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by Jim Hightower
PROTECTING CREDIT CARD COMPANIES AND THE
It was hilarious to
see our congress critters rising up on their hind legs recently and bellowing
like a herd of angry bovines, denouncing the shameful immorality – shameful, I
say! – of people who run up debts they can't pay off, saddling others with the
I laughed, I cried...
I threw up. Are there no mirrors in congress? These are the same free-spending
bums who've piled a debt the size of the Milky Way on the backs of future
generations, not counting the trillions more they would add by supporting Bush's
Social Security privatization scheme, his endless warmongering, and more the tax
giveaways to the rich – not to mention voting themselves another pay raise this
What bothered the
critters, however, was not the federal debt, but your credit card debts.
Bellowing that poor credit card companies are being swamped by irresponsible
so-and sos who run up debts and then declare bankruptcy, they stampeded a new
law through congress that prevents average Joe and Janes from getting bankruptcy
protection. They wailed about the plight of Mastercard, MBNA, Citicorp, and the
other giants being victimized – victimized, I say! – by you worthless scofflaws.
But, wait – some 90
percent of personal bankruptcies are the result of people suffering medical
emergencies, job loss, and divorce. Amendments were offered to exempt cases of
medical bankruptcy, members of the armed services, those caring for ill or
disabled family members, victims of identity theft – but "no, no, no, and no
again" bellowed the majority.
The majority did,
however, make one compassionate exception to their effort to stop people from
using the bankruptcy law. Current
law contains a "millionaires' loophole" that allows the rich to set up "asset
protection trusts" of unlimited size where they can hide their wealth if they
are planning to file for bankruptcy. As a gesture of fairness, Democrats tried
to restrict this loophole. "No," bellowed the majority, leaving the bankruptcy
protection as the exclusive retreat of the rich.
"The Debt-Peonage Society," New York Times, March 8, 2005.
"A bankruptcy bill
for corporations and millionaires," Austin American-Statesman, March 13,
Bill Set For Passage; Victory for Bush," New York Times, March 9,
Passes Bill to Restrict Bankruptcy," Washington Post, March 11, 2005.
(c) 2005, Copyright - Saddleburr Productions, Inc.
Reprinted with permission of the
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