Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Ask A Lawyer

I just finished working the Ask-A-Lawyer for Law Day (May 1st every year) on the public television tonight. I was there all day. I handled most of the bankruptcy questions all day. I made it on TV a couple of times when the TV crews came in started filming (almost always in the background). I participate in it every year. From my perspective, I get to learn from the questions that people ask and the lawyers who answer in their area of expertise. I heard some truly heartbreaking stories from people who are in debt and have no way of affording an attorney of getting out.

The situations would have tough enough under the old law, but now things are virtually impossible for them. One woman cried several times as she told me about how her husband left her with all kinds of credit card debts and now she is going to lose her house because she can't make the payments on it either. In the time since her husband left she has become disabled but it will take two years to get a settlement from the Social Security Administration.

It just goes to show that when it rains it pours.

I heard from a man who used his credit cards gambling at the local casinos. He learned the hard way that they don't build casinos on winners.

Actually, I heard several stories today of people whose husbands, wives, sons or daughters used their credit cards to gamble at the casinos and lost massive amounts of money.

I heard another man whose employee had embezzled massive amounts of money from him.

Anyway, now I'm tired after a long day of answering legal questions.

I want out of this business. I hate not being able to help people. People need to have hope for the future. Under the new bankruptcy law, people can't get out of debt and they can't bankrupt them either. I think this contributes to a casino economy mindset -- as in: "I can't get ahead unless I win a jackpot at the casino."

I honestly wonder just how popular the casinos would be if Okies made higher wages sufficient that they could save for the future.


Teri said...

I don't know if higher wages would help. The problem is bigger than that. It has to do with our entire culture, the things people see on tv every day. There was a time when folks were encouraged to save. It was common when I was a child for folks to give savings bonds as a gift to a kid. Can you imagine the reaction to that today? We have a culture that believes that they can afford something because they have credit. I just don't see any way out as long as we have television and advertising.

OkieLawyer said...


I think that people are starting to be encouraged to save again. Just look at the popularity of the Dave Ramsey program. I know a lot of people who believe in his "pay cash for everything" sermon.

The stupendous debt levels are going to force people to save at some point. And the new bankruptcy laws will eventually discourage people from taking risks in business.

I think you might be observing the "if I have a credit card I have money" ethos is starting to wane.

Teri said...

I was trying to find this ebook for you as you might find it interesting. It's located here:
It was written in 1911 about women working in the service industry. What is interesting is the details of their income and the economies they had to practice to survive. It's a reminder that the difficulties of trying to live on low wages isn't something new to our age.