Some of that is probably good. A lot of it is misguided.
As Americans, we are raised on a dream. Part of Herbert Hoover’s campaign strategy for the 1928 presidential race was a promise of universal prosperity. The slogan was “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” Well, almost 100 years later, we are far, far away from Mr. Hoover’s promise, and the American Dream is much more complicated than we may have supposed in our youth.
But the dreams and misconceptions of youth still fuel our ideas about bankruptcy, debt, the harsh realities of real life.
You may recall the classic Jimmy Stewart Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life. If you’ve seen it, you’ll remember a famous scene: the main character, George Bailey, has recently been married, but as the couple is leaving town for their honeymoon, they witness a run on the bank that leaves the local “Building and Loan” in danger of collapse. The couple quell the panic by using the $2,000 for their honeymoon to satisfy the depositors’ immediate needs. In short, the banker bails out the townspeople with his own money!
As a nation, we don’t live in the mythical Bedford Falls, and Jimmy Stewart isn’t loaning any of us his personal cash to keep our lights on. Many of today’s banks are simply gargantuan. They don’t know you (except as an account number), and far from sacrificing their own money in your time of need, the banking executives are still taking multi-million dollar bonuses after the American taxpayer bailed them out to the tune of nearly a trillion dollars.
The law embraces the opportunity for the struggling debtor to start again. It’s no magic bullet–it comes with costs. But those costs are often minimal in the face of the depression, persistent poverty, and hopelessness that can come as a result of overwhelming debt without the means to repay.
This recent MSN article gives a helpful perspective on the complexities of bankruptcy in America today. I invite you to read it. Then call me and let’s talk about whether bankruptcy is right for you.
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Raleigh, NC 27661