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The Money God

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New Bankruptcy Law Slaps Poor Americans


By James Donahue

April 15, 2005


Congress last week voted 302-126 to approve a revised new bankruptcy law that strips debt-riddled Americans of a safety net that once assured families of getting a new start. The Senate last month approved the measure 74-25.


Opponents charge that the bill, approved by lawmakers after eight years of heavy lobbying by banks and credit card companies, protects the credit industry at the expense of the consumer.


“It will drive more Americans deeper into financial crisis and weaken the nation’s economy and social structure,” said Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla.


The bill especially hits low-income working people, single mothers, minorities and the elderly. The safety net also is removed for people who have lost their jobs or face crushing medical bills.


The new law makes it almost impossible for debt-strangled consumers to walk out of bankruptcy court debt free. The law now requires people even with meager incomes to pay credit-card charges, medical bills and other obligations under a court-ordered bankruptcy plan.


The bill also requires people in bankruptcy to pay additional costs for credit counseling.


President Bush is expected to sign the bill which goes into effect within six months of its enactment.


Democrats, who fought the bill, proposed up to 35 amendments in a last-ditch effort to exempt military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and people caught in financial identity theft, from the new provisions. The GOP leadership blocked all of the amendments.


Statistics show that from 30,000 to 210,000 people, up to 20 percent of those that dissolve their debts through bankruptcy each year, will be disqualified from escaping without paying.


People that plead extreme poverty can still erase their debts after certain assets are forfeited, but it will be up to a judge. Anyone with enough income to pay $100 a month will be forced into Chapter 13, where they fall into a repayment plan.


Thank the conservative Christian-based Republicans for this new bill that assures banks and credit card companies that almost everybody will be forced to pay even when caught in overwhelming debt through no fault of their own.


As we slip back into the dark ages, expect to see a return soon of debtor’s prisons and bonded enslavement as the nation’s poor grow in ranks. The Charles Dickens novels, that pictured life in England during harsh economic times for the masses, could easily become a picture of reality in American cities.


It seems that the followers of a faith allegedly based on love for one’s fellow man turns out to be a pack of cold-hearted greed stricken wolves whose real god is only money.


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