Who Hijacked Our Country

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Credit Card Companies Trying to Squeeze Blood Out of a Turnip

Those poor banks. Thanks to the federal legislation they purchased several years ago, they’re now able to squeeze and gouge and draw and quarter their prisoners customers like never before.

But now they’ve made a horrifying discovery: After too much bloodletting, their victims might declare bankruptcy. And then they can’t be gouged any more. Damn! These credit card CEOs are in the same position as a torturer when the victim dies too soon, before the torturer had a chance to get his rocks off.

In states that allow debt collectors to garnish their creditors’ wages, the bankruptcy rates are much higher than in neighboring states that don’t allow this practice. In the most striking example, Georgia — where wages can be garnished by creditors — has four times the bankruptcy rate as South Carolina, where the practice is prohibited.

It already seemed like a pretty obvious cause and effect connection, but now it’s been clearly spelled out in a study of millions of bankruptcy records from 2006 to the present. This study has produced an Economic Stress Map — a geographic, chronological and visual display of economic misery based on the unemployment rate, foreclosures and bankruptcies.

It was the bankruptcy “reform” legislation of 2005 that gave credit card debt the same legal priority as child support payments and back taxes owed to the IRS.

When credit card debt and child support payments were put on an equal footing, there’s probably no way to calculate how much child support money went uncollected. In any case, the irony was lost on millions of “Family Values” “For The Children” drones.

And speaking of our burgeoning Beacon of Freedom south of the border: The United States has been training Honduran soldiers for decades now. But how well did we train them? In the event that Honduras was taken over by some rabble-rousing Communist who tried to redistribute some of the Oligarchs’ hard-earned wealth to the riffraff — would our American-trained Honduran soldiers know how to handle this emergency?

Ah, that’s our boys!

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Blogger Demeur said...

Yes I recall that "reform" act and knew then what it would do to the average guy.

In other financial news 7 more banks have failed mostly in Illinois. Makes you wonder when the FDIC will run out of money.

July 6, 2009 at 9:40 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Demeur: I also predicted those same disastrous effects of the bankruptcy "reform" act. And it was appalling how many Democrats voted for it.

July 6, 2009 at 11:10 AM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

The Bankruptcy "Reform" Act served to turn many Americans into indentured servants. Chimpy, that great American, never has had any problem with slavery. Neither do a lot of those supposed dems who voted for it.

July 6, 2009 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger Enemy of the Republic said...

Ah, yes, the bankruptcy reform act. Compassionate conservatism at its worst. I agree with your comment, Tom; the Democrats hardly whimpered. Banks do run the show!

July 6, 2009 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

JR: I agree, "indentured servants" is a great description of what lots of Americans became after this bankruptcy "reform."

Enemy: I'm afraid it's still true, Big Business is still running the show. Things are better than they were before the election, and there's a lot of hope and potential right now. But large corporations still have a stranglehold on most lawmakers, of both parties.

July 6, 2009 at 4:35 PM  
Anonymous S,W, Anderson said...

Like the prescription drug bill, the bankruptcy reform act was largely if not completely written by industry hacks and lobbyists. That made it clear who was going to screwed, even before it passed.

For one example of how people get screwed, the CC "reform" made it harder and more expensive for people to declare bankruptcy. So some poor family unable to afford health insurance runs up some medical bills on their credit card, gets behind in payments, maybe one of the breadwinners gets laid off, and they have to beg, pray and pay through the nose to even be able to declare bankruptcy.

Way to go — not!

July 6, 2009 at 11:00 PM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

If I were the CEO of a credit card company, I'd be a bit regretful of my career choice. I mean, those torturers have near-snuff flicks to get their rocks off, but what visceral joy is gained from upping someone's rate?

Poor shlubs.

July 7, 2009 at 6:39 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: That's true, the bankruptcy "reform" had a lot in common with that prescription benefit bill. I remember when that bill was getting rammed through Congress, a high-ranking Medicare official warned that the cost would be much higher than what the Big Pharm CEOs were saying. And that Medicare official was warned that he'd be fired if he didn't shut the fuck up.

What Big Business wants, they get.

Randal: Oh, I disagree. Watching a middle class family agonizing over the bills, tearfully choosing between paying the rent, eating OR paying Johnny's doctor bills -- Ugh! The pleasure! Ugh!

July 7, 2009 at 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cut the Democrats SOME Slack! They were in the Minority and yet managed to stall the bill for a few years. Hoping that while the Republicans and the Credit Card Company's were claiming to get sent to the poor house by Consumer deadbeats, the Enrons and Telecoms were chewing more then all the Consumers could in several years together


July 8, 2009 at 3:52 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: That's true, the Democrats were in the minority then. But sometimes I wish they could unite and march in lockstep. Not always, like the Republicans do, but just occasionally, when there's an important battle.

July 8, 2009 at 4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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August 2, 2009 at 11:33 PM  

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