One of the ironies of the credit card crisis is that the financial industry laid the foundation for much of the trouble we are seeing with its full-throated -- and deep-pocketed -- support of the cynically named Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, a truly loathsome piece of legislation that opened the door to many of the banking abuses we are witnessing. It made it much tougher for Americans to file for bankruptcy -- even the millions of hardworking Americans whose bankruptcy is the result of a serious illness (fully half of all bankruptcies are the result of crushing medical expenses). It also did nothing to rein in the kinds of lending abuses that frequently turn manageable debt into unmanageable personal financial catastrophes.
The financial industry spent $100 million lobbying to get the bill passed -- and millions more in campaign contributions. The result was a sweetheart law for the financial industry -- with 18 Senate Democrats voting for it.
And the banking lobbyists are at it again.
There are currently several bills in Congress designed to roll back some of the worst provisions of the 2005 legislation. In the Senate, Chris Dodd has introduced The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act ("the Credit CARD Act"). In the House, there is Rep. Carolyn Maloney's Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights.
The banking industry is pushing back hard. But wait, you might ask, aren't the banks broke? So where'd they get the money to lobby against credit card reform?
From us. There may not be much transparency about the hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars doled out through the TARP program, but we know where at least some of the money has gone: into making sure that none of the Bankers Gone Wild behavior that led to the current disaster is curtailed.
Thank you, Thank you Arianna for saying what NONE of the major media outlets will NOT say what is really happening.
I have been working since I was 14 years old struggling and living on public assistance and rent-controlled housing until I decided to go back to school, obtain my GED and pursue furhter education in order to better my living.
I have gone to college twice with two associate degrees. One degree for advanced automotive technology, the other for computer and networking technology. I am unemployed, being in and out of work for the past 10 years, nearly $30,000 in debt and have been struggling like hell in trying to find a stable, long-term job either within the government or government contractor work with very little luck.
Part of my hatred towards WALL STREET and these banks being bailed out while the rest of us Americans are losing their homes and being hounded by credit collection agencies is that people like me in similar situations are NOT being helped.
I HATE these banks, the Bush administration, and the corporations that have conspired to benefit themselves while undermining the average man, woman, and child.
All I want is a stable job where I can learn, grow, advance, prosper, live in a decent neighborhood with my debts paid off. I am not asking for the world nor to be rich or famous.