The American Consumers Nuclear Winter

With so little time before the next presidential election it is a good time to take a quick look at some important issues that are impacting the wallets and purses of the American consumer.

Under the Bush administration consumers were significantly harmed by unreasonable and unfair bankruptcy reforms that clearly helped big business, hurt consumers and only made bankruptcy more expensive for the same people that still need to file for protection.

A future administration for change and putting people first should strongly look at repealing or enacting legislation to turn back the hands of time to allow consumers in an ever-tightening economy, to have more reasonable access to bankruptcy.

The Obama-Biden ticket has promoted a Credit Card Bill of Rights for some time now and it would be beneficial to see the McCain-Palin ticket pledge to work diligently to put similar protections in place.

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The advent of the foreclosure next door has been upon us for some time now but little help is available to truly allow people to remain in their homes and avoid foreclosure. While lip service is given to industry pledges, the reality is that the paperwork and processes is so arcane and less than helpful that people continue to lose their homes who don’t need to.

During the past Bush administration the Internal Revenue Service and many state governments worked to crack down on abuses in the consumer credit counseling industry. Many of these prosecutions were against companies that had truly strained the limits of the law, such as Ameridebt. But many nonprofit credit counseling groups sought to drag out the IRS audits for compliance, where they would have not been in compliance to let a statue of limitations expire so they could remain in business.

At the same time as consumer advocates, and local and federal governments were cracking down on these consumer assistance agencies, no new legislation has been to provide shelter or assistance for consumers was enacted.

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Consumers have lost more rights and are worse off today, than they have been in nearly a decade.

And now in the face of discouraging financial news, consumers have little hope in front of them of being able to allow them fair and reasonable access to bankruptcy or an impartial fair and pro-rata way for them to repay what they can afford without bankruptcy.

At the same time, creditors are offering non-binding agreements in debt management plans and not offering truly constructive offers to help a sinking consumer to have any real hopes of resolving their unexpected financial difficulties without more pain, punishment and stress.


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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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