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Old 03-10-2005, 03:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Bankruptcy Reform: Are Bush & Republican Legislators "Betraying" Their Constituents ?

This is the "politics" forum.........yet I have not seen this, one of the most far reaching acts that the Bush led, Republican majority have pulled off in favor of business lobbyists, and to the expense and the detriment of the American people and to
the national economy, receive much attention. Democrats successfully prevented this from happening for the last eight years, and now....it will happen !
<b>
I watch this forum with amazement as "issues', like the "Smoking Ban" thread garner over 200 messages, and over 1600 views, and that "Wearing your Pants Low" thread (or whatever the "F" it was called),and the thread about the girl who wore the confederate flag dress, just kept on distracting posters and lurkers here, from more important issues. I realize that many members here are young, but c'mon, these are serious times, and this is an alarmingly serious issue:</b>

1.) Almost all Republicans and some Democrats bought off by the credit industry are about to sell out most middle class and poorer Americans, disproportionately located in red states where there are the highest chapter 7 bankruptcy filing rates per total households.

2.) After the bill passes and Bush signs it, there will be a six month window for those who want to take advantage of current chapter 7 filing rules, to declare bankruptcy and to then discharge most, or all of their debts. This will trigger filings that might not have taken place, otherwise.

3.) Once this bill takes effect, a whole new class of bankruptcy filers will be created who will be chronically burdened with debt that would have been discharged under the old rules. No one knows how many of these folks will be prevented from making a new start as consumers, and this will have the severest economic effects on the already poorest areas of the country, primarily in areas that voted for Bush!

4.) The wealthy (those who carry no credit card balances from month to month, because they pay the total bill off monthly),
were never affected by the higher interest rates and fees that credit card companies claim to have to levy because of losses cause by "excessive" chapter 7 filings. Attempts to prohibit interest rates above 30 percent were blocked from the new bill. There is no guarantee that the bill will influence credit card providers to lower the rates that they charge to borrowers.

5.) Although this is primarily a Republican move against the debtor class, prominent Democrats such as senators Biden (bought off by his state's banking giant MBNA), and John Kerry have also sold out to the corporate contributors. (Clinton refused to sign a similar version of this bill into law when the Republican congress passed a similar version during his second term.

I think that I've documented this "sell out" fairly thoroughly,
and I hope that if you come here to post a defense of the bill, you will provide evidence that it is fair, necessary, and is in the best interests of the majority of the constituents represented by those who sponsored, voted for, and signed it into law.

Does it really "protect the consumer" as it's title describes?
Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.

What could legislators from "high chapter 7 filer" states be thinking when they vote for this? Is Hatch representing Utah better than Kennedy and Dodd represent their New England
states in this matter?
Quote:
<a href="http://www.opensecrets.org/pressreleases/careerprof.asp">http://www.opensecrets.org/pressreleases/careerprof.asp</a>
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- March 8, 2005
CONTACT: STEVEN WEISS (202/857-0044 or editor@capitaleye.org)

'CAREER PROFILES' SHOW LAWMAKERS'
16-YEAR FUNDRAISING TOTALS

Among the interests lobbying in support of the bankruptcy bill currently before the Senate is the credit industry, which has contributed more than $40 million to federal candidates and political parties since 1989. But the senators who have raised the most campaign money from credit card companies during that time do not include Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), the majority leader, or Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the bill's sponsor.

That distinction belongs to Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who has raised $316,700 from the credit industry over the past 16 years, tops among current senators. Virtually all of that -- $300,700 -- has come from the employees and political action committee of MBNA, the nation's top credit card issuer. Snowe is fourth on the list when all current and past members of Congress are ranked.................
Quote:
<a href="http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050309/ZNYT01/503090399/1001/BUSINESS">http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050309/ZNYT01/503090399/1001/BUSINESS</a>
In a letter to Congress two weeks ago, 104 bankruptcy law professors predicted that "the deepest hardship" would "be felt in the heartland," where the filing rates are highest - Utah, Tennessee, Georgia, Nevada, Indiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio, Mississippi and Idaho.
Quote:
<a href="http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/business/articles/0310talton10.html">http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/business/articles/0310talton10.html</a>

The new measure will make it more difficult for debtors to file under Chapter 7, which allows for a fresh start. Instead, more people would be forced to use Chapter 13, with the bankruptcy court overseeing a five-year repayment. Unfortunately, the new law does nothing to address the aggressive marketing of credit. It also contains a loophole for wealthy debtors to shield expensive assets from the bankruptcy court. Yet another exception allows the rich to set up a trust that is protected from creditors.
<b>
Average Americans will not see such sweetheart treatment. Will they care? Polls show that middle-class Whites supported President Bush over John Kerry on the economy by a wide margin. Yet Bush's agenda is based on shifting more risk and greater costs to average Americans, while lowering regulation on business and cutting taxes for the extremely wealthy.</b>

Arizonans, with below-average incomes, declining numbers of jobs with health benefits, and high debt, will feel the consequences quickly. And debt collection, the ultimate countercyclical sector, will go on.
Quote:
<a href="http://washingtontimes.com/business/20050309-094632-2191r.htm">http://washingtontimes.com/business/20050309-094632-2191r.htm</a>Senate rejects bankruptcy amendments

From combined dispatches
Efforts to soften the effect of tougher bankruptcy rules on families with children and close a loophole for the wealthy were rejected by the Senate yesterday as the legislation moved toward expected passage.
A final vote on the measure, making it more difficult for consumers to erase their debts in bankruptcy court, was expected to wait until today as debate continued on amendments.
Banks, credit-card companies and retailers have sought the changes for years, arguing that bankruptcy has become too easy. The measure is also favored by the White House.
Critics charge the measure is too harsh and rewards lenders who have encouraged consumers to take on higher debt burdens.
The legislation contains a means test that would force more filers to enter compulsory repayment plans, rather than having their assets liquidated to repay creditors.
With Senate approval virtually assured after the bill cleared two key hurdles on Tuesday, backers yesterday rejected proposals to ease the impact of the legislation on families with children, young people below age 21 and people with below-median incomes.
<b>They also rejected a proposal by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, to close a loophole that benefits wealthier people in states with unlimited homestead exemptions, such as Texas and Florida.
His amendment would have capped the amount allowed for homestead exemptions at $300,000. It was rejected 53-47</b>.
Senate backers of the bill said they were trying to avoid amendments because House leaders have pledged to act promptly if the Senate does not make major changes. House leaders hope to vote early next month on the bill and send it to President Bush for signing into law.
<b>But Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, said the bill puts a straitjacket on families with children.
"Clearly, there is a need to reform the bankruptcy laws. But it requires a sense of balance," he said.</b>
His amendment would have made the means test more flexible to help families with children, by allowing larger education payments and ensuring that child-support payments are not diverted to creditors. It was rejected 58-42.
Senators also rejected 60-40 a proposal by Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, to ask judges to consider if a person under age 21 has been issued at least seven credit cards. Mrs. Boxer said credit-card companies were acting irresponsibly, "enticing" young people into debt.
Critics say the bill hurts people burdened with medical debt or who have lost their jobs.
"It makes it harder to get a fresh start," said Maureen Thompson, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. "Most people file for bankruptcy only when they have no other options. Most often, they have tried to pay back that debt."
Others say innocent people will suffer because of the credit abuses of a few.
"The overall concern is that this bill takes a sort of 'scorched earth' approach to bankruptcy reform," said Travis Plunkett, legislative director of the Consumer Federation of America, a consumer-advocacy group. "There are some so-called 'abusers' of the system. The dispute is whether this bill is a proportional response to the problem."
<b>A recent Harvard University study found that costly illnesses led to about half of all personal bankruptcies.</b>
The bill's main sponsor, Iowa Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley, insisted the measure was fair and necessary, saying there had been an "explosion" in bankruptcy filings.
"It's become an economic problem where the average person in America is paying $550 for goods and services because somebody else didn't pay their bills," Sen. Grassley said.
• Tom Ramstack contributed to this report.
Orrin Hatch appears to be selling out his own constituents even as kennedy, who represents a state with constituents who have much less to lose if this bill passes, continues the eight year fight against it !
Quote:
<a href="http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_2594332">http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_2594332</a>
Hatch, Kennedy at odds on bankruptcy bill
Friends debate: The Utah senator favors a means test for filers; his Massachusetts opponent is opposed
By Christopher Smith
The Salt Lake Tribune

WASHINGTON - A bill to toughen federal bankruptcy laws has pitted Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah with personal friend and political nemesis, Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, in a series of verbal battles this week.
Hatch is one of the leaders of the Republican effort to enact a "means test" and make it harder for individuals to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection from creditors. The test would determine if filers have the financial ability to repay some of their debts, rather than erasing outstanding bills upon forfeiture of some of their assets.
If filers are deemed financially capable of paying back some of their debt under the new means test, they would not get the "fresh start" provided by Chapter 7 and would instead be pushed into Chapter 13 bankruptcy and a court-administered repayment plan.,b>
The bill could have wide-ranging impacts on residents of Utah, where bankruptcy filings per household lead the nation. In the fiscal year that ended in June, 21,312 Utah residents filed for bankruptcy, with a majority of 14,747 seeking Chapter 7 protection.</b>
And....here's the quote that those who simply want to "shoot the messenger", <br>and then pass that off as a substantative response to the newest theft directed at "the least of us" by the government/corporate/high-net-worth establishment, can use......to avoid actually trying to defend this act on it's merits, because it in indefensible.
Quote:
<a href="http://www.opednews.com/wade_031005_mcmedia.htm">http://www.opednews.com/wade_031005_mcmedia.htm</a>
You Want Lies With That?<b>Just an Average Week in Bush’s America, Protections for the Rich, Police States for the Poor and McMedia for All</b>

By Anthony Wade

March 10, 2005

www.OpEdNews.com

.........This week however, we saw the crystallization of the rich get richer under Bush with the passing of the new bankruptcy laws. It has always been allowed in this country for people to eradicate poor financial mistakes and start over. Second chances one would say have been uniquely American, as opposed to Bush who thinks working three jobs is uniquely American. There is always a punishment, in that the person would need at least ten years to rebuild their credit rating back to the point of being acceptable. The credit card companies never really suffered as these conditions are what lead the companies to charge outrageous financing fees. Not content with this though, the credit card companies have lobbied Congress to stick it to the American people by making it far more difficult for people to declare bankruptcy.

This past week saw attempts by democratic senators to amend this egregious law to protect:

The elderly – an amendment would have shielded the elderly from losing their home, only up to $75,000 in value. Often it is medical problems and limited income that leaves the elderly with no option but bankruptcy.

The sick – an amendment would have protected people from these new standards if the bankruptcy was a direct result of a catastrophic illness.

Veterans – an amendment would have protected our returning soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq who so often face financial hardship upon their return.

Do these sound fair to you? Well, not in George W. Bush’s America. All three amendments were defeated. Not even victims of identity theft would be exempt from these new laws. Here though, is what makes this week’s actions take shape as being pure Bush, Congress refused to close loopholes in this law designed to protect millionaires.

Did you get that America? Your Congress is passing a law to hold you accountable for debt, but in the same law have set up “asset protection trusts” for the filthy rich. Another amendment was introduced this week that would have reduced these trusts to $125,000 or less and you guessed it, it was defeated. This is what led NY Senator Chuck Schumer to regret, “now we have a bill that says a family won't be protected if it has $50,000, but it will if it has $5 million." THAT, is life under George W. Bush................
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Old 03-10-2005, 05:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes.

This Bankruptcy law makes me sick. The credit card companies are able to charge 18-30% intrest rates because they know the risk involved in issuing unsecured credit. Now, the GOPers are going to bat for them because of their incessant whining. If they put a clause in the bill to lower the intrest rates or leave them in chekc, then fine, it can be a good law. But the fact that this bill is blantantly a sell out and only serves to protect CC companies is sickening.

And host, it's not just the GOPer. The saintly Dems are just as bad
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Old 03-10-2005, 05:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
This vexes me. I am terribly vexed.
 
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Both parties are still owned by the credit industry. And we will just sit back and take it.
This country still needs some major campaign reforms to keep all corporate money out of politics.
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Old 03-10-2005, 06:01 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't like the law as it does serve solely the corporate masters, but aren't we misplacing the blame of personal debt. Sure there are examples of veteran's returning from war, the elderly, etc. where the debt incurred is not entirely their fault. But if we speak clearly and fairly, those middle American, middle class folks with high consumer debt and high Chapter 7 filings have no one to blame but themselves. Just because credit is "aggressively" marketed to you doesn't mean that you have to use it aggressively.

And the idea that
Quote:
4.) The wealthy (those who carry no credit card balances from month to month, because they pay the total bill off monthly),
were never affected by the higher interest rates and fees that credit card companies claim
is just ridiculous. The "wealthy" in the above statement could and should be replaced by "the responsible". I am NOT wealthy. I have never carried a credit card balance longer than a month even in cases of emergency like medical bills, major car repairs, etc. People who are responsible do not pay the interest that credit card companies charge and do not need to file bankrupcy.

So, yes, I am against the law. But only because it represents only the interests of the corporations and the extremely wealthy. If it can't be applied to all, it shouldn't be applied to any.
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Old 03-10-2005, 06:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
This vexes me. I am terribly vexed.
 
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Location: Grantville, Pa
Top 10 states in bankruptcy filings regularly go red. They are also some of the poorest states.

Credit companies deliberately target the ignorant like college kids with a "great deal" that has all kinds of penalties and hidden fees behind a 50 page book of rules and regulations.
They do what they can to fuck us and take more of our money and now are doing all they can to make sure they get all of it.

Last edited by Superbelt; 03-10-2005 at 06:18 AM..
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Old 03-10-2005, 06:32 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbelt
Top 10 states in bankruptcy filings regularly go red. They are also some of the poorest states.

Credit companies deliberately target the ignorant like college kids with a "great deal" that has all kinds of penalties and hidden fees behind a 50 page book of rules and regulations.They do what they can to fuck us and take more of our money and now are doing all they can to make sure they get all of it.


Exactly. The CC companies need to be reigned in as much as the consumer.
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Old 03-10-2005, 07:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It is certainly ironic that the polititians who are anything but fiscally responsible are passing a bill to make us more so. It isn't just irresponsible credit card use that is the problem when something like 50% of the bankruptcies are caused by medical bills.
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Old 03-10-2005, 10:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Yeah, this is primarily a Republican bill. But several Democrats support it or voted for cloture, including Lieberman and Biden.

Democrats at least try to insert amendments that would provide exceptions for those who entered bankruptcy due to medical expenses, our troops, and a few others.

Republicans shot those down.
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Old 03-10-2005, 12:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbelt
Top 10 states in bankruptcy filings regularly go red. They are also some of the poorest states.

Credit companies deliberately target the ignorant like college kids with a "great deal" that has all kinds of penalties and hidden fees behind a 50 page book of rules and regulations.
They do what they can to fuck us and take more of our money and now are doing all they can to make sure they get all of it.
If I can impart one thing to all who read my posts to this forum, it is my
frustration with those American voters who sell out their own best interests with their votes, doing it with confidence, enthusiasm, and obliviousness.

This is the most important news coverage on this thread:
[quote]
Quote:
<a href="http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/business/articles/0310talton10.html">http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/business/articles/0310talton10.html</a>

The new measure will make it more difficult for debtors to file under Chapter 7, which allows for a fresh start. Instead, more people would be forced to use Chapter 13, with the bankruptcy court overseeing a five-year repayment. Unfortunately, the new law does nothing to address the aggressive marketing of credit. It also contains a loophole for wealthy debtors to shield expensive assets from the bankruptcy court. Yet another exception allows the rich to set up a trust that is protected from creditors.
<b>
Average Americans will not see such sweetheart treatment. Will they care? Polls show that middle-class Whites supported President Bush over John Kerry on the economy by a wide margin. Yet Bush's agenda is based on shifting more risk and greater costs to average Americans, while lowering regulation on business and cutting taxes for the extremely wealthy.</b>

Arizonans, with below-average incomes, declining numbers of jobs with health benefits, and high debt, will feel the consequences quickly. And debt collection, the ultimate countercyclical sector, will go on.
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Old 03-10-2005, 12:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by host
Democrats successfully prevented this from happening for the last eight years, and now....it will happen !
IIRC, in 2000-2001, the House passed the bill almost unanimously. It died not because the Democrats scuttled it, but because 9/11 stole it's momentum. Democrats, Republicans, they're all whores to the CC companies.

It'll be interesting to see if there's a 13th Amendment challenge to this.
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Old 03-10-2005, 12:35 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by braisler
But if we speak clearly and fairly, those middle American, middle class folks with high consumer debt and high Chapter 7 filings have no one to blame but themselves. Just because credit is "aggressively" marketed to you doesn't mean that you have to use it aggressively.
To this, I will merely state: ditto

Bankruptcy is abused, not in all cases, but some. I had a friend who, right before declaring bankruptcy, maxed all of her credit out because she knew that her debts would disappear after the bankruptcy.

The system gets abused, by creditors and debtors, and needs some type of repair. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like this "plan" will do anything to hold creditors accountable (i.e. false advertising by Capital One).
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Old 03-10-2005, 06:58 PM   #12 (permalink)
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"Yeah, this is primarily a Republican bill. But several Democrats support it or voted for cloture, including Lieberman and Biden.

Democrats at least try to insert amendments that would provide exceptions for those who entered bankruptcy due to medical expenses, our troops, and a few others.

Republicans shot those down."

Nice to see this got threadjacked into one more RvD party.
Right before the title, despite any tempering in the body.

That aside, I would have to think that in this economy, the passage of the bill will have to be balanced out by other party's ceding something else eventually.

The large sum of money owed, I would think, would have such dramatic repercussions that some other balancing force would have to come at some point. Not to say it couldn't really hurt some people first. Not to say that it won't make some people think twice either.

On this one I'm not smart enough to think I can forsee the effects of this. For all I know, enough people may be scared off of cards, like me already, that the CC companies themselves start to feel the pinch.

i dunno.

-fibber
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Old 03-10-2005, 08:23 PM   #13 (permalink)
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If by constituents you mean big business, then no.
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Old 03-11-2005, 02:08 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Posted here in error............

Last edited by host; 03-11-2005 at 02:27 AM..
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Old 03-11-2005, 02:25 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I believe that there is an increasing inability of voters to vote in their own best interests. The March 10, U.S. Senate bankruptcy "reform" bill vote seems to reinforce this argument:

1.) The 20 senators from the ten states with the highest numbers of bankruptcy filings per number of total households (!6 Repubs, 4 Dems) all voted to pass the bill which will financially harm their constituents.

2. Utah has the most bankruptcy filings, yet it's households average $12000 more income per year than in Maine, which is 48th on the bankruptcy filing frequency list. As in voting, avoiding bankruptcy seems more related to sound decision making than it does to your income amount.

3.) Seven senators from the ten states with the lowest bankruptcy filings
voted against the bill. All seven are democrats, and include John Kerry.
(9 Repubs, 10 Dems, 1 Ind.)

4.)The nine states with 2003 household income averages above $50,000 are represented in the U.S. Senate by 11 Democrats and 7 Republicans.
Seven of these highest income states voted for Kerry in 2004.

The nine states with 2003 household income averages under $37,200 are represented in the U.S. Senate by 7 Democrats and 11 Republicans.
Eight of these lowest income states voted for Bush in 2004.

<a href="http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=1&vote=00044">http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=1&vote=00044</a>

Alabama: Sessions (R-AL), Yea Shelby (R-AL), Yea
Alaska: Murkowski (R-AK), Yea Stevens (R-AK), Yea
Arizona: Kyl (R-AZ), Yea McCain (R-AZ), Yea
Arkansas: Lincoln (D-AR), Yea Pryor (D-AR), Yea
California: Boxer (D-CA), Nay Feinstein (D-CA), Nay
Colorado: Allard (R-CO), Yea Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Connecticut: Dodd (D-CT), Nay Lieberman (D-CT), Nay
Delaware: Biden (D-DE), Yea Carper (D-DE), Yea
Florida: Martinez (R-FL), Yea Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Georgia: Chambliss (R-GA), Yea Isakson (R-GA), Yea
Hawaii: Akaka (D-HI), Nay Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Idaho: Craig (R-ID), Yea Crapo (R-ID), Yea
Illinois: Durbin (D-IL), Nay Obama (D-IL), Nay
Indiana: Bayh (D-IN), Yea Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Iowa: Grassley (R-IA), Yea Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Kansas: Brownback (R-KS), Yea Roberts (R-KS), Yea
Kentucky: Bunning (R-KY), Yea McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Louisiana: Landrieu (D-LA), Yea Vitter (R-LA), Yea
Maine: Collins (R-ME), Yea Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Maryland: Mikulski (D-MD), Nay Sarbanes (D-MD), Nay
Massachusetts: Kennedy (D-MA), Nay Kerry (D-MA), Nay
Michigan: Levin (D-MI), Nay Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Minnesota: Coleman (R-MN), Yea Dayton (D-MN), Nay
Mississippi: Cochran (R-MS), Yea Lott (R-MS), Yea
Missouri: Bond (R-MO), Yea Talent (R-MO), Yea
Montana: Baucus (D-MT), Yea Burns (R-MT), Yea
Nebraska: Hagel (R-NE), Yea Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Nevada: Ensign (R-NV), Yea Reid (D-NV), Yea
New Hampshire: Gregg (R-NH), Yea Sununu (R-NH), Yea
New Jersey: Corzine (D-NJ), Nay Lautenberg (D-NJ), Nay
New Mexico: Bingaman (D-NM), Yea Domenici (R-NM), Yea
New York: Clinton (D-NY), Not Voting Schumer (D-NY), Nay
North Carolina: Burr (R-NC), Yea Dole (R-NC), Yea
North Dakota: Conrad (D-ND), Yea Dorgan (D-ND), Nay
Ohio: DeWine (R-OH), Yea Voinovich (R-OH), Yea
Oklahoma: Coburn (R-OK), Yea Inhofe (R-OK), Yea
Oregon: Smith (R-OR), Yea Wyden (D-OR), Nay
Pennsylvania: Santorum (R-PA), Yea Specter (R-PA), Yea
Rhode Island: Chafee (R-RI), Yea Reed (D-RI), Nay
South Carolina: DeMint (R-SC), Yea Graham (R-SC), Yea
South Dakota: Johnson (D-SD), Yea Thune (R-SD), Yea
Tennessee: Alexander (R-TN), Yea Frist (R-TN), Yea
Texas: Cornyn (R-TX), Yea Hutchison (R-TX), Yea
Utah: Bennett (R-UT), Yea Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Vermont: Jeffords (I-VT), Yea Leahy (D-VT), Nay
Virginia: Allen (R-VA), Yea Warner (R-VA), Yea
Washington: Cantwell (D-WA), Nay Murray (D-WA), Nay
West Virginia: Byrd (D-WV), Yea Rockefeller (D-WV), Nay
Wisconsin: Feingold (D-WI), Nay Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Wyoming: Enzi (R-WY), Yea Thomas (R-WY), Yea

<a href="http://www.abiworld.org/statcharts/HouseRank.htm">2004 Household Bankruptcy Rankings, by State</a> 2003 HH Income
1- Utah: Bennett (R-UT), Yea Hatch (R-UT), Yea $49276
2 -Tennessee: Alexander (R-TN), Yea Frist (R-TN), Yea $37523
3 - Georgia: Chambliss (R-GA), Yea Isakson (R-GA), Yea $42438
4 - Nevada: Ensign (R-NV), Yea Reid (D-NV), Yea $45184
5 - Indiana: Bayh (D-IN), Yea Lugar (R-IN), Yea $42425
6 - Alabama: Sessions (R-AL), Yea Shelby (R-AL), Yea $37255
7 - Arkansas: Lincoln (D-AR), Yea Pryor (D-AR), Yea $32002
8 - Ohio: DeWine (R-OH), Yea Voinovich (R-OH), Yea $43520
9 - Mississippi: Cochran (R-MS), Yea Lott (R-MS), Yea $32728
10- Idaho: Craig (R-ID), Yea Crapo (R-ID), Yea $42372
11- Oklahoma: Coburn (R-OK), Yea Inhofe (R-OK), Yea $35902
12- Illinois: Durbin (D-IL), Nay Obama (D-IL), Nay $45153
13- Oregon: Smith (R-OR), Yea Wyden (D-OR), Nay $41638
14- Kentucky: Bunning (R-KY), Yea McConnell (R-KY), Yea $36936
15- Washington: Cantwell (D-WA), Nay Murray (D-WA), Nay $47508
16- Louisiana: Landrieu (D-LA), Yea Vitter (R-LA), Yea $33507
17- Missouri: Bond (R-MO), Yea Talent (R-MO), Yea $43762
18- Maryland: Mikulski (D-MD), Nay Sarbanes (D-MD), Nay $52314
19- Michigan: Levin (D-MI), Nay Stabenow (D-MI), Yea $45022
20- Virginia: Allen (R-VA), Yea Warner (R-VA), Yea $54783

41- South Dakota: Johnson (D-SD), Yea Thune (R-SD), Yea $39522
42- South Carolina: DeMint (R-SC), Yea Graham (R-SC), Yea $38479
43- Connecticut: Dodd (D-CT), Nay Lieberman (D-CT), Nay $54965
44- New Hampshire: Gregg (R-NH), Yea Sununu (R-NH), Yea $55567
45- DC (No Senators) $45044
46- North Dakota: Conrad (D-ND), Yea Dorgan (D- -ND), Nay $40410
47- Hawaii: Akaka (D-HI), Nay Inouye (D-HI), Yea $51834
48- Maine: Collins (R-ME), Yea Snowe (R-ME), Yea $37113
49- Massachusetts: Kennedy (D-MA), Nay Kerry (D-MA), Nay $50955
50- Vermont: Jeffords (I-VT), Yea Leahy (D-VT), Nay $43261
51- Alaska: Murkowski (R-AK), Yea Stevens (R-AK), Yea $51837

<a href="http://www.census.gov/hhes/income/histinc/h08.html">http://www.census.gov/hhes/income/ </a>
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Old 03-11-2005, 02:27 AM   #16 (permalink)
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http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,150017,00.html

Quote:
Each year, somewhere between 30,000 and 210,000 people — from 3.5 percent to 20 percent of those who currently dissolve their debts in bankruptcy — would be disqualified from doing so under the legislation, according to American Bankruptcy Institute estimates. The institute is a group of bankruptcy judges, lawyers and other experts.

The legislation would set up an income-based test for measuring a debtor's ability to repay debts. It would require people in bankruptcy to pay for credit counseling and stiffen some legal requirements for debtors in the bankruptcy process.

Under the new income test, those with insufficient assets or income could still file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which if approved by a judge, erases debts entirely after certain assets are forfeited. But those with income above the state's median income who can pay at least $6,000 over five years — $100 a month — would be forced into Chapter 13, where a judge would then order a repayment plan.

I'm all for bankruptcy reform because let's face it we all know someone that maxed out their cards before filing or filed needlessly. However, this is not the reform needed. If this law passes the House every American in the lower 90% will feel the crunch. Shoot the courts could effectively decide that even people on welfare can make a $100 month payment. I also agree whole heartedly with flstf, it's certainly ironic that the very politicians that can't seem to balance their own budget are forcing every poor and middle class American to balance theirs while the rich get yet another loophole. I would venture to say the people this screws the most didn't have any idea this was coming when they cast their ballot last November. Sadly, a large percentage of them still haven't a clue how badly they are getting screwed. This should give the Democratic Party a little shot in the arm next election. It's pathetic the Republicans are expending so much political capital on measures to make the rich richer and the poor poorer when so many other worth while things could and should be done for all Americans.

*edit* And to add insult to injury, people that can't afford to pay their bills now are forced into yet another monthly bill to pay for credit counseling.

Last edited by scout; 03-11-2005 at 02:33 AM..
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Old 03-11-2005, 02:39 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scout
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,150017,00.html




I'm all for bankruptcy reform because let's face it we all know someone that maxed out their cards before filing or filed needlessly. However, this is not the reform needed. If this law passes the House every American in the lower 90% will feel the crunch. Shoot the courts could effectively decide that even people on welfare can make a $100 month payment. I also agree whole heartedly with flstf, it's certainly ironic that the very politicians that can't seem to balance their own budget are forcing every poor and middle class American to balance theirs while the rich get yet another loophole. I would venture to say the people this screws the most didn't have any idea this was coming when they cast their ballot last November. Sadly, a large percentage of them still haven't a clue how badly they are getting screwed. This should give the Democratic Party a little shot in the arm next election. It's pathetic the Republicans are expending so much political capital on measures to make the rich richer and the poor poorer when so many other worth while things could and should be done for all Americans.

*edit* And to add insult to injury, people that can't afford to pay their bills now are forced into yet another monthly bill to pay for credit counseling.
Because of this sell out of the American people, does it follow that Bush and Republican legislative leaders' motives are suspect as far as SSI reform and efforts to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, or will this bankruptcy "reform"
legislation simply be regarded by Bush supporters as an isolated lapse in judgment?
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Old 03-11-2005, 03:03 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by host
Because of this sell out of the American people, does it follow that Bush and Republican legislative leaders' motives are suspect as far as SSI reform and efforts to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, or will this bankruptcy "reform"
legislation simply be regarded by Bush supporters as an isolated lapse in judgment?
Only time will tell, however I tend to believe it will be the latter "isolated lapse in judgement".

host, while generally I respectfully disagree with a lot of your political views I have to admit total agreement on this issue. This is not good for middle class Americans in any way, shape or form.

Everyone should be contacting their respective Representives whether it be Republican or Democrat and urge them to vote it down. It hasn't passed the House yet so there is still time. I feel both sides let us down, hell even the Democratic Senator from my state voted yea and I assure you I will be emailing him letting him know my disappointment in the way he cast his vote. It won't do any good to email the Republican Senator [Lugar] as he is in his last term before retirement anyway and it's a given he will vote the party line.

Last edited by scout; 03-11-2005 at 03:07 AM..
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Old 03-11-2005, 10:16 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I don't like this at all. I also read that this bill has loopholes that can be used to shield assests for wealthy people decalaring bankruptcy. Why am I not surprised?

One thing is true though, there are more people who are able to file Ch13 and we should get them to.

On a side note, it's good to see a thread where everyone is in agreement to some extent

Last edited by kutulu; 03-11-2005 at 10:36 AM..
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Old 03-11-2005, 08:19 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I guess I'll be the asshole here......Where's the rub? If you can't pay it back, don't borrow it! Seems simple enough to me.
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Old 03-12-2005, 03:21 AM   #21 (permalink)
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The majority of bankruptcies happen after some sort of personal disaster such as job loss, major sickness etc. so it ain't as simple as " if you can't pay it back then don't borrow it....".
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Old 03-12-2005, 04:31 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RangerDick
I guess I'll be the asshole here......Where's the rub? If you can't pay it back, don't borrow it! Seems simple enough to me.
It is hard to argue that people should not pay their bills. However I think they should have made some exceptions for medical caused bankruptcies. The statement that we are all one serious illness away from bankruptcy is what concerns me.
Quote:
Medical Problems Cause Half of Personal Bankruptcies
Majority of debtors were insured when illness struck


WEDNESDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDayNews) -- Illness and medical bills contributed to roughly half the personal bankruptcy filings in 2001, affecting as many as 2.2 million Americans, a new Harvard study says.

More than 75 percent of the filers had insurance, but many of them lost coverage during their illness, the research showed.

The study, which appears in the Feb. 2 issue of Health Affairs, provides a rare -- and stark -- glimpse into the medical causes of bankruptcy in the United States.

People who succumb to medical debt are mostly middle-class or working-class people who own their own homes and have at least some college education, the study found.

"I think the message that we take away is, really, nobody is safe in our country. Short of (Microsoft Chairman) Bill Gates, if you're sick enough long enough, you're likely to be financially ruined," cautioned study author Dr. David Himmelstein, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

"We're all one serious illness away from bankruptcy," he added.
Medical Problems Cause Half of Personal Bankruptcies
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Old 03-12-2005, 09:58 AM   #23 (permalink)
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THis thread may prove interesting. I agree with a great deal of what's been said, even by people with whom I normally disagree. Then again, I haven't seen a post by Manx here yet, so I'll stay tuned.

On another note, I received a public request not to do sequential posts. One member said it caused him problems. I PM'd to ask what problems it caused, and didn't receive a reply.

So I'm going to do it again. If this way of (in my mind, at least) maintaining clarity causes trouble for someone else, let me know.

Let the games begin:

Quote:
Originally Posted by host
This is the "politics" forum.........yet I have not seen this, one of the most far reaching acts that the Bush led, Republican majority have pulled off in favor of business lobbyists, and to the expense and the detriment of the American people and to
the national economy, receive much attention. Democrats successfully prevented this from happening for the last eight years, and now....it will happen !
<b>

I watch this forum with amazement as "issues', like the "Smoking Ban" thread garner over 200 messages, and over 1600 views, and that "Wearing your Pants Low" thread (or whatever the "F" it was called),and the thread about the girl who wore the confederate flag dress, just kept on distracting posters and lurkers here, from more important issues. I realize that many members here are young, but c'mon, these are serious times, and this is an alarmingly serious issue:</b>

That might be a good sign. Possibly our members don't bankrupt much. A great many people don't get involved with issues that don't seem to affect them directly. You aren't usually a crusader for better sewers until one backs up near your home.


Quote:
1.) Almost all Republicans and some Democrats bought off by the credit industry are about to sell out most middle class and poorer Americans, disproportionately located in red states where there are the highest chapter 7 bankruptcy filing rates per total households.
I'm not so sure about that. One reason the rates are so high is the high rate of loss via bankruptcy and identity theft.

Quote:
2.) After the bill passes and Bush signs it, there will be a six month window for those who want to take advantage of current chapter 7 filing rules, to declare bankruptcy and to then discharge most, or all of their debts. This will trigger filings that might not have taken place, otherwise.
Do you really think they weren't going to bankrupt anyway?

Quote:
3.) Once this bill takes effect, a whole new class of bankruptcy filers will be created who will be chronically burdened with debt that would have been discharged under the old rules. No one knows how many of these folks will be prevented from making a new start as consumers, and this will have the severest economic effects on the already poorest areas of the country, primarily in areas that voted for Bush!
It might also create a class of mom-and-pop businesses who aren't ruined by a customer bankruptcy. Lending rules might also be eased if bankruptcy weren't so easy, which would lead to a small business increase or boom.


Quote:
4.) The wealthy (those who carry no credit card balances from month to month, because they pay the total bill off monthly),
were never affected by the higher interest rates and fees that credit card companies claim to have to levy because of losses cause by "excessive" chapter 7 filings. Attempts to prohibit interest rates above 30 percent were blocked from the new bill. There is no guarantee that the bill will influence credit card providers to lower the rates that they charge to borrowers.
And the ability of CC companies to flout usury laws truly DOES suck. However, IMO, you're pretty stupid and/or lazy to take out long-term debt on a credit card. Any rational and responsible person would walk into a bank and take out a loan at a more reasonable rate. If a credit card company will loan you money, so will a bank.
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Old 03-12-2005, 10:00 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbelt
Both parties are still owned by the credit industry. And we will just sit back and take it.
This country still needs some major campaign reforms to keep all corporate money out of politics.
I agree with you wholeheartedly, except that the insurance industry is a co-owner, along with the trial lawyers.
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Old 03-12-2005, 10:06 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbelt
Credit companies deliberately target the ignorant like college kids with a "great deal" that has all kinds of penalties and hidden fees behind a 50 page book of rules and regulations.
They do what they can to fuck us and take more of our money and now are doing all they can to make sure they get all of it.
So do politicians and liberal activists. I wouldn't call college kids "ignorant," as much as "inexperienced" or "naive."

That's why so many of the college protests staged by hyperkinetic students are laughable.

It's also why you don't see experienced businessmen staging sit-ins, blocking traffic, or marching around with a sign, chanting slogans.

/threadjack off
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Old 03-12-2005, 10:11 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flstf
It is certainly ironic that the polititians who are anything but fiscally responsible are passing a bill to make us more so. It isn't just irresponsible credit card use that is the problem when something like 50% of the bankruptcies are caused by medical bills.
Just to be obnoxious, I'll point out that bankrupting out of medical bills causes the rest of us to pay more for medical care.

I'm occasionally infuriated when I see the TV ads for lawyers promising to help you bankrupt. I even saw an infomercial once in which the attorney advised anyone planning a bankruptcy to go get all of their (elective) health problems taken care of, and to get their teeth fixed, since a bankruptcy is a "one size fits all." This is why some health care professionals now require payment before they treat you.

If you're opposed to tightening up bankruptcy law, remember that the next time you think your health care bill is too high.
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Old 03-12-2005, 10:15 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scout
The majority of bankruptcies happen after some sort of personal disaster such as job loss, major sickness etc. so it ain't as simple as " if you can't pay it back then don't borrow it....".
Since you stated this, do you have a breakdown of percentages? I'm interested in what percentage is NOT related to job loss or major sickness (I don't consider a gambling or drug addiction an acceptable "major sickness").

Yes, I saw flstf's post about the 50%.

Last edited by sob; 03-12-2005 at 10:22 AM..
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Old 03-12-2005, 10:41 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sob
Since you stated this, do you have a breakdown of percentages? I'm interested in what percentage is NOT related to job loss or major sickness (I don't consider a gambling or drug addiction an acceptable "major sickness").

Yes, I saw flstf's post about the 50%.
Here ya go, sob, as far as the recent medical bankruptcy study data. This was
a representative study of actual 2001 bankruptcy filers in 5 different U.S. Bankruptcy Court districts.

(I think that you can assume that, if approx. 50 percent of filings were illness related, that there had to be some filings in the other 50 percent related to
involuntary job loss.)
Quote:
<a href="http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/bankruptcy_study.html">http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/bankruptcy_study.html</a><br />
Medical Bills Leading Cause of Bankruptcy, Harvard Study Finds<br />
<br />
February 3, 2005<br />
Illness and medical bills caused half of the 1,458,000 personal bankruptcies in 2001, according to a study published by the journal Health Affairs. <br />
<br />
The study estimates that medical bankruptcies affect about 2 million Americans annually -- counting debtors and their dependents, including about 700,000 children.<br />
<br />

Surprisingly, most of those bankrupted by illness had health insurance. More than three-quarters were insured at the start of the bankrupting illness. However, 38 percent had lost coverage at least temporarily by the time they filed for bankruptcy.<br />
<br />
Most of the medical bankruptcy filers were middle class; 56 percent owned a home and the same number had attended college. In many cases, illness forced breadwinners to take time off from work -- losing income and job-based health insurance precisely when families needed it most.<br />
Quote:
<a href="http://www.healthaffairs.org/press/janfeb0505.htm">http://www.healthaffairs.org/press/janfeb0505.htm</a><br />
<br />
MarketWatch: Illness And Injury As Contributors To Bankruptcy<br />
David U. Himmelstein 1*, Elizabeth Warren 2, Deborah Thorne 3, Steffie Woolhandler 4<br />

<br />
1 David Himmelstein is an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a primary care physician at Cambridge Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts.<br />
2 Elizabeth Warren is the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard Law School in Boston. She was chief adviser to the National Bankruptcy Review Commission.<br />
3 Deborah Thorne is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Ohio University in Athens.<br />
4 Steffie Woolhandler is an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, where she codirects the General Medicine Faculty Development Fellowship Program. She practices primary care internal medicine at Cambridge Hospital.<br />
<br />
Abstract<br />
<br />
In 2001, 1.458 million American families filed for bankruptcy. To investigate medical contributors to bankruptcy, we surveyed 1,771 personal bankruptcy filers in five federal courts and subsequently completed in-depth interviews with 931 of them. About half cited medical causes, which indicates that 1.9-2.2 million Americans (filers plus dependents) experienced medical bankruptcy. Among those whose illnesses led to bankruptcy, out-of-pocket costs average $11,854 since the start of illness; 75.7 percent had insurance at the onset of illness. Medical debtors were 42 percent more likely than other debtors to experience lapses in coverage. Even middle-class insured families often fall prey to financial catastrophe when sick<br />
<b>An unusually "fair and balanced" excerpt from Fox news: <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,150017,00.html">http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,150017,00.html</a> <br />
Quote:
"I applaud the strong bipartisan vote in the Senate to curb abuses of the bankruptcy system," Bush said in a statement. "Reforming the system with this common sense approach, more Americans — especially lower-income Americans — will have greater access to credit."<br />
<br />
Lenders had been pushing the legislation for eight years. They argued too many people with ability to repay at least a portion of the money they owe were walking away from all their debts under current law.<br />
<br />
"Those who can pay their bills should pay their bills. That's the American way," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (search), R-Utah.<br />
<br />
Democrats had succeeded in blocking the legislation year after year. They argued the changes advocated by Republicans would keep people who are overwhelmed by medical costs or loss of a job hopelessly in debt the rest of their lives.<br />
<br />

"It will have a real impact on real people all over this country," said Sen. Russ Feingold (search), D-Wis.<br />
<br />
Over the past two weeks, Republicans knocked down Democratic attempts to ease the impact of the legislation on people facing huge debts they cannot pay, including single parents, the unemployed and the ill.<br />
<br />
Wall Street investment bankers won a provision that will enable the same firm to work for a company both before and after it files for bankruptcy. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman William Donaldson opposed the measure; he said it would further undermine investor confidence already shaken by the Enron, WorldCom and other corporate scandals.
<br />
<b>Without</b> Bankruptcy "reform", the credit card industry reaps:
Quote:
<a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/credit/etc/synopsis.html">http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/credit/etc/synopsis.html</a>
...........The industry's most profitable customers, the ones being sought by creative marketing tactics, are the "revolvers:" the estimated 115 million Americans who carry monthly credit card debt.

Ed Yingling, incoming president of the American Bankers Association, tells FRONTLINE that revolvers are "the sweet spot" of the banking industry. This "sweet spot" continues to grow as the average credit card debt among American households has more than doubled over the past decade. Today, the average family owes roughly $8,000 on their credit cards. This debt has helped generate record profits for the credit card industry -- last year, more than $30 billion before taxes..............
If, as Bush claimed, the "reform" was about "more Americans — especially lower-income Americans — will have greater access to credit.", attempts to
insert amendments in the senate bill to cap maximum interest rates would
not have been blocked.

Bush describes this bill as a "bi-partisan" effort. The no votes came from 31 of 45 senate democrats, including John Kerry.

Last edited by host; 03-12-2005 at 10:57 AM..
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Old 03-12-2005, 11:09 AM   #29 (permalink)
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I fall under the "Bankruptcy for medical reasons" category, so I can defenitely emphathize with that one.

When my daughter was born she was so sick that, in order to save her life, the doctors needed to use "experimental treatment". The "experimental treatment" cost upwards of $30,000+ a day and insurance wouldn't cover it.

I authorized the treatment, knowing the risk, but my daughter's life was much more important to me. At the time I authorized the treatment (the treatment lasted 21 days) I wasn't sure if insurance was going to cover it or not--ultimately, they didn't. However, I only had a matter of minutes to make the decision, so I wasn't going to spend any time worrying if insurance was going to pay for it or not.

The sad part was that I made decent money and I had insurance--if I had been poor, I wouldn't have had to pay a dime for any of it. That's kinda why I don't buy all of these sob stories about "poor people" because, in many cases, they get a heck of a lot more benefits than I do....and we the taxpayers pay for it, not them.

Anyway, I am getting off track.

Hopefully this won't pass (do we know a status?) and maybe someone can re-work a new proposal that is a little more fair--because I really do think bankruptcy laws need to be changed, just not in this way.
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Old 03-12-2005, 11:13 AM   #30 (permalink)
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This will pass, unfortunately. And "poor people" get far, far worse medical treatment than middle or upper class people. Far worse.
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Old 03-12-2005, 03:55 PM   #31 (permalink)
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KMA it just passed the Senate and is headed for the House. I contacted my representive but I don't it will matter [he's Republican....]
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Old 03-12-2005, 04:24 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Location: Moscow on the Ohio
Quote:
Originally Posted by sob
Just to be obnoxious, I'll point out that bankrupting out of medical bills causes the rest of us to pay more for medical care.

I'm occasionally infuriated when I see the TV ads for lawyers promising to help you bankrupt. I even saw an infomercial once in which the attorney advised anyone planning a bankruptcy to go get all of their (elective) health problems taken care of, and to get their teeth fixed, since a bankruptcy is a "one size fits all." This is why some health care professionals now require payment before they treat you.

If you're opposed to tightening up bankruptcy law, remember that the next time you think your health care bill is too high.
I don't doubt that there are people who take advantage of the system and maybe something could be written into the law to disallow some things. However if your child falls down and breaks their neck you have no control over how much it will cost you.

You call 911 and rush them to the hospital and the doctors begin to work on them. You don't know if the doctor(s) will charge you $100 or $100,000. In a system with little or no competition we need some sort of protection from loosing everything because of an illness or injury. I believe that these "out of control" healh care costs should be treated differently than normal credit card debt when it comes to bankruptcy filing.

The medical industry does not seem to be controlled by the usual "supply and demand" of free market pricing. I'm not blaming them but I have about as much trouble shopping for health care as I do in trying to control the cost of the next cruise missile the government buys.
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Old 03-13-2005, 10:21 AM   #33 (permalink)
sob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flstf
I don't doubt that there are people who take advantage of the system and maybe something could be written into the law to disallow some things. However if your child falls down and breaks their neck you have no control over how much it will cost you.

You call 911 and rush them to the hospital and the doctors begin to work on them. You don't know if the doctor(s) will charge you $100 or $100,000. In a system with little or no competition we need some sort of protection from loosing everything because of an illness or injury. I believe that these "out of control" healh care costs should be treated differently than normal credit card debt when it comes to bankruptcy filing.
No argument there. Not only do they slap huge bills on you, but I personally once got billed for a radiologist looking at an x-ray of me two days later. After I'd already been treated by an orthopedist.

It was purely a CYA by the hospital. Well, not purely. It was also a money grab.

Quote:
The medical industry does not seem to be controlled by the usual "supply and demand" of free market pricing. I'm not blaming them but I have about as much trouble shopping for health care as I do in trying to control the cost of the next cruise missile the government buys.
Sorry, this is inaccurate. The medical industry, in most instances, is highly regulated in regard to cost. The medical INSURANCE industry, on the other hand, avoids antitrust suits by paying huge sums to our esteemed politicians.

I think the reason you have this opinion is that you do not have medical insurance. In that circumstance, yeah, the sky's the limit.
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Old 03-13-2005, 08:46 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sob
Sorry, this is inaccurate. The medical industry, in most instances, is highly regulated in regard to cost. The medical INSURANCE industry, on the other hand, avoids antitrust suits by paying huge sums to our esteemed politicians.

I think the reason you have this opinion is that you do not have medical insurance. In that circumstance, yeah, the sky's the limit.
I do have insurance because you can't afford to go without it and risk loosing everything. However it has a high deductible so I am very interested in shopping for resonable medical costs. I am finding this is almost impossible to do with the way the system is set up today. I have asked many friends and family members and have yet to find anyone who compared pricing for doctor services. Maybe the medical field is just too complicated to function competitively in our capitalist system.
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Old 03-13-2005, 09:06 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flstf
I do have insurance because you can't afford to go without it and risk loosing everything. However it has a high deductible so I am very interested in shopping for resonable medical costs. I am finding this is almost impossible to do with the way the system is set up today. I have asked many friends and family members and have yet to find anyone who compared pricing for doctor services. Maybe the medical field is just too complicated to function competitively in our capitalist system.
Almost everyone with medical insurance these days (at least around here) is part of a "preferred provider network" to some degree. That means that the doctor has agreed to limit his fees to what the insurance company says, in return for large numbers of patients who have this insurance.

Especially in places like Detroit (high percentage of people with a specific insurance), this puts the doctors at the mercy of the insurance companies.

Additionally, doctors can now be REQUIRED to see both patients on indigent care plans and Medicare. Indigent care plans often don't even pretend their fees are realistic (True example: paying $180 for a service that costs $250 to provide). Sometimes they make up a bullshit reason not to pay. Other times, state regulations dictate that if the program is out of money, all claims must be written off by the doctor.

For Medicare, the government's favorite trick is to cut payment for the most common procedures. It's happening right now with cataract surgery. Something that costs six or seven hundred dollars in overhead to provide is reimbursed at $400. Not to mention the risk of being sued that the doctor undertakes.

We are also looking at consecutive years of decreased payments to physicians. When they get paid less, and their suppliers, insurance companies, and staff are demanding more money, doctors retire or move. I see it all the time.

Believe me, I could post a LOT more on this subject.

P.S. One phone call to your insurance company should result in your being told the UCR (usual, customary, and reasonable) charge for whatever procedure you're contemplating. Of course, the insurance companies try to keep these fees two or three years behind the times.
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Old 03-14-2005, 01:29 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Maybe the real issue being brought to the fore in this thread is the lack of a comprehensive state-funded medical scheme. I still can't believe the US doesn't offer one.
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Old 03-14-2005, 02:39 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Location: Mansfield, Ohio USA
Personally, I think this will at first hurt the country bad economically. I think there are far, far better ways to handle this.

Let's face it, the vast majority of Americans (rightfully because of low wages and no benefits or wrongfully because of the natural "keeping up with the Jones'") live on credit. And with gas prices shooting up and not looking to come down, credit will be used even more, esp. when companies start really having to push the cost of transportation and production onto consumers. Hell, last I saw the average family was over $8,000 in debt.

However, as someone who has predicted for awhile that the credit was going to have to come due, I am not surprised by this.

Bankruptcy costs us billions every year and it has gotten easier to claim and has far less stigma than it used to. Perhaps, this will force us to live within our means, and once we are forced to, perhaps then, people will wake up and demand better wages and benefits.

There are some things I do question, medical should never be allowed to hurt credit and the government must fix the healthcare system so that people who have a little money don't go bankrupt (such as KMA). I find it pathetic our country's government and healthcare system would rather see people bankrupt and have nothing than leading healthy productive lives.... pathetic.

As a dreamer, I see this as an eye opener and a stimulus to change the economic environment. People will still want things but once credit becomes harder they will be forced to sacrifice. This will hurt business and so business will hopefully see that instead of trying to keep prices low and pay low, the CEO's will have to take cuts and pay workers their true value.

As a realist, i see this as a way for the rich to continue getting richer and the working class to become poorer.

In the end, some radical and/or some not so nice legislation (for rich and poor alike but in different ways) will have to be passed to get the economy truly growing and us off credit.

I foresee in the next few years a massive increase in union enrollments, more social movements towards universal healthcare and workers rights and benefits.

Things come and go in cycles and political things shift like a pendulum and the pendulum is about as far right as the US will allow it to go.... the swing left is coming fast.

2 things sadden me and scare me far more than this bankruptcy law revision.... those are:

1) Congress (federal and most states) continue to every year grant themselves raises and have the best healthcare and benefits yet refuse to raise minimum wage and seem to want to pass laws hurting workers rights (overtime laws, benefits, legal union representation (in "right to work states such as Ohio and Az. it is legal to fire workers for any reason whatsoever including the federal right of workers to hold union organizational meetings (where workers vote for union or not) in the workplace... it is so bad in Ohio (a union made state) that some companies will fire you if you just ask about union representation.... Wal*Mart is very big on this)

2) The fact that the press glosses over items such as this while the "right talk show hosts" make light of the misfortune and spin the facts so that people don't know what to believe and are so tired of the bickering between left and right and the feelings that what they say doesn't matter they have lost hope and believe they cannot change anything.

We have to get ourselves out of the hole we dug, but we need to do so in a way that is fair to all not just overburdening the middle class and poor and allowing the rich to get off scot free.
__________________
I just love people who use the excuse "I use/do this because I LOVE the feeling/joy/happiness it brings me" and expect you to be ok with that as you watch them destroy their life blindly following. My response is, "I like to put forks in an eletrical socket, just LOVE that feeling, can't ever get enough of it, so will you let me put this copper fork in that electric socket?"
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Old 03-14-2005, 06:52 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pan6467

1) Congress (federal and most states) continue to every year grant themselves raises and have the best healthcare and benefits yet refuse to raise minimum wage and seem to want to pass laws hurting workers rights (overtime laws, benefits, legal union representation (in "right to work states such as Ohio and Az. it is legal to fire workers for any reason whatsoever including the federal right of workers to hold union organizational meetings (where workers vote for union or not) in the workplace... it is so bad in Ohio (a union made state) that some companies will fire you if you just ask about union representation.... Wal*Mart is very big on this)
I think you mean "at will employment" states.

Quote:
2) The fact that the press glosses over items such as this while the "right talk show hosts" make light of the misfortune and spin the facts so that people don't know what to believe and are so tired of the bickering between left and right and the feelings that what they say doesn't matter they have lost hope and believe they cannot change anything.

We have to get ourselves out of the hole we dug, but we need to do so in a way that is fair to all not just overburdening the middle class and poor and allowing the rich to get off scot free.
Damn. I was agreeing with you so much until the last sentence.

Once again, class: The lower 50%, which is the poor and some of the middle class, AREN'T OVERBURDENED WITH INCOME TAXES, BECAUSE THEY DON'T PAY ANY.

And your definition of "scot free" is apparently being taxed for yourself, your family, and to support quite a few other families.
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Old 03-14-2005, 10:58 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sob
I think you mean "at will employment" states.



Damn. I was agreeing with you so much until the last sentence.

Once again, class: The lower 50%, which is the poor and some of the middle class, AREN'T OVERBURDENED WITH INCOME TAXES, BECAUSE THEY DON'T PAY ANY.

And your definition of "scot free" is apparently being taxed for yourself, your family, and to support quite a few other families.
What I mean by overburdening the middle and lower classes while the upper class gets off scot free is this....

If my wife and I make around $30,000, by the time we pay FICA, State, Federal, Sales Tax, local tax, hidden taxes (gas, phone, cable etc) our $30,000 is gone fast, even if we do live within our means (which we do).

However, someone making over $1 million, may pay the same taxes, but because of their income they don't miss it as much. I don't begrudge them a nice life and their money as I am a firm believer MOST worked very hard for it. But to cry that taxes are too high for them is truly sickening.

I'll give you an example.... I have spoken a lot of my father on here in the past. He started with absolutely nothing worked extremely hard, was given breaks by companies that had government funding to help train him to become a Civil Engineer and Surveyor (before one had to go to college to get training). He became one of the best waste water treatment facility engineers in the nation. He pulls down 6-7 figures every year.

Now with all he pays in taxes, he can still have a time share in Miami Beach, take 3 trips a year for 2 weeks a pop to the Bahamas and the Carribean and still live very well and never worry about money. He lives within his means, and I am extremely proud of the man for making himself.

So to say taxes hurt him, I have to scratch my head.

Yes, the person living in NYC or LA, where the cost of living is higher may have a better argument, but in Ohio.....

Now, you take someone who has 2-3 kids, makes the median income maybe a little more say, $50,000. The money they lose in taxes hurts them far more than it does the upper echelons and it hurts the economy, because the vast majority are spending more on taxes than they can truly afford. Hence the need for credit, hence the indebtedness, hence the bankruptcies, late payments and shrinking middle class.

I am simply saying find a tax system that doesn't overburden the people who need the money the most and tax those who can afford it (those who make over a million) a little more, or at least take away all their loopholes and deductions.

We all need to tighten or belts but for God's sake.... how many cars can you drive, how much is enough for some of these people? The tax burdens have to be more fair.
__________________
I just love people who use the excuse "I use/do this because I LOVE the feeling/joy/happiness it brings me" and expect you to be ok with that as you watch them destroy their life blindly following. My response is, "I like to put forks in an eletrical socket, just LOVE that feeling, can't ever get enough of it, so will you let me put this copper fork in that electric socket?"

Last edited by pan6467; 03-14-2005 at 11:09 PM..
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