If youve been following Washingtons latest outrage
--the rush to change the bankruptcy rules --you know all too well
that the banks and credit card companies have lavished hundreds
of thousands of dollars on our members of Congress for their votes.
And you also know that members of Congress are so enamored with
the money theyve received that they wouldnt even consider
an exemption for the poor bloke who has to declare bankruptcy because
a severe medical problem took all his money.
The changes in the bankruptcy law are the quintessential example
of how corporate wealth has come to control government at the expense
of the average American citizen. Politicians who have the audacity
to call themselves representatives of the people would rather protect
corporations that make hundreds of millions in profits than the
family that runs into hard times because of unexpected medical bills,
the loss of income or some other uninsured calamity.
And what would be so laughable if it wasnt so terribly ugly
is to hear those politicians and their corporate sugar daddies claiming
that the new bankruptcy bills will actually help the "honest" Americans
with credit cards by holding down costs and, thus, interest rates.
What absolute nonsense. What outright lies.
The bankruptcy changes pushed by the GOP leadership and endorsed
by none other than that "compassionate conservative" George W. Bush
will push millions of more dollars into the coffers of businesses
that thrive by convincing ordinary Americans to go deeply in debt
and then charging them exorbitant rates to make sure they stay there.
Heres an example:
The other night in the mail came an unsolicited check for $1,004.28
from none other than Wells Fargo Financial, a bottom-feeding finance
company owned by the giant and famed Wells Fargo Bank. All I need
do is endorse it on the back and use it "to pay your holiday bills
or take care of upcoming expenses like taxes and insurance premiums."
Can you imagine being a single mom struggling to make the paycheck
stretch to the end of the month suddenly being tempted with a $1,004.28
check? That, of course, is exactly what Wells Fargo and the other
pillars of American finance are counting on.
But lets look at the small print on the back. The interest
rate this single mom will pay is 36 percent per year. Thats
right, 36 percent! All she will have to do for the next 36 months
is send this company -- a company that members of Congress think
needs protection from those nasty poor people who might go bankrupt
--a check for $46. Total cost for that $1,004.28 over three years?
If this mom had any connections she could probably get a better
deal from some Mafia juice loaner in downtown Chicago. The only
difference is that Congress helps hold the gun so that Wells Fargo,
MBNA and their fellow travelers can collect.
Copyright 2001 The Capital Times