There’s an interesting article at USA Today about the negative affects of the 2005 Bankruptcy reform laws and how some laws are being introduced to Congress to mitigate the damage to American debtors.
The article said:
“There is continuing concern about the bankruptcy-reform bill and what its effects have been,” says Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., who leads the Senate Judiciary subcommittee that oversees bankruptcy law. “We are looking at a number of things that we can do to address the problems.”
On Tuesday, Whitehouse will hold a hearing that will discuss legislation he has introduced that would allow families burdened by exorbitant credit card rates and fees to more simply discharge their debt under bankruptcy. He is considering several other proposals.
And of course the bankruptcy legislation designed to allow bankruptcy courts to modify toxic mortgages is still making its way through Congress. But Senator Whitehouse’s proposed changes to the bankruptcy law could have a very positive affect on the American debtor’s ability to more easily discharge credit card debt in bankruptcy. In 2005 the credit card industry actually convinced our legislators that changing the bankruptcy law would benefit American credit card consumers. But of course that never happened. Since then, the credit card industry’s profits from penalty fees alone have risen by $14.8 billion (that’s a bailout in and of itself) and the industry’s pretax profits have soared to about $39 billion. Credit card consumers did not benefit at all from the 2005 bankruptcy reform and the credit card industry has been raking in billions ever since.
All consumers need to watch and support the current bankruptcy legislation moving through Congress because many more Americans will require the full muscle of the bankruptcy code to make it through these rough economic times.