Meant to include the following in this post:
Matt Stoller: Towards a Creditor State – One in Seven Americans Pursued by Debt Collectors: the number of people subject to third party collections has doubled since 2000, from a little less than 7% to a little over 14% of consumers. Ten years ago, one in fourteen American consumers were pursued by debt collectors. Today it’s one in seven.
The experience of debt collection can be chilling, as this 2007 ABC News report suggests.
Consumers around the country have taped threatening phone calls from collectors who have called in the middle of the night, used abusive language and have threatened to have people fired from work or thrown in jail. All of these tactics are illegal under federal law.
One of the characteristics of the new social contract ushered in by both George W. Bush and Barack Obama is the increasing power of creditors to govern outright, from tax farming by banks to the use of credit checks to access employment opportunities.
There are now thousands of people legally jailed because they aren’t paying their bills, ie. debtor’s prisons have returned. Occasionally elites let it slip that this is not an accident, but is their goal – former Comptroller General David Walker has wistfully pined for debtor’s prisons overtly (on CNBC, no less).
At last a US growth industry. One not reliant on government subsidies. Of course, government legislative changes to make bankruptcy less effective helps. Poor students, they know not what they do as sign on for a student loan. It’s not discharged in bankruptcy. I think they toughened up the treatment of credit cards a while ago as well.
One the reasons America tended to do such a good job of creating wealth is that it was very lenient on those who tried and failed. Thus they were able to try again, with lessons learned from their last failure. Together these helped create both more entrepreneurs and more successful ones. I guess this is but one more aspect of US cultural capital being destroyed. We can’t have any exceptionalism, be it in nations or individuals. That would fly in the face of the egalitarian left. can’t contradict Marxist first principles.