Saturday, January 13, 2007

an indentured nation: serfs up?

Banks Gone Wild - New York Times--Years ago, many of our forefathers came to this country as indentured servants, or slaves, or debtors. As you read this recounting of how we live in a nation of "banks gone wild," you wonder whether we're just about back in the same boat as they came over on. I think it's time we took our money, our lives, and our freedom back.

...A boomerang effect has appeared, too. The new law contains a provision forcing many debtors into Chapter 13 compulsory repayment plans. The bill’s backers expected this fresh squeeze on debtors to produce more cash for the banks, but the trend appears to be downward.

In adopting the provision, Congress disregarded the advice of every disinterested group that has looked at the question, including three presidential commissions, the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability Office. It also ignored a past House Judiciary Committee report, which declared that such compulsion might well amount to the imposition of involuntary servitude. [emphasis mine]

So the lending goes on. People classed as the “working poor,” now beginning to be tapped by the credit card vendors, no doubt constitute a rich supply of coveted potential revolvers — fresh customers for the banks to draw into the credit maze, with its minimums and its unending late fees. In signing the 2005 act, President Bush declared that it would make more credit available to poor people. Unquestionably so. And 30 percent interest was just what they needed, wasn’t it?

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