Monday, March 14, 2005

Court Can We Get A Witness

The Public Enemy reference, kids, is for a post defending the ways of lawyers. Lawyers are, as we know, absolutely awesome, particularly one of them. Lives with us, and all that. And we've noticed the tendency of conservatives to use the opposition of lawyers as a perfectly good argument for a proposition, which is plenty lazy, but dovetails neatly with some people's prejudices.

A prime example here is this post from Todd Zywicki, which the Instapundit feels obliged to hold up as one of the few cogent defences of the bankruptcy reform bill. In it, todd essentially says that the Bill might have its backers at the credit card companies, but that the bankruptcy law lobby is actively opposed to the Bill and has been expending furious amounts of capital to ballance out the credit industry's influence. Now Todd doesn't dredge up any examples of this, but he says that:

Because fewer bankruptcy filings means less money in lawyers' pockets

We were blearily swigging coffee this morning, and were cheered by the appearance of Annika Pergament, whose introduction "I'm Annika Pergament" at the start of the Fortune Business report, convinced us for nigh on three years that she was called Monica. Anyway, Annika was giving us a little precis of the Bill,, which was a good idea since we haven't really got a more detailed idea of what it does than outraged reactions.

Annika seemed to be saying that one's relationship to median income levels determines which route you can take to file, but that even under the more onerous regime you still went in front of a judge and got a repayment schedule, and we''re assuming you still get an element of relief. But we're also assuming that there's plenty of work here for lawyers, and that only if you believe that there are legions of frivolous filings will there be less. Those that are left would seem to fairly lucrative.

What annoys us are that we imagined that maintaining very intrusive personal information on potential borrowers was required to help credit card companies make these decisions, and that they understood and could price the relevant risks into credit card accounts. We were very frustrated by the inability of large financial instituions, particularly those with whom we'd had dealings on another continent, to grant us credit shortly after we'd arrived. But we understood that credit checks were a part of how they ran their business.

But if credit card companies decide to enlist the government to manage their non-performing loan exposures, we have to ask whether all thiis information is necessary. We would probably go further than Mr. Drum in reforming identity/information regulation, and institute an extremely high bar for companies seeking information of this nature.


Post a Comment

<< Home