefully.

Count 'em up, folks.

8 Ferrari cars, 3 Mercedes, a Lamborghini supercar, a Toyota supercar, and others - reportedly a total of 15 cars - crashed one into the other into the other into the other, etc, until there was $4 million + worth of supercars turned into smashed parts on the highway to Hiroshima. Amazingly ten people were taken to the hospital with only minor injuries if you don't consider their pride, which was badly damaged in the process.

And caught up in the midst of it all was one lone Prius - which was damaged not nearly as bad as the Lambo.

Ah, the super rich and their super cars. In this age of austerity, when the rich go out to play in public and their toys all get broken, you have to just shake your head and sort of snicker at the stupidity.

It just goes to show you.

When you drive twice the legal speed limit, keep your hands on the wheel and your attention on the road - and carry lots of car insurance too.

Burdge Law Office
Because life is too short to drive a lemon


Dollar Stores Now Outnumber National Retail Pharmacy Chain Stores

Another sure sign that people have changed their ways? Dollar stores - stores that specialize in selling items priced at $1 or less - now outnumber all the drug stores in the country.

It's a sign of the times that there are now over 21,500 "dollar" stores around the country, more than all the "Big 3" drugstores combined.

CVS drug stores seem to be just down the street from every Walgreens Drugstore, which are all just around the corner from Rite Aid stores. But when you count them all up, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar and 99 Cents Only stores outnumber the drug stores across the board, according to a news release from DrugStoreNews.com.

A research study from Colliers International, just release Monday, reports the rapid expansion of dollar stores, which dressed themselves up with storefront and merchandise display improvements as their customer base increased - a sure sign that shoppers are getting far more careful of how and where they spend their money.

The simple fact of life seems to be that as debt mounts, dollar store sales increase. This is true, in spite of the fact that drug stores themselves now often sell a wide variety of items - including the same types of items sold in many of the dollar stores.

Given the harder economic times that a very large part of the consuming public are living in each and every day, it should not be a surprise. It's the same reason that more and more folks are looking hard at bankruptcy as a way to deal with their debt - even during the holiday season.

If that's on your mind too, it's understandable. It may be a good time to do some bankruptcy planning so that after the first of the year you can be sure you understand your legal rights and what your options are. Bankruptcy isn't for everyone, but in these times, it may be the relief you need.

We help consumers when cars turn into lemons and they need their money back or a car that runs right so they can get to work and earn the money their family needs. And when the economic roof caves in,  we help people with consumer bankruptcy cases in the Dayton, Ohio area too. In these times, people need all the help they can get.
Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers find a way out of trouble and debt, everyday