Republican economy - Bankruptcy filings soaring again

Discussion in 'Politics' started by dddooo, May 15, 2006.

  1. Courts now see an average of 2,000 new filings a day -- four times the number that were filed in November 2005 after the bankruptcy law went into effect, according to Chris Lundquist, founder of Lundquist Consulting, which tracks bankruptcy trends.

    If filings continue to rise at anything like this rate -- which is not a given, but certainly a possibility -- we could see close to 1 million filings by the end of the year.

    Highest bankruptcy rates, 2005
    Rank State Households per Consumer bankruptcy filing
    1 Indiana 34.41
    2 Ohio 37.19
    3 Utah 39.52
    4 Tennessee 39.7
    5 Oklahoma 40.86
    National average 60.16

    The factors that helped feed the bankruptcy boom of the last decade are certainly still in place. Those include:

    * An enormous expansion of credit by the lending industry, including to customers with shaky repayment histories and questionable ability to repay. The amount of outstanding credit card debt was more than quadrupled since 1990, to $696.7 billion, according to

    * A large segment of the public that's financially illiterate. Only one-third of adults in a recent poll had a good understanding of basic economic and personal finance concepts, according to a Harris Interactive study prepared for the National Council on Economic Education.

    * Interest rates with no caps. Many credit cards now come with penalty rates above 30% which can be triggered by a single late payment. Overextended consumers facing those kinds of finance charges can quickly find themselves unable to keep up with payments.

    * A growing number of people who are uninsured, or underinsured, against medical bills. The Census Bureau counts 45 million uninsured, and a recent Commonwealth Fund study found 41% of moderate- to middle-income adults did not have health insurance for at least part of 2005, up from 28% in 2001. A Harvard University study found medical bills were a factor in half of consumer bankruptcies.