Sam Rayburn, a longtime speaker of the U.S. House, once said, “Every now and then, a politician ought to do something just because it’s right.”
Last week, 45 U.S. senators dodged an excellent chance to do just what Mr. Sam advised. At issue was a straightforward, common-sense amendment proposed by Dick Durbin, D-Ill. It would have allowed bankruptcy judges to help hundreds of thousands of financially strapped homeowners who now find themselves trapped by exploding, exorbitant interest rates that bankers had attached to their loans.
Here was a conspicuous opportunity for even the most ethically blind of our congress-critters to take a principled stand, for Durbin’s bill practically had a flashing red-and-yellow neon arrow attached to it, declaring, “Vote Here for the People Against Greedy Bankers.”
Actually, even GBs would’ve benefited, for the bankruptcy provision would have allowed families to stay in their homes and keep making monthly payments to banks (albeit in reduced amounts). Also, banks could still make a profit (though not a killing), and there would be far fewer vacant homes going on the market, thus giving a badly needed break to America’s depressed housing market.
What a sensible idea! So, naturally, the Senate stomped it to death.
The members were prodded to do so by Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and other upstanding members of the hyper-aggressive GB lobby. These are, of course, the same banksters who for years speculated rapaciously on people’s homes, created a housing bubble that has since burst and shattered our economy, reduced their own financial fiefdoms to insolvency, then rushed to Washington to unscrew the Capitol dome and help themselves to a taxpayer bailout that is nearing $3 trillion.
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