(YET ANOTHER) OPEN LETTER TO HAROLD FORD JR.
Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act - Vote Passed (302-126, 7 Not Voting)Congressman, I could actually understand, at least at some level, your decision to vote in favor of this heinous measure, IF you had been able to attach an amendment that exempted from its draconian provisions the 45% of bankruptcy filers who are in that position as a result of medical catastrophe.
The House gave final approval to this bill intended to make it harder for people who declare bankruptcy to get out of paying their debts.
But alas, no such amendment. So I'm afraid that makes your YES vote on this bill equally heinous to the Bush Administration's "reform" itself....
Given your affirmative vote on bankruptcy "reform," as well as your recent YES vote in support of what I like to call the Terri Schiavo Judicial Interference Act, your Congressional voting pattern suggests you are making a big mistake by remaining in the Democratic Party. Surely, given your interest in winning a Tennessee Senate seat in 2006, your chances of success would appear to be much enhanced if you joined with your Republican colleagues on a more permanent basis.
In the meantime, I think I can speak plainly for thousands of your Ninth Congressional District constituents: with your affirmative votes on these two bills, you have brought shame to the Democratic Party in Memphis, and to the majority of your constituents who, I suspect, wish you would have voted otherwise on each of these congressional travesties.
In case you may have missed the story, I am attaching a link to an April 15th NYTimes article on the subject of the fiendishly-titled Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act; I have taken the liberty of including in this letter two paragraphs (below) from that particular NYT piece. Specifically, I call your attention to the Harvard University study that suggests that roughly half of all bankruptcies today are the result of "heavy medical costs."
This information would seem to be of extreme relevance to you and your Ninth District constituents. I can only hope that many others besides myself voice their opinion to you about your appalling vote on this matter.
"The legislation had been opposed by many bankruptcy law professors and judges who testified in recent months that it was unnecessary and would create more problems than it would solve. They said that it would impose new obstacles on many middle-income families seeking desperately needed protection from creditors, and that it would take far longer for those families to start over after suffering serious illnesses, unemployment and other calamities.
"In a letter to Congress two months ago, 104 bankruptcy law professors predicted that 'the deepest hardship' would 'be felt in the heartland,' where the filing rates are highest: Utah, Tennessee, Georgia, Nevada, Indiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio, Mississippi and Idaho. A study conducted by legal and medical specialists at Harvard University of 1,771 personal bankruptcy filers in five federal courts found that about half were forced into bankruptcy because of heavy medical costs."
Kenneth Neill is publisher of The Flyer.