Television

John Oliver Explains How Joe Biden Made Bankruptcy Worse

John Oliver sits at a glass desk in front of a sign reading bankruptcy.
Well, I declare. HBO

This week, Last Week Tonight walked its audience through America’s byzantine system of personal bankruptcy. It turns out it’s a lot more complicated than The Office led us to believe! It also turns out Joe Biden, who is currently president, made a bad situation a whole lot worse back in his Senator from MasterCard days. It’s not surprising to discover that yet another American institution is glommed up with a bunch of rickety scams targeting poor people and minorities, nor is it surprising that Democrats were shoveling cash to the rich just as quickly as anyone else, but I don’t think anyone was expecting John Oliver to do an extended impersonation of Julianne Moore at the pharmacy from Magnolia this weekend, so there is at least one surprise here, which I’ve just spoiled. Check it out!

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The real villains in this story are—well, okay, they’re the usual gang of rich ghouls who profit from everyone else’s misery. But the most enraging villains are people like Suze Orman and Kevin O’Leary, who understand exactly how the financial system works, but nevertheless encourage poor people to feel guilty about availing themselves of one of the very few options they have to escape ruinous debt. That kind of shaming and social pressure—as though anyone should care about disappointing Bank of America on a personal level!—keeps people making minimum payments for decades instead of cutting their losses and walking away. Moral bankruptcy is also a thing. Now here’s the full 21 minute video of James Blackwood, Raccoon Whisperer, feeding hot dogs to raccoons!

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