Tuesday, March 08, 2005


The Loansharking Protection and Advocacy Act is rolling down the pike:

In the first abortion-related test of the new Congress, the Republican-controlled Senate turned back a Democratic effort Tuesday to bar violent protesters from using bankruptcy to avoid payment of court judgments.

The 53-46 vote cleared one of the few remaining obstacles to passage of major bankruptcy legislation that is high on the GOP legislative agenda.
(via CNN)

Guess I'll be moving to a cash-free, barter economy quite soon...

UPDATE Krugman has this to say about the Loansharking Protection Act:

But the bill also fits into the broader context of what Jacob Hacker, a political scientist at Yale, calls "risk privatization": a steady erosion of the protection the government provides against personal misfortune, even as ordinary families face ever-growing economic insecurity.

A vast majority of personal bankruptcies in the United States are the result of severe misfortune. One recent study found that more than half of bankruptcies are the result of medical emergencies. The rest are overwhelmingly the result either of job loss or of divorce.

To the extent that there is significant abuse of the system, it's concentrated among the wealthy

the underlying economic trends have been reinforced by an ideologically driven effort to strip away the protections the government used to provide. For example, long-term unemployment has become much more common, but unemployment benefits expire sooner. Health insurance coverage is declining, but new initiatives like health savings accounts (introduced in the 2003 Medicare bill), rather than discouraging that trend, further undermine the incentives of employers to provide coverage.

Above all, of course, at a time when ever-fewer workers can count on pensions from their employers, the current administration wants to phase out Social Security.

The bankruptcy bill fits right into this picture.
Warren Buffett recently made headlines by saying America is more likely to turn into a "sharecroppers' society" than an "ownership society." But I think the right term is a "debt peonage" society - after the system, prevalent in the post-Civil War South, in which debtors were forced to work for their creditors. The bankruptcy bill won't get us back to those bad old days all by itself, but it's a significant step in that direction.

Fuckheads. If only I could get their attention... If only the Czar knew...

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