Column: Bankruptcy blues

By Eric Naing

Greetings all, my name is Charles M. Cawley and I am the CEO of MBNA Corp., the world’s largest independent issuer of credit cards. I am here today to talk to you about a grave injustice that has just been righted. Thanks to the newly passed Bankruptcy Bill, defenseless little credit card companies such as mine will no longer be subjected to the tyrannical rule of the working and middle class.

In essence, this bill will make it harder for slack-jawed, middle-class peons like you to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which clears your debt and protects some of your assets. Instead you may be forced to declare Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which offers no such protections. It is because of all you bottom-feeding, Jerry Springer-watching peasants that my poor multinational corporation was robbed of a small portion of its profits. My wife just redesigned the bathrooms in our mansion and because of you and your irresponsible bankruptcies, I almost could not afford to get solid gold toilets. And damnit, nothing should get between a man and his solid gold toilets.

For the past eight years, banks and credit card companies have been donating money and lobbying Congress to pass this bill. In fact, MBNA is the largest contributor to the Republican Party. Last week after all our hard work, the Senate finally passed the Bankruptcy Bill with the help of the Republicans in the Senate and even a handful of Democrats.

So what if the bill provides no protection for retirement savings, the homes of the elderly and those with severe medical problems? And so what if the reason most people declare bankruptcy is because of skyrocketing health care costs, an extremely low minimum wage and a record longtime unemployment rate? That still does not excuse you Pabst Blue Ribbon drinking trolls from irresponsible spending and racking up a massive debt. Only two things should be able to do that: the rich and the U.S. government. We earned that right.

And do not even think about blaming this bankruptcy crisis on the credit card companies. The only thing we are guilty of is abusive lending practices and constantly sending every living human being credit card offers while recklessly promoting unlimited debt. No biggie. Sure, we may unscrupulously target poor college students and the elderly, but how else am I going to pay to get my butler gold-plated and encrusted with diamonds?

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    All this talk is making me thirsty. I sure could go for a refreshing MBNA credit card with 2.9 percent introductory APR and no annual fee. Getting one of those would be quite “radical” (as the kids say these days). I know you want one deep down in your Wal-Mart shopping soul. You can use it to buy another set of NASCAR collector’s plates.

    And you know what else is so “groovy” about the Bankruptcy Bill? We rich folks get to keep our loopholes. We can still use asset protection trusts to shield our personal income should we ever declare bankruptcy. We also can use the homestead exemption to protect our multimillion dollar mansions from being seized by bankruptcy courts. When you working class bums declare bankruptcy it is probably because of your moral failings. But the wealthy have earned the right to declare bankruptcy.

    Now some grumpy Gusses may complain that this bill is much too harsh on ordinary debtors while leaving loopholes for the rich to abuse, but to that I say tough muffins. If you want to experience the satisfaction of screwing over the poor through abuse of bankruptcy laws, just become rich. It’s easy. All I had to do was wait for my father to die.

    All this idle chatter has wasted valuable time that could have been better used buying expensive art that I don’t care about, or waxing my top hat and monocle. Thank you for your time. Now excuse me while I go take a quick dip in my money bin.