Liberal karaoke | Main | Which war are we in?

March 11, 2005

To Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN)

Posted by Phil on March 11, 2005 9:13 AM

Dear Mr. Bayh,

I am dismayed by your decision to vote for passage of the punitive "bankruptcy reform" bill sought by the credit card industry. How many letters did you receive from private citizens begging you to support this bill? Any? If you do not stand with middle-class workers in opposing such a bill, can you tell me exactly when you would?

Indiana is among the 10 states leading the list in declared bankruptcies. Is it your honest belief that the majority of these instances are not working individuals and families seeking relief from debts due to job-loss or medical calamity, but are instead freeloaders fraudulently gaming the system? If so, you clearly take a jaundiced view of your constituents, and do so in the face of statistics that show otherwise.

You will forgive me if I do not share your sympathy with the banking and credit industries. They know that many people can ill-afford their false generosity, but have still spent years filling our mailboxes with offers of "free money": pre-approved lines of credit to slake their unquenchable thirst for high interest payments.

The credit card industry should be reaping what they have sown: the loss of loans they were foolish to make due to the insolvency of those they preyed upon. I consider them guilty of usury. Instead, despite the supposedly impoverishing losses their good faith and generosity have brought them, they somehow have millions in lobbying resources to buy the support of even Democrats like you.

I am angered that you did not choose to represent the interests of your true constituents by voting with the principled minority against this bill. Perhaps you cast your vote in the hopes that the bill's inevitable passage would give you cover. It does not.

To be sure, Republicans as a party are more culpable for the pain this bill's passage will cause for citizens already suffering the effects of financial catastrophe. But you and the other Democrats who voted with them have given them the political cover of "bipartisan support," ensuring that they will pay no price as a party for their continued policy of favoring wealth and power over individuals and democracy.

You have also demonstrated again the lack of Democratic solidarity and discipline that will keep our party out of power. Perhaps that doesn't matter, since episodes like this make me wonder what Democrats like you stand for, and why you deserve my support.


I'd be a little more proud if I'd managed to send that before the vote--you know, because I might've changed his mind.

But, parallel use of words like "punitive" and "catastrophe" notwithstanding, I did write it before I read Joe Conason's latest Salon column. (I think you have to watch an ad or something if you don't subscribe.)