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Hearings on Squeezing the American Family

posted by Bob Lawless

Yesterday, the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress (JEC) held a hearing on the economic state of the American family. We've got falling real incomes, a mortgage crisis and a housing market in turmoil, record gas prices, and other increases in the costs of living. It's not going well.

Among the witness was Credit Slips's own Elizabeth Warren who started off with this:

From 2000 to 2007, measured in real dollars, incomes declined while basic expenses increased sharply. By the time today’s family makes a few basic purchases—housing, health insurance, food, gas, phone—it has about $5800 less than it had back in 2000.

Warren backs up that statement with numerous charts and statistics that demonstrate how incomes have failed to keep up with the rising cost of living. Her full testimony is here.

Comments

Elizabeth Warren-

I'm glad the middle class has someone like you batting for them. I read the PDF. I don't know anyone who could have said it any better. I’m not trying to “brown nose” or anything like that. I wish I could say something different or that you are just “flat wrong” but everything I read in your testimony is what I see day in and day out. I know they listen to you whereas they would not even consider listening to a “joe” like me. It seems like the middle class is up against a strong “rip current”, I don’t know if we can wait for the current to release us, we need to have outside help. Get our elect to listen to us (the ones who elected them) and get this tide turned the other way! We as a Country need to “Produce” something…. anything! Renewable energy is still in its infancy, we can get in on the ground floor. What? Are we going to be like “Cuba” importing just about everything? Are we going to continue to “print” money? Yes, I like having a Job. My job is such that when people are in trouble financially, I have job security. It comes to a point though that it gets pretty damn depressing hearing the same story over and over and over from people who are not dissimilar to myself. I can see myself in their shoes and I don’t want to be in their shoes. I want to help, but there is only so much one can do. It’s like seeing someone drowning and you want to help but you have your arms around 3-4 other people who would sink faster if you left them. AHHHRRRGGGG! I’ll stop now.

Thank you….. Thank you for everyone knows or does not know what you did for them today.

More than likely most on Credit Slips do not agree with my observations nor in reverse. However, the testimony Elizabeth recently provided hits home. To the person quite awile ago who suggested that Elizabeth move out of the Country, I again say to her: Stay Put.

We will continue to disagree and when everything is right, I will retire or better said I will work a very, very long time.

I hasten to join in the well-articulated sentiments expressed by the commentor who goes by the name,PATCHES, about the within excerpted testimony of Prof. Elizabeth Warren at the the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress (JEC). Patches is absolutely correct when he asserts the following: "I don't know anyone who could have said it any better. I’m not trying to 'brown nose' or anything like that. I wish I could say something different or that you are just “flat wrong” but everything I read in your testimony is what I see day in and day out."

The FACTS on this - about the crushing but even increasingly worsening, financial condition of the average American consumer in the nation's current recession-like economic times - seem pretty clear and solid, and beyond any modicum of dispute whatsoever. And, in deed, it comes as no accident or surprise to anyone that the American consumers are beginning, once again, to troop back at something almost beginning to look like a similar rate as before, to the bankruptcy courthouses of the nation to seek for financial relief. Clearly, one major avenue provided (or, at least, expected to be provided) for under the law for coping with extreme financial difficulties such as this, is simply spelled B-A-N-K-R-U-P-T-C-Y! So, that brings me to my primary issue here. THE REAL ISSUE NOW REALLY IS, OR SHOULD BE: how do you make bankruptcy reasonably available, accessible and AFFORDABLE, so that consumers who MUST file for bankruptcy and NEED to do so, these days can do so? What avenues, if any, are there - and could be made available - for consumers as as to make the utilization of the constitutional right of the bankruptcy option feasible, practicable, and within the reach of the average American debtor today, once again?

I have some ideas of my own on this. 'Radical ideas,' I'm sure some might probably characterize it, when eventually unveiled! But, I'll let it go for now. For now, I'd rather hear from others first about your own ideas on resolving this critical financial-relief question for the consumer.

Again, which way to make the bankruptcy option PRACTICABLE, ACCESSIBLE and AFFORDABLE, for the average overburdened or debt-ridden American consumer today? Any ideas, any one? Let's hear it, please.
Thank you.

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