Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Bankrupt bankruptcy bill

E.J. Dionne, Jr.
Washington Post Writers Group
Bankrupt bankruptcy bill
Senate proposal fails to distinguish between medical and gambling debts
WASHINGTON -- My late parents, who came of age during the Great Depression, offered my sister and me a couple of simple rules about money: Never take on financial burdens you can't bear, and always pay your bills. Many years later, I still think they were right.

Supporters of the bankruptcy bill that goes before the Senate this week will make their case by appealing to those excellent values. Their claim is that all kinds of people are buying lots of stuff on credit and then using allegedly lenient bankruptcy laws to say, "Oops, sorry, I won't pay."

You could make a case for this bankruptcy bill if it were narrowly focused on those who truly abuse the system. Instead, the bill sweeps away protections for worthy and unworthy creditors alike. This will make it much tougher for those who fall on hard times to escape burdens they confront through little fault of their own....