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Tom Coburn is a Big Fat Jerk


Home of the Barking Moonbat


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Call it the Sharecropper Society, the Debt-Peonage Society, Whatever

Warren Buffet sounded the alarm a few days ago, and now Krugman adds his two cents in this NYT op-ed.

Really, people, if you haven't cut up the credit cards, you're just asking for trouble. Krugman notes the bankruptcy bill was written by and for credit card people --- I suppose, however, if that doesn't send up warning flares for you, nothing will.

The bill also raises the bar on bankruptcies, although the majority of bankruptcies arise from personal misfortune.

You know, I'm really disgusted by the support these measures are getting not only from the wingnuts, but from doctors. I was lurking on some medical blogs over the weekend, and there were all kinds of sneering attitudes toward those stupid enough to come down with debilitating illness or have a child with one. I also know a number of doctors in this state voted for Bush, simply because they're all in such a tizzy over the possibility that they might have to deal with the misfortunes of other without the screening of thir accountants.

My dad was a doctor. But he never flapped into the realm of self-satisfied "well, it's their own fault if they're too stupid to not have good insurance or to get sick". In fact, due to his own medical conditions (early heart attack and blind in one eye), he never really hit the jackpot like the caricatured doctors of film and legend, and had a pretty good personal understanding of what it's like to be poor and sick. I also remember numerous instances of him leaving the house because someone had cut their arm off or someone down the street had fallen down the stairs or someone over there had contracted meningitis or whatever.

He didn't call his accountant first. He also relied on his own knowledge. And he never believed the drug companies. Unheard of! No doubt, the current batch of doctors would have him branded heretic and tossed from the AMA.

So I'm biased by a belief that we should not be penalized by the chance misfortunes of life. Furthermore, people who decide to become doctors choose a life of service to others, which includes a willingness to look misfortune straight in the eye, without the assistance of their accountants and lawyers.

Don't like that idea? Think being a doctor means getting to buy that $300,000 flat at the age of 28? My, how far we have fallen in such a very short time.

Finally, my entire family was thrown for a loop a year or so ago by the discovery that one of my nieces has a genetic disorder classified as "rare and expensive" --- it has to do with her body's ability to synthesize certain aminos. She's already racked up a good $100K or so in medical bills, and gets to start her life in the most financially precarious position imaginable in this country. The likelihood is she will go through repeated hospitalizations and her chances of requiring a kidney transplant are very high.

Is this her fault? We never even knew we were carriers for this disorder. So she should be penalized for knowledge we never had, for daring to have been born less than perfect?

She should become the prey of usurers??

[...] over the past three decades the lives of ordinary Americans have become steadily less secure, and their chances of plunging from the middle class into acute poverty ever larger. Job stability has declined; spells of unemployment, when they happen, last longer; fewer workers receive health insurance from their employers; fewer workers have guaranteed pensions.

Some of these changes are the result of a changing economy. But the underlying economic trends have been reinforced by an ideologically driven effort to strip away the protections the government used to provide.


Warren Buffett recently made headlines by saying America is more likely to turn into a "sharecroppers' society" than an "ownership society." But I think the right term is a "debt peonage" society - after the system, prevalent in the post-Civil War South, in which debtors were forced to work for their creditors. The bankruptcy bill won't get us back to those bad old days all by itself, but it's a significant step in that direction.

Shame on everyone supporting these changes. And that includes you, doctors!


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