Hungry Children and the Predatory Credit Card Industry

    We are returning to a subject that we have visited three other times in the past. ( 1 ) Sadly, though, this is another Rabid Right issue that just won't die the agonizing death that it so richly deserves.

     We're speaking of the bill that the credit card industry is so enamored of (as well they should be considering that their lobbyists wrote the foul thing). This bill would alter the laws concerning how and when you may file for personal bankruptcy and how, among the folks you owe, will be primary and who will go without

    As you'll see, it is a filthy little move by your Republican Congress that consists of 100% kneeling before their owners and 0% representing you and I. Under this legislation, each case of bankruptcy that is brought before the courts will be subject to a formula meant to determine if the debtor is able to repay part of their under a court supervised plan rather than simply having those debts dissolved.  So far, so good.  Even I see this part as a positive restructuring of the system.

    This, however, is where the legislation goes badly awry, though.  This formula will always first determine  the amount that you will pay on any debts owed to credit card companies, then to other debt to businesses and, finally to spousal and child support.  In other words, gentle readers, if a father files for bankruptcy, there is a far better than even chance that he will be forced to pay off his credit card and other business debts before he allowed to continue to meet his financial obligations to his ex-spouse and his children.

    Now, please understand that the credit card industry, in particular, will be under no greater obligation to screen their customers any more thoroughly than they currently do.  In fact, in 1998 alone, the credit card industry set a record by sending out 3.45 BILLION solicitation letters.  Folks, that's more than one solicitation for every single man, woman, child, and infant in America every single month.  And, gentle readers, this isn't secured debt, either.  It is just plain free money to those folks who live on credit from bill to bill and who pray that they do not suddenly face a lay-off or a medical catastrophe or any other bump in life that will push them over the line into having no choice but to declare bankruptcy.

    During 1998, as a comparison to expose the stupidity of offering such huge amounts of unsecured credit, 1.4 million Americans were forced to file for bankruptcy protection.  Instead of looking at this remarkable figure and realizing their mistake, of course, the credit card industry chose to see it as rampant evidence of America's abuse of the bankruptcy system.

    Now, an intelligent human being would look at the situation regarding the number of bankruptcies that such easy and available credit results in and they would greatly tighten the requirements for acquiring one.  However, since most companies in Corporate America seem to be run by people who are neither intelligent nor human, the industry decided to ignore reality and, instead, will continue to offer easy credit but make it as difficult as possible to discharge any of that debt through bankruptcy.

    This legislation has been tendered during the last two Congressional sessions and each time it either didn't garner the necessary majority or President Clinton simply threatened a veto and the bill died without a vote.  This time, however, the lame-duck Congress is pushing this insanity both in hopes of achieving a vote that will prove to be veto-proof as well as hoping to embarrass the current administration by claiming that it supports the spending habits that lead to bankruptcy.    

    No matter what Congress eventually succeeds in doing about this legislation, however, President Clinton can easily bar it from becoming law in two ways.  First, since this session of Congress is nearly over so Clinton has but to wait until just before this Congress recesses for the last time before vetoing the bill, leaving Congress with no time to schedule the override vote.  He could also simply wait until Congress adjourns and let the bill die without his signature or he can just bide his time and let the ten days pass that he has before the bill automatically becomes law and veto it at the last minute.

    Any of these will result in America being protected from Corporate America for the time being until, of course, Tumbleweed takes office and suddenly has the legal authority to pick his favorite color of crayon and begin signing the bills that his owners place before him.  At that point, boys and girls, America can kiss the Twenty-First Century goodbye and begin planning a celebration of the national regression into our very own version of the Dark Ages.

    So, what we learned, gentle readers?  We have learned that the millions of dollars that the credit card industry gives to your representative as a bribe disguised as campaign contributions and, because of that wee little glitch in the system, you do not, on any level at all, matter to your government.  Your financial security and the financial security of your children have less priority than an industry that employs imbeciles as executives.  You, kind soul, are just a minor bump in the road in Corporate America's sick little drive to continue their insane business practices while owning and operating your representatives.  Pretty sad, wouldn't you say?  ( 2 )

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