As the housing/mortgage crisis intensifies, some courageous Democrats like Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC) are trying to let judges help people stay in their home and stop foreclosures. Unfortunately, as my new nationally syndicated newspaper column out today shows, Miller is facing serious opposition not just from Republicans, but from "conservative" Democrats.
Miller's bill, HR 3609 (which you can find out about here), would improve the 2005 Bankruptcy Bill by simply giving regular homeowners a few of the same protections that millionaire mansion owners and Enron executives have. Yet, the Blue Dog Democrats, citing their supposed "conservatism," are trying to stop the legislation dead in its tracks. Somehow, we are expected to believe that the social/cultural conservatism of their rural and exurban districts mean their constituents want Congress to help banks throw people out of their houses.
Overall, Miller's bill could help keep 600,000 households in their homes. As the Denver Post reports, that's almost 6,000 throughout Colorado. And the problem is just as pronounced in many Blue Dog Democrats' districts. For example, the Kansas City Kansan reports that the district of Rep. Dennis Moore (D-KS) - who was cited by National Journal for his efforts to stop Miller's bill - could face almost 800 foreclosures. In Rep. Jim Marshall's (D-GA) district, Miller's bill would save more than 1,400 families from being foreclosed on. Incredibly (or, predictably) both signed the letter demanding Miller's bill be quashed.
Give Rep. Miller a lot of credit on this one. His state houses the headquarters of some of the biggest banks in the world, and yet he is pushing a super-populist proposal to start dealing with the mortgage meltdown. Help him by using this website to contact your Member of Congress today. Tell them to resist the corruption that the Blue Dog Democrats are trying to ram down America's throat and support HR 3609.
As I note in the column, this is yet another example of how the term "conservatism" has become a synonym for "corrruption" - in this case, to defend predatory lenders. Unfortunately, this kind of corruption is not limited just to the housing issue.
These same "conservative" Democrats are now gearing up to help protect the tax loopholes that let billionaire private equity players pay a lower effective tax rate than the janitors who clean their offices. This tax fight is going to be heating up over the next weeks and months - especially with my buddy Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films zeroing in on the issue with its new project at www.warongreed.org. Greenwald, who has rattled cages with his previous films on Fox News and Wal-Mart, will be releasing the first of his videos on Monday - you should go sign up to get on the campaign's email list for updates.
As you can see, these "conservative" Democrats have happily joined the Money Party's vicious campaign against the People Party. Their behavior explains a lot about how Congress really works. The only silver lining is that the more they sell out, the more the conservative label is shown for what it really is: a veneer for corruption.
Read the full column here. And if you'd like to see my column regularly in your local paper, use this directory to find the contact info for your local editorial page editors. Get get in touch with them and point them to my Creators Syndicate site.