Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Island of Lost Posts VI: No Joementum After All

by Tom Bozzo

I had started a post entitled, "Joementum: The Good Kind" to praise Joe Biden's Feb. 27 Meet the Press performance vs. Rick Santorum. (Elements of Santorum's performance closely mirrorred McConnell's March 6 effort.) Well, the heck with that.

Delaware being a small state, Biden's not only the senior Senator, but also my high school's most prominent alumnus (he was class of '61, I'm '85 — but not in the 15th reunion photo). I took some French classes with Biden's son Beau ('87), and attended Biden's 1984 election night party on behalf of the school yearbook. (Ask me which public television personality I think of when I hear the words "Portrait of Dorian Gray!") I was ready to forgive that Neil Kinnock thing.

Well, I'm feeling ashamed of this morning, as Biden's done his part to move along the hideous bankruptcy bill on behalf of the indigenous credit card industry. This legislation would appear to be Exhibit A for the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics, as it's just about impossible to identify a constituency for it outside of the narrow interests Elizabeth Warren lists at Talking Points Memo.

I am curious as to the seeming solidity of Republican support, as seen in the cloture roll call. Surely, one or two of them — Chafee? Santorum? — occupies a sufficiently contestable seat that as to want to avoid being labeled (not without justification) as a tool of predatory lenders. Perhaps the Angry Sicilian will remind me why I shouldn't have wondered.

Addendum: The politics of the bankruptcy bill also perplexes Ann Althouse's favorite blogger. And, via Atrios, it is even creating strange bedfellows at Free Republic. We may take on some nonsense about surveys at Mahalanobis, linked approvingly by Prof. Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution, later.
Ooh, that should be fun. Especially as Mahalanobis appears to claim that credit card companies offering more credit than they should have was the primary cause of the rise of bankruptcies.
*scratches head* Well, solidarity among the RepuGlicans is one thing, spinelessness of Democratic senators like Lieberman and Nelson of Florida is a more pressing problem . Eliminating social safety nets is the hallmark of conservatives. This bill would also impose significant costs on those seeking bankruptcy protection and give lenders and businesses new tools for recovering debts. To answer your question, this bill combines a couple of features that just imbue it with Republicanism. 1) The poor are morally weak and lack discipline; the government should not coddle them. 2) Supporting big business is a vital side of Supply Side Economics, especially money and credit lenders. 3) President Bill Clinton pocket-vetoed it, therefore it must pass.

Overall, isn't this obviously Republican logic? Bankruptcy filings have risen eightfold since Congress last rewrote the bankruptcy laws 30 years ago. Solution to the rising rate? Make it harder to claim bankruptcies. Key: don't address the cause. Just today Bush was out there talking about the need to drill in Alaska to be less dependent on foreign oil, but he won't talk about CAFE standards and any other power source besides coal and "nucular."
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