Wednesday, March 09, 2005

While you weren't looking
Republican corporate enforcers and their Democratic fellow travelers are about to enact an aggressively regressive piece of legislation that "reforms" bankruptcy law. To make a long story short, GOP thugs don't like the fact that some people are able to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which wipes out your debts and ruins your credit. To make sure that credit card companies continue to fleece vulnerable Americans for billions of dollars a year, your representatives have deemed it necessary to apply a "means test" to Chapter 7, so that if you make more than the median income, you have to file Chapter 13, in which your future earnings are raided until you pay off a certain percentage of your debts. They also want to increase the amount of debt you repay under Chapter 13, restrict the ability of judges to use discretion in these cases, and prevent people from protecting almost any assets from be being repossessed.

Now the first thing to note is that the median income ain't diddly-squat in the larger scheme of things. Someone making $60,000 with garbage health insurance can now have their lives and the lives of their families ruined because of one freak medical emergency. Republicans have steadfastly refused to make an exception for medical debts. This is just one more plank of George W. Bush's cruel "ownership society," in which individuals in America are being abandoned to a brutal, Hobbesian competition for scarce resources with their fellow citizens. The attitude of the government and its right-wing supporters is more or less "if you can't hack it, fuck off and die quietly." There is no accountability here for credit card companies who gouge their customers, no acknowledgment that Americans are drowning in loan and medical debt, and that this bill will only drive people further and further into poverty. I'd be surprised if four years from now we aren't talking about debtor's prisons, where the impoverished can work off their credit card debt by clerking in on-site prison Wal-Marts.

The second thing to note is that there are more than a few yellow-bellied, money-grubbing, worthless Democrats supporting this Draconian bill, including Joe Biden and Tom Carper of Delaware, both of whom have made my permanent shitlist, along with Chuck Schumer and that GOP Trojan Horse of a minority leader, Harry Reid. Biden and Carper are merely sucking up to Delaware's credit card and insurance companies, since Delaware's laws are the easiest on corporations in the country. I don't know what everyone else's excuse is, but if the Dems can't band together and filibuster this one, maybe we ought to just start over, go the way of the Whigs in 1856 and get ourselves a new minority party. This piece of legislation is a gratuitous and unnecessary attack on consumers and downtrodden Americans, and further affirmation that if you have a run of bad luck in America, you're totally fucked.

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