I suppose late is better than never, but MoveOn has finally decided to get onboard with the fight against the bankruptcy bill — the day before the House votes on the topic. Although they are coming in at a late stage, I think it is important to support MoveOn’s pledge drive which has already raised almost as much money as DeLay received from the credit card companies. The money will be used to “finance radio ads against those who vote for the bankruptcy bill” as well as other things — those who contribute can vote on how the money should be spent.
Liz Pulliam Weston had an excellent opinion piece on NPR about alternatives to the current legislation that could do more to reduce bankruptcy filings in the United States. I’ll attempt to paraphrase her main points:
- First, bring back usury laws. Just 30 years ago 40% interest rates were illegal. If credit card companies have to charge such high interest rates then those people probably shouldn’t be getting credit in the first place.
- Reform medical care. Many people who declared bankruptcy after a medical emergency (more than half of all bankruptcy cases), actually had medical insurance — but the high co-pay meant that they still couldn’t survive a real medical emergency with their credit intact.
- Require insurance companies to tell people how long it would take to pay off their balance if they only pay the minimum payment. It might encourage people not to keep such a high balance.
UPDATE: Another suggestion for how to reform the bankruptcy system is to make debtors work as extras in a Dickens Theme Park.