Banking Investigate

Did Bankruptcy Reform Fail? An Empirical Study Of Consumer Debtors

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Executive Summary

Before 2005, many people went broke and many filed for bankruptcy. After 2005, many people still go broke, but not so many file for bankruptcy. Why has the number of bankruptcies declined? Surely it is not the economy. All throughout the 2000s, families have been under increasing economic pressure. Median family incomes have declined, basic expenses have risen, and families are shouldering unprecedented debt loads. Defaults remain high for credit cards and car loans, while mortgage foreclosures have soared. By 2008, over half of all Americans reported that their incomes were falling behind their cost of living.

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