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Bloggingheads
05-06-2008, 12:31 PM

David Thomson
05-06-2008, 01:42 PM
This movement to reform Congress is outdated. It is already happening. The system is now far more transparent than it was just a few years earlier. If nothing else, the Internet alone helps the citizenry know what is going on in Washington, DC. Larry Lessig believes that powerful interest groups got the bankruptcy bill though Congress. He conveniently forgets that people like me strongly supported it. Many years ago I worked as a bill collector---and became very cynical. Trust me on this, most people who go bankrupt have nobody but themselves to blame! They are selfish and childish individuals, and not “victims” of an unjust society. The rest of us pay extra to the credit card companies and other lenders when these folks get away with their nonsense. The bankruptcy bill literally protected hard working and honest Americans.

graz
05-06-2008, 02:37 PM
This movement to reform Congress is outdated. It is already happening. The system is now far more transparent than it was just a few years earlier. If nothing else, the Internet alone helps the citizenry know what is going on in Washington, DC. Larry Lessig believes that powerful interest groups got the bankruptcy bill though Congress. He conveniently forgets that people like me strongly supported it. Many years ago I worked as a bill collector---and became very cynical. Trust me on this, most people who go bankrupt have nobody but themselves to blame! They are selfish and childish individuals, and not “victims” of an unjust society. The rest of us pay extra to the credit card companies and other lenders when these folks get away with their nonsense. The bankruptcy bill literally protected hard working and honest Americans.
DT:
What would it take for you to acknowledge the real hardship cases of people who are bankrupted by medical bills?
Would you consider examining the record usurious interest rates that credit card companies are reaping (raping) profits from?
Does your anecdotal bill collector evidence create a satisfactory bogeyman, so as to not answer the previous questions?
O.K., I'll let it stand as rhetorical because you have previously established that you represent all the hard-working and decent Americans (apparently, the credit card companies as well). And if it happens that any of them are exploited by predatory practices or fall into debt by circumstances beyond their level of maturity... well, they weren't red-blooded, God-fearin' Americuns after all. Right?

David Thomson
05-06-2008, 03:19 PM
"Would you consider examining the record usurious interest rates that credit card companies are reaping (raping) profits from?"

The free market determines the interest rates charged by credit card companies. They do not put a gun to anybody's head. Once again, the credit card companies must raise their rates to cover the losses of those who don't pay their bills. Why should medical bills be forgiven?

Lawrence Lessig and Thomas Mann are tacitly Marxists who believe the hoi polloi are victimized by the "evil corporations." They should instead be running things because of their formal education and benevolence. May God save us from such nice people!

graz
05-06-2008, 04:45 PM
[QUOTE=David Thomson;

The free market determines the interest rates charged by credit card companies. [/QUOTE]

The free market isn't always free, and that would be the point of alluding to congressional give-aways to corporate (credit card companies) interests.
DT would reply: That is congress safeguarding against default.

Well if they are not willing to assume the risk of lending to losers, than the market ain't free.

radmul
05-06-2008, 05:38 PM
I find it amazing that these bloviating think tanks love bipartisanship now that they are going to lose control of government. When the right has power we never hear word one about how we must all come together.

r108dos
05-06-2008, 05:47 PM
I didn't realize that "Marxist" was an epithet that was still alive until I started following BHtv. I thought the bankruptcy changes were awful (especially in light of Katrina) but I never expected to be called a Marxist. Why don't we just say "Black-Hearted Villain". Maybe we could have the 'Marxist issue' and really get down!

David Thomson
05-06-2008, 06:22 PM
"I didn't realize that "Marxist" was an epithet that was still alive until I started following BHtv."

Marxist doctrines pervade "elite" culture---and many are unaware of the origins of their way of looking at the world. This is especially the case when the term postmodernism is substituted for Marxism. Truth is deemed of secondary importance next to ideological committment. One supposedly has a right to their own truth. This readily explains the lies that both Hillary Clinton and "Barry" Obama tell about their background. The senator from New York believed she had every right to deceive the voters concerning her trip to the Balkans. It was somehow deemed "the greater truth" that transcended mere facts.

graz
05-06-2008, 06:23 PM
DT:

One more example of the market not being free or even the playing field level:
Credit card company A has the right to increase your interest rate to 28% or higher which they call a default mode. They are allowed to do this even if your payments are regular and meeting minimum requirements. How you wonder? Simply by using a negative report to any credit agency. Even if the report was a mistake or inaccurate. Try reversing a judgement against you by either the reporting agency or the credit card company. Good luck. Another example of the free market at work.

David Thomson
05-06-2008, 11:11 PM
"Even if the report was a mistake or inaccurate."

How often does this actually happen? Is it one in fifty thousand, one in a hundred thousand, or one in a million? Leftists often point to statistical aberrations to justify the eradication of capitalism. It is similar to the occasional case when someone goes bankrupt because of medical bills. Conveniently forgotten are the overwhelming numbers of selfish and irresponsible debtors who have only themselves to blame for their troubles.

graz
05-06-2008, 11:31 PM
The free market does work; and the sooner debt-ridden US consumers start realizing that saving is just as important as spending, the sooner Americans might gain some measure of control over the choices they have in the market.

Not all credit-card companies are equal. Check the fine print. Financing expenditures at the ridiculous rates credit cards typically charge is the cause of the problem.

Pay off the entire balance in full every month. If folks can't, then they probably need to take a hard look at their spending habits.

Next question?
Wow, I thought your political pronouncements were spot-on. But this voicing of obvious and commonsensical economic advice really tops it off.

graz
05-06-2008, 11:35 PM
"Even if the report was a mistake or inaccurate."

How often does this actually happen? Is it one in fifty thousand, one in a hundred thousand, or one in a million? Leftists often point to statistical aberrations to justify the eradication of capitalism. It is similar to the occasional case when someone goes bankrupt because of medical bills. Conveniently forgotten are the overwhelming numbers of selfish and irresponsible debtors who have only themselves to blame for their troubles.

The cogent point would be that the gubbimint gave them that right to exploit, however often. Free market at work. Well, if they aren't willing to assume the risk of lending to losers, than the market ain't free.

look
05-06-2008, 11:38 PM
The free market does work; and the sooner debt-ridden US consumers start realizing that saving is just as important as spending, the sooner Americans might gain some measure of control over the choices they have in the market.

Not all credit-card companies are equal. Check the fine print. Financing expenditures at the ridiculous rates credit cards typically charge is the cause of the problem.

Pay off the entire balance in full every month. If folks can't, then they probably need to take a hard look at their spending habits.

Next question?Speak to us of medical bills.

graz
05-06-2008, 11:42 PM
Speak to us of medical bills.

UTD answer: Ayers/Moyers/Rezko/Penn Gillette/Jocelyn Elders

Pam94707
05-07-2008, 01:55 AM
How did this forum get so narrowly focused on the bankruptcy issue? The issues addressed by Larry Lessig and Thomas Mann were so fundamental to U.S. politics, they really should be addressed more head on. Are legislators less corrupt when they refuse to address social security reform because of the power of the senior lobby (AARP) or education reform because of the power of teachers unions?

The bigger and more powerful the government, the more incentive there is to throw money at legislators to "solve" problems and then the bigger government gets (but the problems don't get "solved").

TwinSwords
05-07-2008, 02:00 AM
Are legislators less corrupt when they refuse to address social security reform because of the power of the senior lobby (AARP)
You know, a lot of people sincerely believe Social Security is fine just the way it is, or could be made permanently sound with exceedingly minor tweaks. There's a reason Bush's plan to privitize social security and transfer the savings of the American people to wealthy investment bankers failed: the current system is a whole lot better than all the various Republican scams that were proposed.

bjkeefe
05-07-2008, 02:11 AM
Pam:

Your examples of the seniors' and teachers' lobbies are well-taken, but I don't think either of the diavloggers was saying that there should be a complete ban on special-interest groups lobbying Congress. I think what they were both interested in is the really narrow ones who have so much money to play with, and the ability to receive equally well-directed quid pro quos.

I mean, it's not like the AARP or the NEA are sneaking riders into bills at 11:30 at night, or getting earmarks or no-bid contracts. Their dealings are about as aboveboard as it gets in our current system.

jklugman
05-07-2008, 08:44 AM
It is similar to the occasional case when someone goes bankrupt because of medical bills. Conveniently forgotten are the overwhelming numbers of selfish and irresponsible debtors who have only themselves to blame for their troubles.

A recent study (http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/full/hlthaff.w5.63/DC1) published in Health Affairs randomly sampled bankruptcy filers in 5 federal judicial districts (out of 77). It found that HALF of the filers cited medical reasons for the bankruptcy--either they were sick and couldn't work, or their medical bills piled up.

Cases where people go bankrupt because of medical bills are much more than "occasional".

Whatfur
05-07-2008, 08:56 AM
Thank you Pam. Too often it seems these discussions digress, morph, degrade into and onto topics that have to have the Heads themselves asking the question of "Were they even listening?"! (I acknowledge complicity in this area)

The earmark discussion was very interesting on a number of levels. Mr. Mann seemingly wanting to dismiss it for purely reasons of the size of its supposed affect on the overall while Mr. Lessig kind of seeing it (along with campaign finance reform) as one of the first steps in gaining back voter trust. I did not find Mann believable in a couple instances here. First, he steps in it a bit by trying to give Democrats the credit for positive progress that have been made to this point. Obviously, both parties have utilized earmarks to a fault, but I believe it is just as obvious that Republicans have been the leaders in bringing the issue (however small) to the forefront, as a problem. Specifically, McCain in the Senate and Campbell in the House among others. I also feel Mann, overstates McCain's emphasis on this topic in his current campaign. Its size of inclusion as a McCain talking point is pretty consistant with the actual size of the problem. I think because it may be a hot-button topic for Mr. Mann even though he thinks its a tiny button...when he hears or reads of its use by McCain he aggrandizes its comparative actual importance to the McCain campaign. It certainly is talked about but most who are listening already understand its relative size but more like Lessig we see it as a core problem with a simple fix. Take the baby step.

It also goes easily back to Lessig core reason for talking here of voter confidence and trust. Earmarks are an issue that average voters have come to understand...thanks to sun shining on them the last couple of years. I think it is obvious to all of us that they should just go away. Not sure why it is not obvious to Mann. I mean, if a bean factory in Beansville needs some research money to investigate possible uses of beans in fueling cars then does not Congress have the ability to create a bill that addresses this directly without shoving it into some other bill without substantive deliberation on it directly? Sure.

Gotta go to work.

Graz, coming from someone with a moniker that spawns similar images of hickness I feel obligated to chastize you for your arguments coming with spurious mispellings in an effort to insult. That and the fact that you don't seem to want to answer the simple question of why people should not be responsible for their own decisions but continue to point fingers at those big, bad companys.

graz
05-07-2008, 10:21 AM
[QUOTE=Whatfur;

Graz, coming from someone with a moniker that spawns similar images of hickness I feel obligated to chastize you for your arguments coming with spurious mispellings in an effort to insult. That and the fact that you don't seem to want to answer the simple question of why people should not be responsible for their own decisions but continue to point fingers at those big, bad companys.[/QUOTE]

I am duly chastened, I was in a randy mood, inspired by the one note drumbeat from my forum participant.
I don't believe it is an either or regarding personal responsibility and or blaming corporations. I recognize the value to me and our society of corporate profits. What I am not willing to concede is the blanket dismissal of the real and sometimes pernicious effect of agencies that have been afforded special treatment (as in congressional sweetheart deals and regs), while being insulted with the mantra of "Free Market Rules." I feel it necessary to push back against that chant with equal force. After all, the "People" came before the companies, even if they (the benevolent ones) have been granted all the rights of personhood, without all the responsibilities. How about recognizing the total picture instead of demonizing the imperfect (as in having the audacity to suffer a debilitating and bankrupting illness) individuals.
Granted, the numbers show that many individuals are overextended an clearly ignorant or irresponsible in their credit card habits. But the congress -not the free market- has enabled these companies to exploit these very weaknesses. This was also highlighted in the last Free Will episode regarding Banking regulations.
Is this a classic divide or matter of degree?
I care more about the people, you care more about the corps?

Drew
05-07-2008, 10:20 PM
Does anyone have a link to the flame-retardant clothing story that Mr. Lessig discussed? It's not under the "Links Mentioned" section.

Whatfur
05-07-2008, 10:32 PM
"I care more about the people, you care more about the corps?"
.
My father-in-law had a small business and had to put off a planned retirement by almost 5 years because of couple of customers of his filing bankruptcy. I guess that didn't make it into YOUR "total picture" eh?
Is he not "people"?

Its not always "corps". Even Lessig seemed to point to the Haliburton obsession by you and yours (and I think he is one of yours) as being something rather silly.

What about the people who do it right...pay their bills on time, don't live beyond their means who end out paying for the irresponsible in one way or another?

Are they not "people"? To be honest I know very little about this bill but bottom line is bankruptcy should not be easy. Many "people" like myself would be more than happy to accommodate some who have been dealt a rotten hand but lumping in the low lifes and the irresponsible doesn't work. As you are so caring; how about you paying for those "people"?

graz
05-07-2008, 11:08 PM
"I care more about the people, you care more about the corps?"
.
My father-in-law had a small business and had to put off a planned retirement by almost 5 years because of couple of customers of his filing bankruptcy. I guess that didn't make it into YOUR "total picture" eh?
Is he not "people"?

Its not always "corps". Even Lessig seemed to point to the Haliburton obsession by you and yours (and I think he is one of yours) as being something rather silly.

What about the people who do it right...pay their bills on time, don't live beyond their means who end out paying for the irresponsible in one way or another?

Are they not "people"? To be honest I know very little about this bill but bottom line is bankruptcy should not be easy. Many "people" like myself would be more than happy to accommodate some who have been dealt a rotten hand but lumping in the low lifes and the irresponsible doesn't work. As you are so caring; how about you paying for those "people"?

You have really turned it on its head. I was countering DT's myopic and undifferentiated slam on the real people who are overcome by his championed and coddled CC companies. We could swap sad stories all day, but it seems we are in agreement for the most part. But we will always retreat to separate corners at the end of the day. You admit not knowing too many specifics about the points I addressed directly, and still you want to fight?
Why?
Yes, your father-in-law is people too, which doesn't discredit my complaints to DT.

graz
05-07-2008, 11:17 PM
[QUOTE=Whatfur;

"What about the people who do it right...pay their bills on time, don't live beyond their means who end out paying for the irresponsible in one way or another?"

If I parrot "your side" the answer would be "tough luck," let the
buyer beware and let the free market reign. No one is forced into accepting the terms... read the fine print... use cash... get rich.

Whatfur
05-08-2008, 07:00 AM
Actually graz, the only thing I pleaded ignorance on was the bill, it WAS your points I was addressing.

And yes feel free to "parrot" the "tough luck" as unlike the low lifes who absconded with thousands of dollars of equipment they purchased in good faith, were given pretty much a NO interest loan by my father-in-law, used the equipment for a couple years, while being forgiven for a missed payment here and there by him they turn around and screw him by filing bankruptcy.
The difference is my father-in-law pretty much shrugged his shoulders and proceeded to work until he was 75 to pay for YES what he deemed was his own mistake...and NO he didn't go running to his NANNY...you know the one...the one whose skirt responsible people pay for and you have your points buried in.

graz
05-08-2008, 11:17 AM
Actually graz, the only thing I pleaded ignorance on was the bill, it WAS your points I was addressing.

And yes feel free to "parrot" the "tough luck" as unlike the low lifes who absconded with thousands of dollars of equipment they purchased in good faith, were given pretty much a NO interest loan by my father-in-law, used the equipment for a couple years, while being forgiven for a missed payment here and there by him they turn around and screw him by filing bankruptcy.
The difference is my father-in-law pretty much shrugged his shoulders and proceeded to work until he was 75 to pay for YES what he deemed was his own mistake...and NO he didn't go running to his NANNY...you know the one...the one whose skirt responsible people pay for and you have your points buried in.

Like previously stated, my fight is not with you. I'm sorry to hear of your personal loss. The complaint was against congressional giveaways to corps.
But, you already knew that if you read my posts. So a selective reading allows you to continue to fight when an agreement could be reached. You tire me out. But you haven't persuaded.

And yes, personal responsibility and accountability are important values.
As I am not a legislator or wonk, I'm afraid I don't have an answer to your question about what to do with the losers, scofflaws and cheats. But, demonizing that group of reprobates does not change the fact that congress ( remember... the diavlog subject) has cut a special deal with the corps, not the peeps. Maybe you should familiarize yourself with the bill, so as to have a basis for argument. Or you can continue to blame me for the evils of the nanny-state.