Bankrupt Values


Peter G. Gosselin has a very important story in the L.A. Times:

But unless changes are made to an overhaul of the nation’s bankruptcy law due to kick in next month, many of those affected by Hurricane Katrina and the resulting floods will have a substantially harder time winning court relief from loans they incurred for homes and businesses that are now gone, according to a variety of judges, lawyers and policy experts.

Elizabeth Warren has this to say:

The data are staggering: the growth in bankruptcy filings is about 50% higher in states hit by hurricanes and about 34% higher in nearby states. But Gosselin has done more: He’s interviewed a bankruptcy judge, a Republican former-staffer and bankruptcy practitioner, and the chairman of the National Bankruptcy Review Commission to see what they think will happen when the Katrina victims turn to bankruptcy. Their conclusion is unanimous: they will have a much harder time getting back on their feet if the new bankruptcy law has been implemented. The only dissenter? A credit industry lobbyist who, once again, says the bill is just fine.

Meanwhile both Tapped and Mark Schmitt report that Republicans are only putting tax cuts and eliminating the estate tax on hold, but will push forward with both at the first opportunity they have. In Mark’s words:

the Republican game of separating tax cuts from their consequences in spending cuts will go on unabated.

George Lakoff blames Katrina on Bush’s values. While I’m not convinced that Democrats had significantly different values before, there is some hope that the disaster will give them the courage to embrace progressive values now.

UPDATE: Via Kevin Drum, an article by Jon Chait from earlier in the year:

If liberals can be convinced that their policies no longer work, they’ll change them. Maybe slowly, and maybe only under pressure, but eventually they’ll change them. Empirical results matter, after all.

Modern conservatives, by contrast, care far more about their principles than they do about results: Empirical reasoning simply does not drive their thinking. What appears to be conservative economic reasoning is actually a kind of backward reasoning. It begins with the conclusion and marches back through the premises.”

Also see this article where Josh Marshall asks, why the myth of Republican competence persists, despite all the evidence to the contrary.”

And yet another Kevin Drum piece (sheesh), about how the Republicans are using Katrina to score political points.

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