Books

  • Jeff Michael: Repair Your Credit and Knock Out Your Debt

    Jeff Michael: Repair Your Credit and Knock Out Your Debt
    I highly recommend this book because I wrote it.

  • Edie Milligan: Tips from the Top: Targeted Advice from America's Top Money Minds

    Edie Milligan: Tips from the Top: Targeted Advice from America's Top Money Minds
    I have about a dozen entries in this book.


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Comments

Points:
-- Your refund is only $10, as the anticipated increase in annual collections is $3 billion--sorry, the Yahoo link is gone-my link is to Point 11 at http://www.bizzyblog.com/?p=58:

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the bill’s GOP sponsors believe that “If the means test only weeds out 100,000 to 150,000 abusive filings, as much as $3 billion could be recovered and passed through to other consumers…”

That's a little over $10 for every person in the population, or about $30 per household. Don't spend it all in one place.

-- As to the objectivity of the news reports, "making it harder for debt-ridden Americans to get relief" is a totally accurate characterization, if only because of the filing fee increases and the indisputably higher legal fees, which you don't have to talk to anyone about to confirm (you just have to read or know what's in the bill). You DO understand that making something more costly makes it "harder" to pay for, right? The Means Test, the Statewide Medians, and all the other garbage in the bill doesn't even need to get into the discussion. I think you should retract your contention as to the debatability of the statement that filing will be harder. It isn't debatable, and it will be harder, PERIOD.

-- OTOH, the reports that talked about it being "impossible" to get a Ch. 7 for certain filers and the like were indeed very bogus, especially since they passed off the bogus characterization to ABI. Here's a good criticism of that type of writing from Todd Zywicki, though he didn't note the attribution to ABI, which both Todd and I have determined to not reflect a formal ABI position:

http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2005_04_10-2005_04_16.shtml#1113482736

If I had unlimited time I'd gripe very loudly and longly to AP, but that's ABI's job.

-- Finally, unless you have better info, which is certainly possible, the effective date should be Oct. 17 or 18, which is 180 days from the date Bush signed.

Cheers,

Tom Blumer
Mason, OH
513-336-7121
www.bizzyblog.com

PS. I like your disclaimer. I hope you don't mind if I use it as a starting point at my blog.

Yeah, Tom, I DO understand that when things cost more, they're "harder" to get. That wasn't my point at all.

Language is functional. As a professional writer, I know how to write something that is factually true while still showing my bias. For instance, if Orrin Hatch had written the AP article, instead of saying "...harder for debt-ridden Americans to get relief..." he might have written, "harder for deadbeat debtors to get out of repaying their obligations." No matter how you slice it, that statement is factually true. And completely irresponsible. If that's what the article had said, you'd be crying about it on your blog just like I am.

I'm not even saying the point is wrong... I just think the media is saying "harder" as in "more difficult to qualify," not "more expensive." I WON'T retract my contention on that point. I think only very few bk filers will find it harder to qualify for bankruptcy protection. Of course all of them will find it more expensive, but when you're wiping out tens of thousands of dollars in bankruptcy court, what's a couple grand in legal fees? Which is harder? Paying off that crippling mountain of debt, or paying more to your BK attorney and 50 bucks to a credit counselor?

As for our disposition to the creditors, are you suggesting they shouldn't be made to own up to their false promises? They did talk about giving us lower rates, and you may be able to destroy their math, but I was being a bit facetious in my post. Of course the creditors don't want to give us a $400 refund (and as you prove, it's not that much anyway). My point is, we have to bring them to heel now, and the passage of this BK bill is our best weapon. These guys have the bill they wanted, so it's time for all of us to demand an end to their predatory practices. They always say they have to charge a lot because they're taking so many risks with certain debtors. But this BK bill mitigates that risk, right? So now is the time to demand they lower their rates for everybody. That was my point.

I'm sure you're right about the effective date. I know I got that from one of the many articles I read, but they were probably going with the date Bush signed rather than counting 180 days. I'll make a correction in the post.

And feel free to use the disclaimer. Things were getting a bit raw in the NCC debate, and I wanted everyone to know that no matter what horrible things we say on here, we're all friends at the end of the day.

Jeff

Jeff, you said:

My point is, we have to bring them to heel now, and the passage of this BK bill is our best weapon. These guys have the bill they wanted, so it's time for all of us to demand an end to their predatory practices. They always say they have to charge a lot because they're taking so many risks with certain debtors. But this BK bill mitigates that risk, right? So now is the time to demand they lower their rates for everybody.

--------------------

Let me be the first to say I hope I'm wrong, but...I don't think this Congress is disposed to do anything that will put creditors' feet to the fire. Some things might be done at the margin to eliminate some of the most egregious predatory practices, but I don't see anything being done about universal default, or capping rates (even at 30%!), or capping fees ($39, when it was like $10 twelve years ago? What changed to justify that?), or extending credit to people with no income, or outlawing prepayment penalties.

The time to put their feet to the fire was by taking care of these things at the same time BR was taken care of. Now I'm to believe the creditors will roll over immediately after they've shown that they can get just about whatever they want?

There's no doubt this congress has been bought and paid for by the creditors. I'm thinking of writing my representatives and asking for their position on a national usury law. I could blog their responses (if they respond) here.

You're right that we probably won't get anywhere with the creditors, but we can use the momentum that's been built up in the anti-bk reform movement to agitate for change from our lawmakers. Basically use congress against them the way they've just used congress for themselves.

(Of course, I still maintain the BK reform law will not have the earth-shattering impact that a lot of people think it will, but I DO think we should use it as an opportunity to wrestle the creditors down to earth.) With or without bankruptcy reform, the creditors have gone too far with their practices, including all of those you list, plus marketing to college students and soldiers, and unethical credit reporting practices. Even though they won the BK reform fight, they've attracted a lot of scrutiny and been exposed for all their evils. Even die-hard BR opponents can take some comfort from that.

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