Bankruptcy has been the answer to extremely troubling and difficult financial times for many people in America. Many individuals, for one reason or another, have found it to be the new start in life that they desperately needed. Unfortunately, bankruptcy has also served as a crutch to many as well, allowing them to relinquish debt that they were completely capable, however selfishly unwilling, to pay. As with any law, or policy, Americans are forced to accept the good with the bad, choosing which outweighs the other. In an effort to combat the increasingly growing abuse of the bankruptcy laws in our system today President George Bush has signed into law a new bill that many hope will help to alleviate much of this.
Bankruptcy laws began to surface in the United States in the early 1800’s. Initially being created to temporarily relieve bad economic conditions caused by land disputes, community panic, and then, finally, the Civil War. During this time there was little protection for the consumer that found their personal life in financial ruin. Prior to the creation of Bankruptcy laws debtors were severely punished by loss of property, or in some places imprisonment, if they were unable to repay a debt they owed. The idea of a Bankruptcy law was promising for society, however, these laws all did very little to protect the debtor and where repealed shortly after being created.
As the need increased, more bankruptcy laws were later created that would better serve to protect the public debtor whether they were individuals or business that required aide for debt relief. It was the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 that was passed in 1978 that served substantially revamp bankruptcy practices. Two major changes occurred for the bankruptcy act; the first, Chapter 11, which would prove to be a strong business reorganization Chapter, and the second, Chapter 13, which replaced the old Chapter 13 allowing individual access to a more powerful personal bankruptcy. In general, the Reform Act of 1978 made it easier for both businesses and individuals to file for bankruptcy and to reorganize their assets. Of course, this wasn’t the end for reformation concerning the bankruptcy bill. Beginning with President Bill Clinton, in the mid 1990’s, a need for reform regarding bankruptcy policies has continuously been recognized.
Current bankruptcy laws are designed to give debtors, who have found that they are no longer capable of meeting their financial obligations for one reason or another, a fresh start by relinquishing their debts, and at the same time, maintaining certain personal property assets such has a home, and in some cases, their automobile so that they can truly receive a fresh start in life. While proving to be a beneficial method of dealing with financial tragedy, Bankruptcy has proven to be a nightmare for others.
As bankruptcy filings soared for individuals in the...