The bankruptcy bill: It brings people together!

It's a rare moment of political unity: Nobody likes the bankruptcy bill -- except for the credit card companies and the politicians who need their money.

By Tim Grieve
Published March 10, 2005 9:18PM (EST)

Plenty of folks on the left are upset with the Democrats in Congress who are lending their support -- one way or another -- to the gift to the credit card companies that is the the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. The theory is this: Democrats who support the bill give cover to the Republicans behind it, and there's so little public interest in the bill that no Democrat in Congress can credibly claim that he or she needs to back it to win re-election.

But left-leaning bloggers aren't the only ones upset about the bankruptcy bill; the right is rumbling as well. At least some of the Freepers are up in arms that Their Republican Majority would be foisting this "unmitigated disaster" on American consumers. As one Freeper puts it: "Im a dedicated conservative, law-and-order guy. If you borrow, you pay it back. But for financial institutions to change the rules midstream (especially on low-income families) is not only wrong, its evil." There's similar reaction over at, where one poster says the bill -- which purports to cut down on fraudulent bankruptcy filings by making it much harder for consumers to have their debts relieved -- is like "using a 12-gauge shotgun to kill a pigeon in a flock of songbirds."

You don't get a lot of hunting analogies on the left-wing blogs. But then, you don't get a lot of issues on which the blogs from the left and the right see eye to eye. The Democratic bloggers think the bill is bad news for consumers; the Republican bloggers agree, and they're afraid that the Democrats -- at least, those who don't end up voting for it -- will make the Republicans pay. Glenn Reynolds, the conservative blogger behind Instapundit, seems to be throwing his weight behind a proposal for a "cross-blogosphere coalition" in opposition to the bankruptcy bil, but it's almost certainly too late. The credit card companies dumped a ton of money into this legislation, and they'll get their payoff any minute now.

But there is time to enjoy one final irony. As we mentioned yesterday, experts say that the people who will be hurt most by the bankruptcy bill are the residents of the states with the highest percentage of bankruptcy filings -- which is, by and large, another way of saying "red states." The good news for those red staters: Many of them don't make enough money to be covered by the bill's new limitations.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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