HIGHTOWER: Bankers Bonkers Over Bankruptcies

Whoa! Not only is the Dow Jones average soaring, not only are corporate profits and chief executive salaries riding high ... but so is another economic indicator: Personal bankruptcies.

Wait, that's not good news.

No indeed, but there it is. In the midst of our so-called booming economy, Americans are going broke in record numbers -- more than a million of us had to declare bankruptcy last year, which was 29 percent more than the previous year. The rate is even worse this year as so many families find that their stagnating incomes just don't cover what they owe. The typical filer for bankruptcy these days is a white, married homeowner working full-time for under $30,000 a year.

Not to worry, though, congress is riding to the rescue! To the rescue of the bankers, that is. You see, much of this personal debt has been piled up on credit cards, so it's owed to the banks -- the very banks that keep foisting more and more credit cards upon us, pleading with us to run-up more debt. But now that they're left holding the bankruptcy bag, they've gone bonkers, running to congress whining that the laws need to be restricted so fewer people can use them.

Interesting, isn't it, that they don't whine when Donnie Trump goes bankrupt, or when corporations use bankruptcy to terminate pension plans for workers, or when bankers themselves go belly-up, as they did in droves during the S&L robbery of the '80s. But when ordinary folks need protection to get back on their feet ... Oh, do the bankers turn pious! They're in Washington right now blaming the victims and demanding that congress "make people take individual responsibility."

It's not the bankruptcy laws that need fixing, it's our economic policies -- so that working families can again have good-paying jobs, good health-care coverage and the other basics that keeps one out of bankruptcy.

Source: "Going broke: bankruptcy stigma lessens" by Christine Dugas. USA Today: June 10, 1997.

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