Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Stores!

I've been away for a while (thank you, Grillo, for your kind inquiry)...I'm not that great a blogger. Not that I'm not interested; just finding the time to organize my thoughts is difficult with 3 kids at home. However, I've been jolted once again into the alternate reality that is Hooterville by the cloture of the Bankruptcy Bill, or, in Hootervillian, "Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005".

Did they really, really say the words 'Consumer Protection'?!? The only parties 'protected' here are the credit card companies and banking interests who have paid the Democrats $2 million and the Republicans $5 million in lobbying fees, and the wealthy individuals who can still 'protect' their already considerable assets by investing in a 'protected' home in Texas or Florida (nothing refreshes like a tall, cool glass of 'O.J.' in the Sunshine State!). After all, what better way to 'protect' the middle class and working poor who are more vulnerable than ever before, due to the fast-encroaching elimination of job security, pensions, unemployment, affordable or work-based health insurance, and, of course, Social (in)Security, than by cutting off the last means of getting back on their feet?

You may say, what's so wrong with asking people to pay what they owe?

Guess what? We aren't asking everyone to pay what they owe, just those least able to do so! And guess what else? We've already paid!! Those who are 'high-risk' have already paid the credit card companies in advance with 24% interest, and after the fact in egregiously high late fees! In fact, the credit card companies who are howling about 'deadbeats' depend on those same 'late payers' for their profits! If everyone paid on time, they'd be out of business.

90% of American bankruptcies are the result of personal crises: medical emergencies, job loss, divorce, or deaths of family members. Check this for an eye-opener.

I must be crazy. Why else would it seem to me that there is a fundamental difference between bankruptcy to stay off of the street and bankruptcy to keep all the cool stuff you already have. This seems to be the same old tired "Welfare Queen" story about all the lazy, shiftless, no-account loafers who just want to 'soak the rich' to avoid personal responsibility.

Have you ever filed bankruptcy? Do you know anyone who has? Then you know that on a personal level it is one of the hardest, saddest, most degrading things you ever have to do. In the interests of honesty, I personally have not filed for bankruptcy, but I have close friends who have. Most people will do anything to avoid it. The figures say '9 out of 10'. That means almost all the people who file do so out of desperation, and because of events over which they have no control - crushing medical bills, death, divorce and, yes - job loss. The people who don't anguish over bankruptcy are (usually, not always, but usually) those for whom bankruptcy is just another smart business move.

Yet somehow, here in Hooterville, it's just fine for the ones who will not become homeless, will not lose their families, will not have to go on welfare, will not be able to eat or buy clothes or have medical care. Belly on up to the bar, fellas! Drinks are on the House (and Senate).

Anyone for a screwdriver?


Kyle E. Moore said...

Wow, just when I thought you had gone away for good... welcome back.

Mr. M

Alicia Morgan said...

Thanks, Mr. M - I haven't gone away. I'm a slow writer, though; it can take me an hour or two (or more) to marshal my thoughts coherently - and I do want to be coherent - and sometimes those hours are just not there. I'm still committed to the fight.

Unknown said...

Are you a Canadian? You have very Canadian traits. I checked your profile. SCTV? Love that. Pretty wicked book list, too. Robbie Service. Strange things done in the midnight sun. My wife is a big Austen fan. How is Turgenev like Hemingway? Your movie selects are spot on. Please write more to justify my bookmark.

Alicia Morgan said...

Shrewd observation! I am a rock-ribbed All-American, but I do have family in Toronto, where I spent 2 months every summer until I was 18 or so, so I suppose that Canadian 'je ne sais quoi' sort of seeped in by osmosis. I love Toronto, although growing up in Florida and living in Southern California has thinned my blood to the consistency of water.

I will endeavor to justify your bookmark. I'm still amazed that anyone reads what I write, so I suppose I must act as if I have readers! I don't know if Turgenev and Hemingway are especially alike, but I like them both anyway. I also read the National Enquirer and the Weekly World News religiously. It's hard to find SCTV aficianados around here, so I subscribe to an SCTV newsgroup (which I don't have time to keep up with, either). At least the DVDs are starting to come out after all this time. My new favorite movie is Napoleon Dynamite.

I promise to do better. Thanks!