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Thursday, March 17, 2005 06:39 am

common sense 3-17-05

art1886

As Will Rogers once observed, “This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer.”

This Congress is especially terrifying because the Republican majority has decided that 2005 is payback time for their big-business backers, and they’ve turned Washington into an assembly line for the delivery of corporate America’s full wish list. It’s business as usual, of course, for Washington to enact laws that enrich corporations, but this time the political leaders are going much further, rigging America’s basic rules of fairness.

CEOS have only dreamed about being handed these structural changes in the past, but now their campaign contributions and lobbying clout have altered the political dynamics, and their victories are coming hard and fast, with most of us totally unaware that we’re getting hammered.

The first blow came barely a month after Congress convened. A new law, obliquely labeled “tort reform,” was rammed through. Behind that arcane title that means nothing to the vast majority of folks is a “reform” that can really whap you. If you’re harmed or killed by corporate malfeasance, good luck getting any justice, for this law moves class-action lawsuits against corporations out of your state court and into corporate-friendly federal courts, restacking the scales of justice against you.

Now comes a law for “bankruptcy relief,” another misnomer. It provides relief not for economically strapped people but for credit-card giants! If you’re poor or middle-income and find yourself overwhelmed with debt, this bill forces you into a vindictive form of bankruptcy that lets bankers seize your wages, car, and other essential assets you need to get back on your feet.

Many more blows are coming. To track and fight this corporate power grab, call Congress Watch: 202-588-7777.

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