Stateside

Getting their money’s worth

The corporations which have donated millions of dollars to Republican candidates are getting their way in a GOP-controlled Congress and White House, The Washington Post reports.

MBNA Corp., the credit card behemoth and fifth-largest contributor to Bush’s two presidential campaigns, is among those on the verge of prevailing in an eight-year fight to curtail personal bankruptcies. Exxon Mobil Corp. and others are close to winning the right to drill for oil in Alaska’s wildlife refuge, which they have tried to pass for better than a decade. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., another big contributor to Bush and the GOP, and other big companies recently won long-sought protections from class-action lawsuits.

Republicans have pursued such issues for much of the past decade, asserting that free market policies are the smartest way to grow the economy. But now it appears they finally have the legislative muscle to push some of their agenda through Congress and onto the desk of a president eager to sign pro-business measures into law. The chief reason is Bush’s victory in 2004 and GOP gains in Congress, especially in the Senate, where much of corporate America’s agenda has bogged down in recent years, according to Republicans and Democrats.

The bankruptcy bill, supported by the credit-card industry, makes it easier for creditors to demand repayment from indebted consumers. But it’s these same credit-card providers who make it almost absurdly easy for consumers to go deeply into debt in the first place.

And Congress’s failure to deal with the rising costs of medical care means that a single serious illness or injury can put even the most fiscally-responsible family into a crushing debt. The bankruptcy bill does not address this crisis.

Even the right-of-center Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit calls the bill “a pure giveaway to corporate interests.”

By contrast, the usually liberal Senator Joe Biden of Delaware– where a number of credit-card companies are based– supported the bankruptcy bill. Not one of his finest moments.

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