Monday, March 07, 2005

The U.S. Congress & Credit: We Created the Monster, and Now We Have to Pay For It

I cannot help but be a little torn by the new debate on bankruptcy prompted by the anti-bankruptcy legislation headed to a Senate vote later this week. On one level, I would hope that it might spur more people to cut up their credit cards, and stop living their lives made of disposable goods. On another level, the one with family and friends who have been eaten up from the inside by the debt they wantonly created and/or had thrust upon them by emergencies, my reaction is one of outright anger. It boils down to a simple question of fairness: no matter my hatred for the credit-culture of America, the same one in which I admittedly participate, the debate hinges on whether bankruptcy really poses the threat to credit card companies that they claim. The fact that their profits have remained on par with the rise of bankruptcy, and that bankruptcy is apparently most often caused not by a person's debt itself but the myriad fees that are often arbitrarily imposed, would seem to imply that it is not (registration may be required, not sure -- email me for my password, if so and you don't care to register).

The morale: as with most GOP-led crises, don't believe the hype on this one. Think they're looking out for your best interests? Sure ... everybody's against bankruptcy abuse and consumer fraud, right -- the good ol' GOP is leading the good fight, just like with Social Security reform and the War on Terror? Think again (for a more detailed analysis, click here).

P.S. For more perspective, there is a pretty nice 'Bankruptcy Bill Edition' developing over on Talking Points Memo.