In a conversation relating to one of my previous posts, my man Spedy mentioned the bankruptcy bill.  Shouldn’t people learn to pay for their mistakes?  If people can’t learn to be efficient with their money instead of spending it on XBox 360s and the like, then perhaps bankruptcy can teach them a valuable lesson.

Only it doesn’t work like that.

The three most common reasons for bankruptcy are job loss, death of a spouse (or divorce), or health issues.  Get a heart attack and can’t work?  Those bills still have to be paid.  Your father dies while working on the job?  Those bills still need to be paid.  And even in the case where you have insurance, it might not cover everything…and what it does cover it might cover late.  Our children got into a car accident over two months ago, and we’re just getting the checks this week.

This is one of those issues where the politics are fuzzy in some ways.  Because there is the politics of the legislation itself, but there are also the politics of victim assessment.  How do we think about people who have gone bankrupt?  Are they worthy victims that we should aid, or are they unworthy victims that should be punished, or perhaps given tough love?  Those thoughts are the product of politics as well.