tonight's topic, or something else for me to irrationally obsess overso bushie and pals reformed bankruptcy laws this week, with the help of their good friends in the credit card lobby. in an attempt to curb the growing number of chapter 7 bankruptcies filed each year (1.5 million, according to a recent harvard study), the new laws make it much harder and more expensive to gain protection from one's creditors. supporters of the bill stated that the purpose was simply to reinstate some of the stigma associated with declaring personal bankruptcy.
there is nothing wrong with forcing joe schmo who charges his new plasma television to pay up. however, the "irresponsible spenders" that congress is going after are a small minority of those who declare bankruptcy. according to newsweek, "95 percent of those who declare personal bankruptcy are swamped by job loss, family breakup, medical problems, or some combination. For about half, it's the health-care costs that do them in." and the new bankruptcy reform laws make no distinction between someone who blows his loot on unneccessary material items and someone who gets cancer.
the harvard study lends strong factual support to the need for healthcare reform in this country. the majority of the study's subjects were middle-class, property-owning, who started their illness with health insurance. and they were still driven so far into debt that when many of them made the decision to declare chapter 7, they had no assets at all to liquidate.
but of course, we have to uphold the stigma that was once attached to being financially ruined. too damn bad if you're ruined because the united states healthcare system failed you. you're just a deadbeat, as much as the guy with that porsche he got but can't make payments on.
or so says bushie and congress.
jonathan alter newsweek column
harvard school of medicine bankruptcy study
posted by amanda @ 3:10 AM