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Bankruptcy Bill Said to Hit Poorest Americans Hardest

 
Anonymous Coward
03/29/2005 08:45 PM
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Bankruptcy Bill Said to Hit Poorest Americans Hardest
Bankruptcy Bill Said to Hit Poorest Americans Hardest
Abid Aslam
OneWorld US
Sat., Mar. 12, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C., Mar 11 (OneWorld) - Millions of Americans could be plunged into financial ruin if a bill giving credit card companies long-sought relief from unpaid loans gets final Congressional approval, a broad array of consumer protection, economic justice, and civil rights groups warned.

Senators on Thursday passed the bankruptcy reform bill, which political observers said was largely crafted by the cradit card industry more than eight years ago, sending it to the House of Representatives. Lawmakers there said they could vote on final passage next month.

Every year, some 1.6 million Americans file for personal bankruptcy protection--more than five times as many as in 1980. The process, which in many respects mirrors corporate bankruptcy, allows them to come up with a creditor-reviewed and court-approved plan to write off some of their debts, pay off others, and reorganize their personal finances so they can make a fresh start.

Opponents of the first revamp of the nation磗 personal bankruptcy laws in more than a quarter-century said the legislation would deal a ruinous blow to the overwhelming majority of those forced to declare personal bankruptcy: moderate- and low-income families, many of them black or migrant or with only one parent; and individuals of modest means hit with large divorce losses or medical expenses.

创Families are borrowing to make ends meet, and they磖e one missed paycheck away from collapse,创 said Tamara Draut, director of the economic opportunity program at Demos, a think tank. 创The Congress members of both parties who are embracing these punitive measures for working families are dangerously out of touch with the grim economic realities faced by ordinary families.创

Credit card issuers said they need the new law because well-off consumers took advantage of loopholes in the old rules to rack up and walk away from unpaid loans, saddling the industry with losses of $3-4 billion per year.

Credit card issuers including MBNA Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the finance units of General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co., in lobbying for the bill, said unpaid loans ended up costing every non-defaulting cardholder, for example through higher late payment fees, higher interest rates, and stiffer repayment conditions on car loans.

创This is a common-sense solution that磗 long overdue,创 said Edward L. Yingling, executive vice president of the American Bankers Association, the trade group for the credit card industry.

In Draut磗 view, however, the bill 创rewards a $30 billion industry for egregious behavior.创 The legislation would do nothing to rein in credit card solicitations or put caps on interest rates or late fees, over-the-limit fees and other penalties, she said, yet these were among the reasons people were forced to declare bankruptcy in the first place.

The legislation is considered likely to garner House approval and Bush磗 final signature because it was stripped of clauses that appeared in earlier versions and that would have applied to controversial constituencies such as anti-abortion groups. Previous bills won lopsided majorities in the Senate only to stall in the House.

The measure would make more people file under Chapter 13 of the bankruptcy code, which requires consumers to pay back most debts over five years. Currently, most debtors file under Chapter 7, which allows many to keep some protected assets while discharging some debts and walking away from most unsecured debts such as credit card bills.

At its heart is the creation of a means test to sift out those who can afford to pay back at least a portion of such debts and those who cannot. Individuals with incomes above the median for their state would have to plead their case before a bankruptcy court.

Those deemed able to repay a lump sum of $10,000 would be forced into Chapter 13. Those who could pay 25 percent of what they owe or $6,000 in monthly payments would also be barred from writing off their unsecured debts.

Credit card companies estimated that about 20 percent of all bankruptcy filers have some assets or means to pay off their debts.

The Senate rejected more than 25 Democratic amendments to soften the bill磗 impact on bankrupt Americans. Including one that would have helped people keep their homes when they are driven into bankruptcy by medical expenses.

They approved, 99-0, one change that exempts from the bill磗 means test disabled veterans who went bankrupt while in combat or on homeland security duty.

Bankruptcy reform has been a top priority of banks, credit-card companies, and retailers for the past decade. The credit card industry has given $25 million to federal candidates and the political parties since 1999 and commercial banks have given $76.2 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group. More than 60 percent of the donations went to Republicans.

That, according to consumer protection groups including the National Consumer Law Center and Consumer Federation of America, has resulted in a package that tilts the balance of power in individual bankruptcy heavily in favor of the financial industry, at the expense of consumer protection.

Civil rights groups also have rallied to oppose the new law, formally called the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.

创Disadvantaged groups in our society disproportionately find themselves in bankruptcy courts as a result of economic discrimination in its many forms,创 said the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) in an e-mail urging members nationwide to lobby their Representatives to reject the bill.

According to LCCR, divorced women are 300 percent more likely than single or married women to find themselves in bankruptcy court because of the combined effects of lower wages, reduced access to health insurance, and the financial strain of rearing children alone.

创The proposed bill would harm hundreds of thousands of women and children who are owed child support or alimony by forcing them to compete with credit card issuers and therefore making it less likely that support payments will be made to those in need,创 the group said.

African American and Latino home owners are 500 percent more likely than white homeowners to find themselves in bankruptcy court, it added, largely due to discrimination in home mortgage lending and housing purchases and to inequalities in hiring opportunities, wages, and health insurance coverage.

According to a recent Harvard study, around half of all personal bankruptcies are the result of illness or medical bills.
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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"well-off consumers took advantage of loopholes in the old rules to rack up and walk away from unpaid loans, saddling the industry with losses of $3-4 billion per year."

there was a couple a bit away from us that built a mansion on a lake, bought the biggest boat able to be used on the lake, bought four new Lexus cars and a couple other fun trucks. they filed bankruptcy and were able to keep everything. they then bought more and filed again. by the fourth time, they were not able to file and did have an investigation started on them.

it磗 always the poor that get poorer.
GoldSolace
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Sad fact of life..

It takes money to make money...

Those that have the money make the rules...

But then, those with immunity are also the ones with money.
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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""well-off consumers took advantage of loopholes in the old rules to rack up and walk away from unpaid loans, saddling the industry with losses of $3-4 billion per year."

there was a couple a bit away from us that built a mansion on a lake, bought the biggest boat able to be used on the lake, bought four new Lexus cars and a couple other fun trucks. they filed bankruptcy and were able to keep everything. they then bought more and filed again. by the fourth time, they were not able to file and did have an investigation started on them.

it磗 always the poor that get poorer"

Exactly. You don磘 expect the legislation to ever target those people do you? They have everything and are probably some of the ones who push for this type of legislation to screw the working poor.
Apollo 11
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Your freindly neighbourhood Jew banker gets 18 to 25% percent interest due to the fact that he takes a big risk in lending money to people he doesn磘 know and barely trusts.

Now he wants to get rid of the risk while still reaping the reward. I say give the Jew banker all the protection he wants, and then cap the interest rate he can charge at 3% over prime. Little risk, little reward.
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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bump
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
5150 - Bill
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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This is what you get when you allow bankers to run the gov磘, which is exactly what the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 illegally authorized. A people ultimately gets the govt it deserves.

SOLUTION TO FORTHCOMING CRISIS: Get 100% out of debt now! Do it any which way you can, but do it. Debt = Slavery
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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You do know what this "bill" to be "law" is for, don磘 you?

Think about the timing, right before the fall of the US dollar.

Now here磗 what you can expect between now and that day the dollar is made to appear as worthless as it has always been. They will pass debtor prison laws.

Therefore they can legally imprison a great many people because of the debt they have when the instrument they use currently to pay debts off is no longer usable.

Watch and see.
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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"Now here磗 what you can expect between now and that day the dollar is made to appear as worthless as it has always been. They will pass debtor prison laws.

Therefore they can legally imprison a great many people because of the debt they have when the instrument they use currently to pay debts off is no longer usable."

Hey you forgot to mention the "military" option. The get out of debt free card.

Didnt someone say they could take away our lives but never take away our freedom? Major cheesiness.
5150 - Bill
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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I couldn磘 agree with you more. In fact, I started a thread about it on 3/16.

New Bankruptcy Laws a precursor to debtor prison Laws!


[link to www.godlikeproductions.com]

I previously stated (two years ago) that the precursor to a major financial crash would be modification of the bankruptcy laws. This is now coming to past.

When the RE market triggers a wallstreet crash TPTB will resurrect the debtor prison laws.

This is my own opinion so I have no click for you this time, but I suspect this will come to past as well.
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Yeah and then they will circumvent the draft by making prison debtors serve in the military...for free.

To pay back all the crooked bankers with blood.
REM
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: Bankruptcy Bill Said to Hit Poorest Americans Hardest
My 95 Rodeo is paid off. Wife has tried several times to get me to spring for a newer car, but I refuse to have more payments - especially since I already have a house payment and she has a new Santa Fe.

My car is my car when money fails since I owe nothing on it.

Best part is that it is all still 99% original. All I have replaced other than tires and oil is an altenator and battery. It has over 135k miles and still has the original spark plugs. Even better is how it starts and runs. Starts without any hessitation and runs as smooth today as it did brand new.

So if I lose her car and this house, I still have some means to get out of weather, just not the cold.
Crack Head Matt
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Gee, a bankruptucy law that hit磗 the poor hardest? Who磀 of thunk it? Did it ever occur to you that most people who file bankruptcy are by definition poor?

CHM
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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That is true but the corporations are using the few credit criminals that escape a bankruptcy with a few goods as the example for their proposed legislation to rape millions.

Bullshit!
Witness
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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I was just about to post the same thing!

I cracked up when I read the title of this thread, like "duh, if you are bankrupt then you are poor"!
5150 - Bill
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Yeah, like Donald (mafia) Trump, who just declared bankruptcy... we all know he磗 poor and broke.
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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"Yeah, like Donald (mafia) Trump, who just declared bankruptcy... we all know he磗 poor and broke."

Exactly. That is who they should target. Hell they don磘 need legislation just take some cops and pick his ass up..or pick him off I don磘 really fucking care.

Sonofabitches.
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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bump
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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i read an artical where if you have your car financed through let磗 say capital one, and you somehow manage to get a bankruptcy under the new law, you the debtor would be made to pay the original purchase price of the vehical, no matter if it wrecked and worth five dollars or whatever, nevermind the fact that when you drive the car off the lot it磗 value dropped by 10k. under current bankruptcy the banks will take about 50% of value or what the car is actually worth.... lovely
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Feel free to email congress your opinion of this debt slavery bill. Just cut and paste the list into your email 磗end to tab and let them have it. This format works good with Yahoo email and some addresses may kick back undeliverable.

Please reference Debt Slavery Bill S.256 in the subject header.


senator@shelby.senate.gov,
robert@mail.house.gov,
budmail@mail.house.gov,
william.delahunt@mail.house.gov,
mtmeehan@mail.house.gov,
rep.harold.ford.jr@mail.house.gov,
bart.gordon@mail.house.gov,
senator@akaka.senate.gov,
senator@inouye.senate.gov,
neil.abercrombie@mail.house.gov,
ed.case@mail.house.gov,
howard.coble@mail.house.gov,
bob.etheridge@mail.house.gov,
congmcintyre@mail.house.gov,
myrick@mail.house.gov,
david.price@mail.house.gov,
nc12.public@mail.house.gov,
faleomavaega@mail.house.gov,
gil.gutknecht@mail.house.gov,
tocollin.peterson@mail.house.gov,
mn03@mail.house.gov,
cannon.ut03@mail.house.gov,
rep.brady@mail.house.gov,
lloyd.doggett@mail.house.gov,
texas.granger@mail.house.gov,
petes@mail.house.gov,
senator@conrad.senate.gov,
senator@dorgan.senate.gov,
rep.earl.pomeroy@mail.house.gov,
lane.evans@mail.house.gov,
judiciary@mail.house.gov,
rep.johnson@mail.house.gov,
rep.kirk@mail.house.gov,
bobby.rush@mail.house.gov,
jan.schakowsky@mail.house.gov,
senator_dewine@dewine.senate.gov,
senator_voinovich@voinovich.senate.gov,
john.boehner@mail.house.gov,
sherrod@mail.house.gov,
stephanie.tubbs.jones@mail.house.gov,
rep.kaptur@mail.house.gov,
bobney@mail.house.gov,
portmail@mail.house.gov,
pryce.oh15@mail.house.gov,
senator@pryor.senate.gov,
snyder.congress@mail.house.gov,
kit_bond@bond.senate.gov,
senator_talent@talent.senate.gov,
blunt@mail.house.gov,
sam.graves@mail.house.gov,
rep.boehlert@mail.house.gov,
write2joecrowley@mail.house.gov,
vito.fossella@mail.house.gov,
mhinchey@mail.house.gov,
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rep.carolyn.maloney@mail.house.gov,
mike.mcnulty@mail.house.gov,
jerrold.nadler@mail.house.gov,
major.owens@mail.house.gov,
rep.reynolds@mail.house.gov,
jserrano@mail.house.gov,
rep.james.walsh@mail.house.gov,
john.conyers@mail.house.gov,
rep.ehlers@mail.house.gov,
tellhoek@mail.house.gov,
dkildee@mail.house.gov,
stupak@mail.house.gov,
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info@kyl.senate.gov,
john_mccain@mccain.senate.gov,
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senator@bayh.senate.gov,
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jack@reed.senate.gov,
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rob.andrews@mail.house.gov,
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senator_byrd@byrd.senate.gov,
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joe.wilson@mail.house.gov,
saxby_chambliss@chambliss.senate.gov,
bishop.email@mail.house.gov,
jack.kingston@mail.house.gov,
john.lewis@mail.house.gov,
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senator_bingaman@bingaman.senate.gov,
ask.heather@mail.house.gov,
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doolittle@mail.house.gov,
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Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Maybe if they all got a job , they wouldnt be poor !
FOOLS !afro
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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An amendment by Kennedy to raise the minimum wage $2.10/hr was defeated.

An amendment by Santorum to raise the minimum wage $1.10/hr was defeated.

The minimum wage hasn磘 been increased since 1997.

Since that time, members of Congress have received seven pay raises totaling $28,500.
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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This situation has been created by the unholy alliance in the Republican party between wealthy people who want tax cuts and less business regulation and the religious right who want the country to become a theocracy.

So far the wealthy have gotten the better of the deal, but the Republicans are trying very hard to move the country toward religious intolerence. We will see how things work out.

One thing is certain - if you are neither a religious fundamentalist nor a wealthy person, you will get screwed. At some point the middle class will catch on to what is going on, but it may be too late by the time they do.
Shadow
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Does anyone know when Congress votes on this? I can磘 seem to find that info anywhere, all I know is 磂arly next month.
Useful Idiot
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Bankruptcy comes directly from scripture.

In Old Testament Israel bankruptcy was MANDATORY for EVERYONE every six seven years. This is reflected in our current code which allows one chapter 7 filing each six years (seventh year was the sabbath). Today its voluntary

Do you suppose God knew something congress doesn磘?
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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I can just hear it -

"NO! BUSH IS A GREAT MAN! HE Would never never never put the good of Corporations ahead of me, a faithful, Christian, Red-Stater..."

If the poor fuck even knows what is going on (probably not).
Shadow
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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"It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages."

--Henry Ford
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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"If the poor fuck even knows what is going on (probably not)."

Not until they feel like even bigger debt slaves.
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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<>

True. The year before all of this, 1912, what an interesting year this was. What world major 磀istraction or hmm.....(cough)terrible 磏atural disaster happened?

Anyone know????
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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bump