by Conor Friedersdorf
A reader writes:
I'm a bankruptcy and debtor/creditor rights lawyer, concentrating primarily on the debtor side, specifically consumer and small business debtors. And I've never been busier. In 2008 and 2009, I joked, in a gallows humor sort of way, that despite being a liberal Democrat, I was one of the few people in America to benefit from the economic policies of George Bush.
I'm not joking anymore, and I'm not sparing Obama my anger. I am sick of seeing people in their 70's and 80's having to file bankruptcy. I am sick of seeing people trying to make sense of the awful clusterfuck that is the HAMP program, a program that was billed as a way for people to save their houses but has not worked, mostly because it was designed not to work. I am sick of the fact that this administration could have pushed for cramdown of residential mortgages, allowing modification of some of these awful loans in bankruptcy court, but had no political will to do so. (And let's not even talk about BAPCPA, the bankruptcy "reform" act of 2005, a bill pushed by our now vice-president, Joe Biden, which made my job needlessly more complex and increased the costs to consumers who are, you know, broke and filing bankruptcy.)
I don't mean to give too gloomy a patina to my job. I like being able to take the burden off a struggling individual or couple's shoulders. And by and large the bankruptcy bar where I practice (Central and Eastern PA) consists of pretty congenial, reasonable folk. But the last few years have radicalized me, and angered me, and I don't see things--or me--getting calmer any time soon.
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