Since 1980, America has experienced an unprecedented economic boom.
Today, more Americans have jobs than at any time in our history. But
because of bleeding heart liberals, we have also experienced a 300
percent increase in the number of personal bankruptcies.
What does that mean? It means that a record 1,400,000 Americans
declared bankruptcy in 1998. In far too many cases, people who could
afford to pay their bills, walked away from them. You and I picked up
The good news is that the US House and the Senate have passed
legislation by veto-proof margins to tighten the requirements for
bankruptcies. This legislation will make it harder for those who can
afford to pay their bills to stiff their creditors.
For example, the new legislation will make it impossible for people
to keep multimillion dollar “homestead” palaces while people who live in
shacks pay part of their bills. Instead, bankrupts can only keep houses
worth $100,000 or less. If they want to keep larger houses, they will
have to pay their bills.
Those Americans who have experienced devastating financial setbacks
will still be able to declare bankruptcy. However, only those truly in
need will qualify in the future.
The bad news is that Senator Paul Wellstone, Minnesota’s Democratic
socialist, is leading a fight to kill this legislation. With logic that
only liberals think makes sense, consumer advocates, unions, women’s
groups and religious leaders are protesting legislation that would make
it harder for people to sweep away debts through bankruptcy.
Liberals say that since 40% of the bills that force people into
bankruptcy are for medical problems, preventing people from walking away
from these bills is bad. That makes no sense. If the problem is health
insurance, fix it. However, don’t let people walk away from their
legitimate debts if they can afford to pay.
Liberals claim that the only reason Congress wants to tighten
bankruptcy requirements is that financial institutions have bought them
off. They blame campaign contributions from banks, credit card
companies, finance companies and all of the “evil” entities that lend
people money. They don’t blame those who just don’t want to pay their
Liberals also oppose a move by Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, that
would limit to $1 million how much money that some bankrupt consumers
could keep in their retirement accounts. Senator Grassley rightly
believes that if someone has more than one million dollars in their
retirement account, they can afford to use the “excess” to pay their
bills. But the liberals won’t have it.
The Clinton administration says it supports reforming bankruptcy
laws, but it doesn’t like the current legislation because it is “too
tough” on debtors. As usual, they don’t get it. Unfortunately, they
don’t show similar compassion for those of us who pay our bills.
Liberals believe in Robin Hood. They believe in government as a
redistribution of wealth. They will take money out of your pocket every
chance they can, but the bills of bankrupts don’t just disappear. They
pass them onto those of us who pay our bills. So every time a person
declares bankruptcy, our bills go up.
What makes the liberal’s position so dangerous is that it undermines
the very essence of personal responsibility. According to liberals, if
you need something, buy it on credit. If you don’t want to pay for it,
That idea is morally wrong, and it will destroy the work ethic in
I make my living teaching MBA students from around the world and
advising companies about competitive strategy and marketing.
International students and executives marvel at America’s economic
strength. When you ask them why America works so well, they invariably
say “because the legal system works better here than any other country.
Because a contract means something in this country. Because if someone
owes you money, you can go to court and get paid without having to bribe
All of that changes with too liberal a bankruptcy system. Then we pay
people to welsh on their debts, honest people are punished. Punishing
people for paying their bills is a sure recipe for moral decay. That is
why you and I have to insist that the cries of the bleeding heart
liberals fall on deaf ears.
Congress is close to showing some backbone on this one. Write them,
call them and let them know that we, the bill paying public, want these
For us, it’s not about soft money from lobbyists. It’s about keeping
our hard earned money in our pockets. And keeping liberals’ hands out of