In May 2005, President Bush signed into law, the new Bankruptcy legislation. On the surface the law was created to prevent filings from those who had flagrantly abused their credit privileges and also capture those who would file claims on whim and caprice…
The law is slated to take effect on October 17, 2005. When Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R. Wis.), chairman of the Congressional Judiciary Committee sponsored the legislation, he and his committee members and Congress in general acknowledged that banks and credit card companies were suspect to large losses, from the high incidence of Chapter 7 filings. However, there would soon be another downside which both the Judiciary Committee and Congress in general, nor President Bush could have ever anticipated. On August 29, 2005 hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast and devastated the City of New Orleans. Three weeks later, hurricane Rita wreaked havoc on Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and left enough of its devastation in New Orleans to place them back at square one. In a survey by ISO, an insurance and risk data firm based in Jersey City, New
Jersey, they found that personal and commercial loss claims for hurricane Katrina would likely be in the neighborhood of $34.4 billion, which qualifies it as the most costly natural disaster in United States history.(New York Times,2005) Albeit this figure is unprecedented and huge, it is by no means the final devastation figure. At least 99% of the persons who were housed at the Louisiana Superdome and the Civic Center, along with countless others who co-exist from pay check to paycheck who are uninsured, are yet to be tallied. Robert Lawless, a law professor at the University of Nevada Law School found in a recent Nevada Law Journal study that bankruptcy filings rose about 50 percent faster in states affected by hurricanes than in those unaffected. Mr. Lawless's study found that the peak in bankruptcy filings was not right after a storm but two to three years later. (New York Times/Editorial 05). Obviously the victims of Katrina will no doubt skew these findings as they unquestionable fit the profile of those who typically file for chapter 7 relief.Lawless points out, "The commonality of most bankruptcy filers is a huge setback beyond their control, like illness, the death of a loved one, divorce or layoff".(New York Times). The banks and credit card companies who paid and lobbied for the passage of this new bankruptcy law, will no doubt benefit immensely because it will now become more difficult for Chapter 7 filers to erase their negative history. Obviously, this writer believes that under normal circumstances, when one establishes credit and incurs a debt, then you are obligated to pay. Of course the operative word here is "normal". If one has delusions of how abnormal things are in New Orleans after Katrina, one can listen to the plight of the Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin in an October 11, 2005 interview where he said. "
"I will lay-off 3,000 city employees because I have not been able to find the money to keep (non-essential) workers on the payroll".(Nagin qtd.Fox News) These individuals are at the bottom of the food chain and maybe they did not lose as much as many others, but now, all that they did have prior to ...
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