Maine Politics

From the Piscataqua to the St. John

Friday, March 04, 2005

Morally Bankrupt

Today the PPH has an op-ed written by Lois R. Lupica, bankruptcy professor at the University of Maine School of Law.
It seems like an easy rule to live by: don't kick people when they are down. But that is exactly what Congress is contemplating doing as it deliberates the bankruptcy "reform" legislation this week.

As noted earlier, this legislation would be particularly detrimental to those who have experienced crushing illness or unemployment.

Lupica continues:
Under the proposed legislation, the door will be slammed on many of the people who most need the protection of the bankruptcy laws.

The bankruptcy system was originally designed to balance the interests of debtors and creditors, and for the most part, it has functioned quite well. But because the credit industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying for this bill, many in Congress have been persuaded that a problem exists where it does not.

Unfortunately, military families, working families with children, single parents, senior citizens and families experiencing the distress of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's, cancer or other debilitating disease - all people who will be adversely affected by this bill - have not had comparable resources with which to lobby Congress and tell their stories.

The credit industry claims that irresponsible and unscrupulous deadbeats are using the bankruptcy system to avoid debts they could otherwise repay. This is simply not borne out by the research data.

Moreover, since 1997, credit card companies have posted profits in excess of 160 percent. This astonishing number raises questions about the legitimacy of the credit card companies' claims of "bankruptcy losses."

Democrats have been trying to add amendments to stop this bill or provide some measure of relief for those who need it most. Here is how Snowe and Collins (R-MBNA) voted on a few of those amendments:

S.Amdt. 16 - "To protect servicemembers and veterans from means testing in bankruptcy, to disallow certain claims by lenders charging usurious interest rates to servicemembers, and to allow servicemembers to exempt property based on the law of the State of their premilitary residence."

Snowe: Nay   Collins: Nay

S.Amdt. 17 - "To provide a homestead floor for the elderly."

Snowe: Nay   Collins: Nay

S.Amdt. 15 - "To require enhanced disclosure to consumers regarding the consequences of making only minimum required payments in the repayment of credit card debt, and for other purposes."

Snowe: Nay   Collins: Nay

S.Amdt. 29 - "To provide protection for medical debt homeowners."

Snowe: Nay   Collins: Nay

S.Amdt. 32 - "To preserve existing bankruptcy protections for individuals experiencing economic distress as caregivers to ill or disabled family members."

Snowe: Nay   Collins: Nay

S.Amdt. 37 - "To exempt debtors from means testing if their financial problems were caused by identity theft."

Snowe: Nay   Collins: Nay

S.Amdt. 38 - "To discourage predatory lending practices."

Snowe: Nay   Collins: Yea

S.Amdt. 49 - "To protect employees and retirees from corporate practices that deprive them of their earnings and retirement savings when a business files for bankruptcy."

Snowe: Nay   Collins: Nay

I think it's obvious where their loyalties lie on this one.


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8 Comments:

This new york times article on the bankruptcy bill was good.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/04/business/04bankrupt.html  

Posted by Crisss

3/04/2005 03:45:00 PM

 

There are no republican moderates. There are simply conservative republicans who really hate queers and republicans who don't mind queers too much. But at this point we'd have to say that it is impossible for Republicans to pursue a moderate legislative program either socially or economically. 

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3/08/2005 04:26:00 PM

 

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