Monday, December 12, 2005

Bankruptcy Hits Home Literally

My pops has been a hard working man for a long time. He was a one time police officer in Paramus, NJ. He got into computers before there was computers as an industry. Most recently he worked for Volvo. Volvo, the whole reason I am in Greensboro. I was 17 years old and living in Bergen County, NJ. Bergen County is one of the most expensive places to live in America. The big family decision, take a transfer to Greensboro with Volvo or take a management position at UPS in NJ? He choose Greensboro.

Dad worked for Volvo for a very long time. About two and a half years ago, they forced him out. Why? They'll give you a list of excuses, I'll tell you it was his age and the salary he was making. More and more companies are firing or laying off older employees and replacing them with a couple of college grads who make half as much. The corporate idea, twice the work for the same money. Volvo blatantly committed age discrimination, in my eyes, and they will get away with it because Corporate America is golden in the government's eyes. Yeah, he can get a lawyer and try to prove it, but unless Volvo documented this, it is almost impossible to prove.

You ask what do I mean by, "Corporate America is golden in the government's eyes". This past year our representatives passed a bill that kills the citizen and helps the corporations. What bill? The bankruptcy bill. Under the old laws, you go bankrupt and you start fresh. Your bills get wiped clean. Under the new law, you still pay back your bills, but still get the mark on your credit record. There is an in depth examination of the bill here at KOS. I'll give you a few interesting tips from the story. Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy are reformed, Chapter 11 bankruptcy needed no reform. Yeah, 7 and 13 are for consumers like you and me. Guess what 11 is for? Yeah businesses. That means that you and I can't get into financial trouble when we can't pay our 21% interest rates or when someone in our families gets really sick. I does mean that the credit card devils at MBNA(link is from and tells the lobbying story of MBNA) and Citigroup will get their money and that when the airlines decide not to pay pensions to their employees the government will bail them out again. How many times can we bail out the companies that rape us before we realize our asses are sore?

Here's an interesting paragraph from the article:
The details of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 reveal it to be a bill crafted as a Republican paean to , the largest single contributor to the Republican party. Far from being either an effort to stem "Bankruptcy Abuse" or an effort at "Consumer Protection", the bill is in fact an attempt to rewrite bankruptcy laws to reduce the ability of those laws to protect consumers from predatory lending practices on the part of MBNA members, and to stiffen the capabilities of those corporations to collect from consumers already suffering from extreme financial hardships.

The whole reason I write this today is because my pops is in bankruptcy court as I write. At his age, with the changing technologies, outsourcing of our jobs, and the fact that he is sick with TypeII diabetes and heart problems (sans health insurance to afford his medication), it is near impossible for him to find work. My mom owns a travel agency, which after 9/11 isn't doing what they had hoped for, and definitely isn't bring in enough income to cover the bills. Without his income they are dead in the water. He drained his 401k slowly to make ends meet for the last couple of years, that nest egg hatched and flew away with his security for his future. My pops, the immortal man that once was, is now beaten down by creditors and what I think is depression from the whole situation. He is a broken man. His family is doing what it can to help, but no one is in a position to really help. If anyone can help him(words of encouragement, work, etc...) please contact me at and I will pass along info for him. He has the biggest heart on this planet and now he needs to find someone with an equally big heart to repair the damage that has been done.

By the way, my arch nemesis Rep. James Sensenbrenner(R-WI)(Patriot Act, Real ID Act) is behind this law as well. Here is the original legislation from the house.

Interesting Note: While performing my spell check, I had originally put Citicorp and was corrected by my spell check to Citigroup. Now if you don't think big brother is watching...
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