Last April, President Bush enthusiastically signed into law the oddly-named Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act. This bill, representing the biggest overhaul of bankruptcy law in twenty-five years, was written in order to discourage “bankruptcy of convenience.” Proponents of the bill, which included the credit card industry, say that the bill is necessary in order to stop an avalanche of bankruptcy filings by drug users and compulsive shoppers and gamblers. The law makes it harder to have debts wiped away, requires credit counseling for those considering bankruptcy, and holds attorneys responsible for paperwork errors by their clients in bankruptcy cases. The net result will probably be chaos, as fewer attorneys will handle bankruptcy cases, credit counselors will raise their fees, and more consumers with problem debt will be clueless as to what they should do next. Adding to the confusion are some new statistics that suggest that a large number of bankruptcies that are thought to be personal are actually business bankruptcies. As a result, the new law may be unfairly targeting consumers for punishment when they are not actually the biggest part of the problem. Worse, it could be harming small businesses. Studies suggest that the number of business… Read full this story
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