March 07, 2005

Stop the Bankruptcy Boondoggle

Every once in a while the sheer crassness and blatant audacity of the political class makes my gorge rise. The bankrupcy bill that is being fast tracked through the congress and senate right now is one of the more despicable examples proving that today most of our politicians are essentially bought and paid for by their corporate sponsors. How else can one explain that a bill without redeeming value -- which will cause so much suffering for many, many Americans already slammed by life's hard knocks (medical disaster, job loss, family breakup) -- is being railroaded through without significant roadblocks? And if this bill passes, it will pass with the complicity of some Democrats who have been known to say they are for the people, not the corporations. Yeah, right. Put your money where your mouth is, dammit.

Josh Marshall has setup a special page devoted to covering the bankruptcy bill before it is too late and as he admits he hasn't had time to cover this bill, he's turned it over to Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren and some of her students. Professor Warren has been studying why people declare bankruptcy for over twenty years and she provides this crisp synopsis of the bill now being discussed.

The bill is more than 500 pages long, all in highly technical language. But the overall thrust is pretty clear:

• Make debtors pay more to creditors, both in bankruptcy and after bankruptcy, so that a bankruptcy filing will leave a family with more credit card debt, higher car loans, more owed to their banks and to payday lenders.

• Make it more expensive to file for bankruptcy by driving up lawyers’ fees with new paperwork, new affidavits, and new liability for lawyers, so that the people in the most trouble can’t afford to file.

• Make more hurdles and traps, with deadlines that a judge cannot waive even if someone has a heart attack or an ex-husband who won’t give up a copy of the tax returns, so that more people will get pushed out of bankruptcy with no discharge.

• Make it harder to repay debts in Chapter 13 by increasing the payments necessary to confirm in a repayment plan, so that more people will be pushed out of bankruptcy without ever getting a discharge of debt.

There are people who abuse the system, but this bill lets them off. Millionaires will still be welcome to use the unlimited homestead exemption. And if they don’t want to buy a home there, they can just tuck their millions of dollars into a trust, a “millionaire’s loophole” that lets them keep everything—if they can afford a smart, high-priced lawyer.

No matter what you think about bankruptcy, this bill is an abomination and anyone that votes for this bill should be exposed for their abetting the greedy and usurious credit card business. Remember, these representatives still work for us. If enough of us make it clear that we do not approve of this bill in this form, they will stop it. And all it takes to stop it is enough of us contacting our elected representatives and letting them know what we think. Then spread the word to our email lists so they can weigh in too. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Don't let them slip this through without a fight

Contact your Senators
Contact your Representative
Write a letter via Congress.org

Express your disappointment directly to the Democratic Senators that are backing this obscene bill.

Sen. Nelson (D - Nebraska)
720 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-6551
Web Form: bennelson.senate.gov/email.html

Sen. Johnson (D - South Dakota)
136 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-5842
Web Form: johnson.senate.gov/ContactPage/emailform.htm

Sen. Carper (D - Delaware)
513 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-2441
Web Form: carper.senate.gov/email-form.html

Also frequently voting with the Republicans:

Sen. Biden (D - Delaware)
201 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-5042
E-mail: senator@biden.senate.gov

Posted by Mary at March 7, 2005 01:00 AM | Corruption & Graft | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |
Comments

Voters should also press this issue in person at the upcoming town hall events many members of Congress will be holding. Email isn't enough. A rational voice will be welcomed at many of these events, such as the upcoming meeting with former Sheriff Dave Reichert on March 19th in Bellevue.

Posted by: Kayne McGladrey at March 8, 2005 04:43 PM

Voters should also press this issue in person at the upcoming town hall events many members of Congress will be holding. Email isn't enough. A rational voice will be welcomed at many of these events, such as the upcoming meeting with former Sheriff Dave Reichert on March 19th in Bellevue.

Posted by: Kayne McGladrey at March 8, 2005 04:44 PM