By Chris Floyd - The Moscow Times
August 2, 2002.
new bill -- which was actually written by "financial services"
lobbyists -- would "protect" the little lambs of Wall Street
from all the vicious single mothers, unemployed fathers,
ghetto scum and trailer-park trash out there who have
collapsed beneath the debt they've taken on at the frantic
urging of, er, Wall Street."
Never let it be said that this column doesn't
have a good word to say about the bug-eyed religious extremists who have
taken over the Republican Party and poisoned America's political discourse
with their frothing ignorance and Talibanic zeal for barbaric repression.
In fact, when it comes to their latest battle, we are proud to stand up
and say: "Godspeed, you Christian soldiers!"
That's because a few Congressional bug-eyes --
with a bug up some other part of their anatomy about a woman's right to
control her own body -- are the only thing now standing between ordinary
working people and the white-collar predators of the "financial services
industry" who aim to eat up the lives of those they have already crippled
with their "easy money" scams.
This week, anti-abortion extremists in the
House of Representatives delayed a final vote on the great googily-moogily
"Bankruptcy Bill," according to a report in The New York Times. They're
not worried about the countless families that will be devastated by the
bill, of course; they're in a snit over an amendment that would curtail
the ability of anti-abortion terrorist groups to use bogus bankruptcies to
dodge financial penalties after they've been caught burning down clinics,
stalking nurses, harassing pregnant women or killing doctors.
Their reasoning may be repellent, but there is some hope that
these notorious mollycoddlers of domestic terrorism might be able to,
well, abort the bill altogether -- even though the measure enjoys, as the
Times hastens to assure us, "broad bipartisan support."
"Now, in the Herbert Hoover-like financial nightmare that has engulfed America in the Second Coming of Bushonomics, millions of people have been thrown out of work
Of course, in mediaspeak, "broad bipartisan
support" usually just means that some shady outfit has been throwing
ungodly amounts of money at the ever-eager courtesans in Washington. And
there has sure enough been some money thrown here -- as you'd expect, when
it's bankers and credit card companies coming to call.
The new bill -- which was actually written by
"financial services" lobbyists -- would "protect" the little lambs of Wall
Street from all the vicious single mothers, unemployed fathers, ghetto
scum and trailer-park trash out there who have collapsed beneath the debt
they've taken on at the frantic urging of, er, Wall Street. For years, the
"financial services industry" has deliberately targeted the most
vulnerable people in American society -- those on the economic margins,
young kids just starting out in life, working parents stretching to pay
the bills, sick people laden with medical costs, the luckless, the
desperate, the ill-educated, the naive -- and plied them with promises of
"instant credit" and "preapproved loans" in slick advertising campaigns
and junk-mail bombardments.
They operate like playground pushers: "Hey,
kid, the first bag is free." Once the habit of life on credit is
established, then the extortionate interest rates, the "late charges" and
"rollovers" kick in. The promised good life is gone, siphoned away into
the coffers of credit giants like MBNA Corporation of Delaware, the
world's biggest peddler of plastic cash, and the great banking houses, who
use the profits they've plucked from the broken backs of grubby proles to
fuel their shell games with Enron, WorldCom, Harken and the
Millions of the Americans thus ruined have fled
to the slender and humiliating protections of personal bankruptcy. In most
cases, the existing laws do wipe away some debts, particularly unsecured
debt. But it leaves many others on the books, while destroying the
debtor's credit rating for years to come, closing the door on dreams of
buying a car or house, or engaging in any of the innumerable transactions
that now require ID and surety in the form of -- what else? -- a credit
card. It's no "easy out"; it's a hard step, a desperate measure, fraught
with lingering doubts, agonizing decisions and irrevocable consequences no
matter what you choose -- much like abortion, in fact.
Now, in the Herbert Hoover-like financial
nightmare that has engulfed America in the Second Coming of Bushonomics,
millions of people have been thrown out of work. Millions more have seen
their pensions, their nest eggs, their financial security wiped out by the
gargantuan frauds of Wall Street. But even this has not stopped the
"financial services industry" from trying to gut the slim protections of
the existing laws and force bankrupts to pay off credit card debts and
loans -- sometimes before paying for other trifles, such as alimony,
medicine or groceries.
Well-heeled supporters of the bill -- like the
insider-trading wastrel in the White House, who never risked a dime of his
own money while making millions in politically connected sweetheart deals
-- claim the strongarm measure is in fact a godly edict, forcing the
rabble to face up to their "unhealthy values" and "irresponsibility."
Indeed, Senator Charles Grassley, one of the bill's champions, says it
will even stem "the eroding moral values of some people."
Those would be the little people -- the
unconnected people -- of course. Not the kind of people who rake in
more than $300,000 in "hard money" contributions to their presidential
campaigns from MBNA -- the largest single corporate briber to the Bush
team in 2000, outpointing even Kenny Boy Lay. Or the kind of people who
receive $447,000 low-interest loans from MBNA just four days before
becoming a chief sponsor of the bill -- like House Democrat James Moran.
Or the hundreds of other congressmen who pocketed a total of $37.7 million
in "financial services" baksheesh in 2000 -- and God only knows how much
since then. No, their "moral values" are firm and
Murky old world, ain't it?
Meanwhile, as always, the weakest go to the
wall -- unless the bug-eyes stand fast for terrorism.