Chickens, Roost

Back in March, I wrote to the Democratic Party:

And how the hell could you have laid down and rolled over for the bankruptcy bill? If there was ever a bully pulpit to stand behind and use to point out the corporatist flaws of the GOP, this was it.

Note that I’m not opposed to government actions that help corporations; sometimes what’s good for G.M. is actually good for America.

But this was such a clear-cut case of taking from the weak and giving to the rich with no public purpose except giving more to those that have that my head is swimming.

And the missed opportunity for the Democrats to define themselves – by challenging irresponsible and rapacious lending as much as they are challenging irresponsible borrowing – boggles my mind.

And today, reader Robert Martin emailed me this story from the New York Times:

…four weeks after New Orleans flooded and tens of thousands of other residents of the Gulf Coast also lost their homes and livelihoods, a stricter new personal bankruptcy law scheduled to take effect on Oct. 17 is likely to deliver another blow to those dislocated by the storm.

The law was intended to keep individuals from taking on debts they had no intention of paying off. But many once-solvent Katrina victims are likely to be caught up in the net intended to catch deadbeats.

So thanks, Congressman Moran (D-MBNA), (along with Senator Mary K Landrieu (D – LA) – hat tip to commenter PD Shaw) – and the 72 others who voted for this bill:Andrews
Bishop (GA)*
Davis (AL)
Davis (FL)
Davis (TN)*
Green, Al
Larsen (WA)*
Meek (FL)
Meeks (NY)
Moore (KS)
Moran (VA)
Peterson (MN)*
Price (NC)
Schwartz (PA)
Scott (GA)*
Taylor (MS)
Thompson (CA)

(the names with a * also voted to repeal the estate tax – hat tip to The Left Coaster)

16 thoughts on “Chickens, Roost”

  1. Here are the 18 Democratic Senators that voted for bankruptcy reform “from Left Coaster”:

    Blanche Lincoln-Arkansas
    David Pryor-Arkansas
    Ken Salazar, Colorado
    Joe Biden-Delaware
    Tom Carper-Delaware
    Bill Nelson-Florida
    Daniel Inouye-Hawaii
    Evan Bayh-Indiana
    *Mary Landrieu-Louisiana*
    Debbie Stabenow-Michigan
    Max Baucus-Montana
    Ben Nelson-Nebraska
    Harry Reid-Nevada
    Jeff Bingaman-New Mexico
    Kent Conrad-North Dakota
    Tim Johnson-South Dakota
    Robert Byrd-West Virginia
    Herb Kohl-Wisconsin

    Hillary Clinton-abstaining

  2. I agree. This was the Dems big chance to take a stand for the litte guy, and they sold out. I’m pissed at my Republican congressional delegation for voting for this handout, but at least you figure the Republicans are supposed to be like that. I thought the Dems were better.
    This whole thing was bought and paid for by the banking industry. Anybody who wants to issue credit cards and then be guaranteed payment isn’t in a capital business, they’re in a money-printing business. Risk is what is supposed to make businesses work. Take away the risk and all you have is a bunch of fat cats paying off our pols — which is exactly where we are. It’s reprehensible. Somebody should throw the bums out, only they’re ALL bums. That’s the problem.

  3. I’m no fan of the estate tax or the bankruptcy bill.

    I believe the drug laws are a form of corporate support for alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceutical companies. Keeping competition from plants off the market. Not to mention welfare for the prison-industrial complex.

    Raising taxes retards economic growth. Economic growth is the best way to help the poor. Look at what happened to the real minimum wage during the dot com boom.

    BTW the Dems depend on fat cat contributions. They are for the little guy in the same way the Communists are – the words sound nice – the reality is something different.

    As usual the Dems have no head and the Repubs have no heart. And slowly the Dems are losing their heart. Look at their attitude towards the Irai people (a lot of them want to leave the Iraqis to the tender mercies of the fascists).

    Which is why no party suits me.

    Any one want my vote?

  4. The Dems, like all stateists, decided a long time ago that you cant help the little guy if you’re not in power, and hence anything you do to stay in power is in the interest of the little guy, including stepping on him if necessary. Icky.

  5. Do you really want to compile a list of where the Democrats have failed to stand up against systemic Republican corruption, fraud, and cronyism? You will be a very busy little beaver indeed.

    But as much as I might be fed up with this monumental lack of principle and conviction, I am still (much) more concerned about the motives and activities of those who lead us into them…the rotten-to-the-core Republican establishment.

    While one party is spineless or lazy or complicit, the other is clearly becoming an outright danger to both American and World safety and stability.

    And please don’t try to tell me that the Democrats poor domestic behavior bodes for an equally spineless foreign policy. Because if you want to make that argument you will also have to acknowledge and consider frankly that the Republican’s corrupt corporatist and quasi-fascist domestic policies are also a recipe for dangerous foreign policy stewardship…a conjecture, BTW, supported by recent real-world data, rather than just speculation and predictions.

  6. System Failure: You should be much more generous in spreading your moral outrage. I don’t recall any of these Democrats being compelled to vote at gunpoint. Face it, they’re just as corrupt as the Republicans who voted for it.

  7. Actually AL, the new bankruptcy law has specific provisions to allow judges to make exceptions for those filers with “special circumstances” which makes this attempt to exploit Hurricane Katrina to knock the law both despicable and patently silly.

    Seriously, you’ve harped about this law several times but you have yet to show that you have any awareness of its actual contents nor have you made any specific objections to it other than mindlessly reciting talking points about “taking from the weak and giving to the rich” while studiously avoiding any discussion of the bill’s actual contents.

    Either show us that your objection is something other than a knee-jerk reaction or pick a topic that you actually know something about.

  8. Not only does the bankruptcy law have specific provisions for special circumstances, for which Katrina would apply, it also made no change at all except for people who make at least the median income and declare bankruptcy. It makes it harder for those people to file Chapter 11 and get to negate all their debts, and makes them be more likely to have to continue to pay a portion of their debts out of their at-least-median income. In addition, it prevents people from buying new homes in Florida or other states with an unlimited homestead exemption just before declaring bankruptcy. People who make at least median income aren’t “the poor,” that’s for sure.

    The bill even had a six month delay for its provisions to take effect– and bankruptcy filings promptly jumped massively as people took advantage of the old rules. (And of course, short term credit card interest rates jumped too from people declaring bankruptcy, as predicted. Just like how they’ll go down from the new rules in the long run.)

    You have continually shown your ignorance of the bill. Undoubtedly there are people it will hurt. But it is not a pure giveaway to corportations. It is a giveaway to people who will repay their debts at the expense of those who wouldn’t. That helps some ordinary people and hurts others. It hurts the unlucky, absolutely. On the other hand, it lowers debt payments and makes it easier for all sorts of hardworking people to borrow money.

    Just another Democrat with good intentions who nonetheless doesn’t understand economics, and thus favors policies that make it harder for the middle-class and poor people to get ahead in life.

  9. Did you even read the article? So the New York Times is predicting that judges will massively ignore the actual provisions of the law, just to mean. There’s no evidence whatsoever of this actually occurring, just NYT speculation that some judges somewhere might ignore the plain writing of the law in the future.

  10. Sorry, wrote too quickly and substituted Chapter 11 for Chapter 7.

    Most individual filings will continue to be Chapter 7, not 11 or 13.

  11. It is neither accurate nor honest to characterize a bill that simply means that people who agree to borrow money are more likely to have to pay it back as any sort of “giveaway.”

  12. I was talking last week with a Lexis salesperson who had been busy trying to sell bankruptcy attorneys new research tools to investigate their clients under the new laws. She said that 90% of the lawyers were not only uninterested because they would no longer be accepting bankruptcy cases, they took the opportunity to cancel other bankruptcy subscriptions.

    The people who lost their homes and still owe the bank are going to need to file bankruptcy and they are going to have trouble finding lawyers and when they do, they will have difficulty coming up with the high retainers under the new system.

  13. Not a giveaway?

    Let’s see.

    You run a credit company. Part of your business model is that 10% of your debt is written off. This means that 10% of the time you are making MISTAKES. Taking bad risks. If another company only has a 5% write-off rate, they are doing better business than you.

    What to do to become more profitable? Increase your examination of applicants? Raise your interest rates? Change you collection procedures? No. I know! Let’s change the law so those “irresponsible borrowers” don’t get away! Bingo! Your business is instantly more profitable, thanks to your congressman. And to top it all off, you get to blame the schmucks using your credit cards! Hey! It’s personal repsonsibility!
    LOL! I love personal responsibility. But corporations are legally people as well. They have just as much obligation to play by the rules as the rest of us. If you understand why we do not have debtor’s prisons anymore, you understand that credit companies must manage credit risk. That’s the only thing they do that is difficult, for goodness sake. Having Big Government step in and use the law to ensure your profit? Scandalous!

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