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Ed Dionne: Should all bankruptcies be treated alike?

by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / March 3, 2005 9:29 PM PST
Show a little mercy to those in medical-financial hell.
(Chronicle login: semods4@yahoo.com; pw = speakeasy)

>>Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard Law School professor and one of the most learned and powerful critics of the bill.... argued that the proposal "assumes that everyone is in bankruptcy for the same reason ? too much unnecessary spending."

What does that mean in practice? "A family driven to bankruptcy by the increased costs of caring for an elderly parent with Alzheimer's disease is treated the same as someone who maxed out his credit cards at a casino," Warren said. "A person who had a heart attack is treated the same as someone who had a spending spree at the shopping mall. A mother who works two jobs and who cannot manage the prescription drugs needed for a child with diabetes is treated the same as someone who charged a bunch of credit cards with only a vague intent to repay." <<

How about some of that compassionate conservatism?

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!
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Demonstrates the need for HSA's ...
by Evie / March 3, 2005 11:14 PM PST

... for everyone. Won't help every case, but in large part if they are allowed to be carried forward, enough will be accrued during one's relatively healthy 20's and 30's to cover unexpected healthcare expenses. In my experience, the hospitals will work with you if you will work with them. I don't know how you can legally pass moral judgment in bankruptcy cases. Yeah, someone that goes bankrupt over unexpected medical bills has my sympathy over someone that blows their money on shopping sprees or gambling ... but then you get to the compulsive shoppers or gambling addicts ... yada yada yada. Also not sure tightening lending laws helps much either as it is often the ones you are trying to protect from predatory lenders that need someone to lend them money when they are in genuine need.

Evie Happy

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"a great misunderstanding"
by crowsfoot / March 4, 2005 12:23 AM PST

>>>There is a great misunderstanding that the key fight in our politics is between friends and foes of capitalism. In fact, the battle is among supporters of capitalism who disagree over what rules should govern the market. Should the rules favor the wealthy and the connected, or should they give some protection to those who fall into distress and would like nothing more than a chance to rejoin the ownership society? If Democrats sell out on the bankruptcy bill, they will, alas, show which side they're on.>>>

-->

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Looks like RESPONSIBILITY only applies to some people.
by Kiddpeat / March 4, 2005 1:17 AM PST

Only the capitalists are expected to be stripped of money, shelter, and all other assets when things go bad. 'Others' are to be protected.

That kind of double standard is frequently called hypocracy.

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Only capitalists stripped of money shelter all other assets
by crowsfoot / March 4, 2005 1:10 PM PST

What ARE you talking about? I'll be danged if I can get from what I quoted to there!

Here it is again and you tell me, please:

>>>There is a great misunderstanding that the key fight in our politics is between friends and foes of capitalism. In fact, the battle is among supporters of capitalism who disagree over what rules should govern the market. Should the rules favor the wealthy and the connected, or should they give some protection to those who fall into distress and would like nothing more than a chance to rejoin the ownership society? If Democrats sell out on the bankruptcy bill, they will, alas, show which side they're on.>>>

In fact, the battle is among supporters of capitalism who disagree over what rules should govern the market.

In fact, the battle is among supporters of capitalism who disagree over what rules should govern the market.

In fact, the battle is among supporters of capitalism who disagree over what rules should govern the market.

In fact, the battle is among supporters of capitalism who disagree over what rules should govern the market.

-->

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The bankruptcy laws are already compassionate.
by Kiddpeat / March 4, 2005 1:25 AM PST

My understanding is that the basic necessities of life such as shelter are not taken away in a bankruptcy. Financial assets are lost, but the ability to continue living a comfortable life continues to exist.

Are the courts now to decide what is 'necessary' and what is not? What if someone with large medical bills buys an expensive camera or a new chair? Do the courts go through the bills and decide what is covered and what is not?

It sounds like another thinly veiled pitch for socialized medicine. That would have a price too high for most people to embrace.

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Ever hear of a title loan, Dave...
by J. Vega / March 4, 2005 7:00 PM PST

I couldn't help but notice your use of "compassionate conservatism" again, Dave. Can I bring up an example of Democratic "compassion" towards people in financial trouble that is finally getting attention in Georgia. It's called a "title loan", and is a Georgia invention which has spread elsewhere (unfortunately rapidly) in the country.
Basically, it's a new thing which allows people to get a cash loan on their car title - in effect getting a pawn loan it. The borrower must give the lender a copy of the key to the car and if the borrower is so much as one day late on any monthly payment, the lender has the right to take the car with a repro company and sell it. But in the state of Georgia, it's truly the "loan from hell". First, the state laws allow a 300% interest rate. That's right, borrow $1,000 and in 30 days when the 1st payment is due you owe them $1,250. But a great many people are only able to pay just the monthly interest. The punchline in Georgia is that if the borrower defaults and the car is seized the lender keeps 100% of what he sells the car for, leaving the poor borrower with nothing.
How did laws allowing such a victimization of people in financial trouble come to be? Easy, the guy who came up with the title loan idea in the first place went to a friend in his town who was in state government to get it passed. Of course, this friend was in a position to guarantee that the bill allowing this would come to the floor of the state legislature. The help was given by state Representative (Georgia House of Representatives) Tom Murphy, who was and had been for decades, Speaker of the House (State government). Murphy had the power to put that bill on the floor, as he controlled which bills did or did not reach the floor. Democrats controlled both houses of the state legislature from the 1800's until the last election, so getting a Democratic sponsored bill passed was no problem. Well, until recently, as Murphy lost his seat (and therefore the power of the Speaker of the House) in 2002 and the Democratic party just lost control of the House, Senate and Office of Governor in the recent elections.
Finally, this scandalous situation has come to light in the press, including a week-long in depth series in the Atlanta newspaper. It looks like the legislature is going to put a stop to this example of Democratic legislative "compassion" towards people in financial trouble.
Well, Dave, if you can gripe about what you call compassionate conservatism, can't I relate an example of Democratic "compassion"? Hey, Dave, remember posts in threads where I related how The Democrats killed Republican attempts at legislation in the state of Georgia? Remember? The Speaker of the House directed a bill he wanted to kill to the wrong comittee in the required first step. When it finally went back to him as "wrong committee" on the daily opening proceedures of the legislature he just mis-directed it again, and again until the year's session finally ended and the consideration of the bill died. Guess who explained that trick to me. Murphy himself, He taught me a lot of things about how the state's legislature worked in conversations and watching it in action while covering the state's legislature for television.
Sidebar: I understand that the actor who played Ray Charles in the recent movie is going to film a recreation of the time when Ray's song became the state song of Georgia and he played it before the assembled House in session. Guess who did the audio for the TV taping of that event and therefore worked with Ray Charles setting up the audio recording before the House assembled. Something happened in the setup and I refrained from telling the story when Ray died (some might have taken it the wrong way), but I'm tempted to relate it to the people doing the recreation, as Ray instantly defused a "nasty situation" into a happy time with an off the cuff joke. I liked Ray before but after that he was one of my favorite people. I'm working myself up to finaly relating the story, but I'm not fully ready yet I guess, I'm conerned that the people doing the recreation might not appreciate my telling the story.

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