The B Word

Guest Post by Bankruptcy Attorney David Axinn, serving Pennsylvania

No, not that word. Bankruptcy. For many people, a scary word, one that conjures up images of failure, disgrace and dishonor.

I’ll start with the honor role. Some famous examples are Francis Bacon, Wayne Newton, Walt Disney, Presidents Lincoln, Grant, Truman and Jefferson. Corporations have included General Motors, and Exxon.

Some recent examples are Dionne Warwick and Casey Anthony.

Anyone filing a bankruptcy petition is in good company.

Getting relief from debts is a time honored tradition. It is in the United States Constitution Article I, §8: “The Congress shall have power … To establish … uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States.”

The Bible also mentions a form of bankruptcy: “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release. And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release what he has lent to his neighbor, his brother, because the Lord’s release has been proclaimed” Deuteronomy 15:1-2

The current Bankruptcy Code was the product of years of lobbying by banks and credit card companies. Congress, exercising its constitutional powers, drew a line, known as the means test, that affects who is eligible for a discharge, and what they must do to obtain it. Those debtors who are eligible for relief from debt are acting in a lawful manner, and should not be ashamed or reluctant to take advantage of the law.

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