Saturday, December 5, 2009

Is Personal Bankruptcy a way out?

While the debate on cuts and how they happen is very important I believe what is now paramount for our Government to focus on is changing the current bankruptcy laws. If the union leaders were interested in the citizens and working classes this is where their interest should rest. Based on this years tax take our spending needs to return to 2003 levels. Everybody believes their role is more important than the next. If all departments received their 2003 budget and cut spending accordingly this would be a simplistic and a fair way to do this. Now that is an unending debate however the issue of our draconian bankruptcy legislation and the state of debt many families find themselves in is a much more important issue for many reasons.

· The deflating/contraction of credits cycle we are in is positive for workers and only those whose who have large amounts of debt will suffer. As when prices were inflating and wages trailed, wage will also trail deflation for many.
· This means many in public and private sector jobs will have more cash to spend on cheaper goods and should be willing to take some pay cuts. (Ideally what the market will bear but good luck with trying to get that.)
· Personal bankruptcy is pretty much a last straw as one is perused for 12 years making it unfeasible to be a productive member of society during this time. By allowing people to quickly file for bankruptcy and come out of bankruptcy in a couple of years and get on with life will be much more socially and economically beneficial. They will lose their assets which may be punishment enough. It is unlikely that these people will take on risky investments in the future. The current law is a measure to immunise the creditor from risks. It should be the role of lenders to make prudent not riskless decisions.

It is unlikely that the currently bunch of TDs will make any decisions that will be beneficial to the majority of society or the economy as a whole. It is not that they do not know what to do but like any lifestyle change, many try to take the easy route.

Raising awareness on this issue and uniting those who are indebted will receive much more public support than the current squabbling between public and private workers. With NAMA and bank guarantees the burden of this debt will again fall back on the public. However, drastic action needs to be taken soon.

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