|Now that it's almost inevitable that the U.S. bankruptcy law will be
revised to involve means testing of who can and who cannot avoid debt by
going bankrupt, another issue comes to the fore. The country already has
means testing for such programs as so-called "welfare" (TANF) and will
eventually have them for social security benefits and unemployment
insurance benefits. This means that there will be unnecessary
duplication of bureaucratic rules and red tape between different
government programs. It should thus be a major priority to standardize
the rules and to centralize the bureaucracy, to rationalize programs and
to cut administrative costs.
One cost-cutting move would be to issue a special ID card to those
eligible for bankruptcy, social security benefits, etc., so that the
processing of benefit distribution can be simplified and accelerated.
This has the clear advantage of unifying the eligible class, allowing
the rationalization of the combined effects of the various programs that
they benefit from. Obviously, the ID card should use the
anti-counterfeiting technology that is currently used for the so-called
"Green Card" and the like. This system should be merged or harmonized
with the existing system of immigration control under the aegis of the
Department of Homeland Security.
Further, to make it easier for ordinary merchants and businesspeople to
make decisions about who they should or should not issue credit to, the
issuance of a special arm-band to the eligible classes should be studied
by a blue ribbon committee appointed by the President with the advice of
the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security. One
of the major benefits of this program is that it would discourage the
counterfeiting of the ID cards by attaching a social stigma to those who
are taking advantage of these programs. Further, it creates a greater
incentive for these individuals to pull themselves up by the bootstraps
to escape the eligible class.