May 28th, 2008
05:03 PM ET

More Americans choosing bankruptcy


FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here's another troubling sign of the state of our economy: more Americans are choosing to file for bankruptcy, despite a 2005 law that makes it more expensive and difficult to do so.

The Washington Post reports bankruptcy filings were up 38% last year for Chapter 7 – which wipes out debt, and Chapter 13 – which reorganizes it. The reasons behind the bankruptcy filings are many, including declining incomes, rising costs, poor health insurance and job instability.

Experts say that the bankruptcy trend cuts across all walks of life – including the young and old, homeowners and renters, the poor and middle class. It used to be that bankruptcies were more likely filed by those who had sudden life changes – like a divorce or job loss. Not anymore.

Declining home values have made bankruptcies even more common... in fact, many people are filing for bankruptcy in order to save their homes. By filing for Chapter 13, owners get a foreclosure frozen and they can negotiate payments with their lenders.

Meanwhile, billionaire investor Warren Buffett is warning that the economy is already in a recession. He believes though it may not be a recession as defined by economists, the people are already feeling it. Buffet adds, "It will be deeper and longer than what many think."

A new Gallup poll seems to show that most everyone is already feeling it, with 87% of those surveyed saying the economy is getting worse and only 17% rating the economy as "excellent" or "good."

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean when more Americans are choosing bankruptcy?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Katie from Pekin, Illinois writes:
Dear Jack, Sadly, they have reached a stage where they cannot survive in this economy. With every essential increasing steadily in price, healthcare and education skyrocketing, job losses, decreases in wages and the value of homes, what are people supposed to do? Where can they turn? Our present government has done a number on middle and lower class America. And, we will be decades digging out of this hole.

Joe from San Diego writes:
I don't have a car payment. I drive a '95 Corolla. I bought a house with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. I paid off my student loans instead of going on vacation. Those who declare bankruptcy are lazy and morally bankrupt. They refuse to take responsibility for their actions.

James from Akron, Ohio writes:
We know all too well exactly what it means: Americans are quickly losing hope in their leaders. With record oil and food prices continuing on a 3-week rampage and no viable solutions anywhere in sight, we're hemorrhaging what little money we have left.

Jerry from Fayetteville, Tennessee writes:
I suspect it means there are too many predatory lenders dangling a lifestyle in front of too many people who can't resist the temptation to live beyond their means. Add that to the protection that bankruptcy offers homeowners and it's not surprising that folks feel compelled to declare bankruptcy when things get out of hand.

Ben from Florence, South Carolina writes:
High schools need to add mandatory budgeting classes. Oh wait, I forgot, the federal government needs to take the same class. What a great example to set for our nation, spend today and save tomorrow. People reap what they sow.

Posted by
Filed under: US Economy
soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. David, Orlando, FL

    Bankruptcy doesn’t seem like a choice to me. The only people who would choose to stiff their creditors are morally bankrupt too. So in my opinion they are forced to go belly up because our morally bankrupt president has driven them into an untenable position.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  2. Peter Pan Fairview, Texas

    It means that they lived beyond their means for far too long and they see no other way out of their bad habits with debt.
    They think of bankruptcy like an ejection seat but instead it becomes a rejection seat for the next 7 years. These folks need to ask themselves how it got to that point in the first place and learn from their mistakes.
    These people were the ones that did the borrowing and ran their debt up and they are the only ones to blame. Unfortunately the rest of us end up paying higher rates to offset these folks debt.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  3. Allan Hanson Cameron Park Ca.

    It means that this Administration has not only gotten us in a ego driven war, but has destroyed our economy. Gas prices are the main culprit, something King George said he could contain with his connections. Guess what they have trippled. another lie.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  4. Scott, PA

    It means that President Bush's Bankruptcy law change has not done a thing to decrease bankruptcies. They see it as their only way out of the mess that they are in. I for one know since I did file for bankruptcy a few months ago. Things are somewhat easier now. With everything being so expensive and credit card companies increasing the interest rates, what else can a person or family do when its impossible to ever be able to catch up with bills.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  5. joe m.

    it means that this country is in trouble and the government and the people need to start taking stock of the situation and take action. we can't just leave it to the politicians to solve our problems (god help us if we do), but take steps to start solving it ourselves. the people need to demand more accountability from elected officials, and at the same time start taking more responsibility for their part in causing the trouble we find ourselve in.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  6. Bert, Oak View California

    It means that the policies of the American government, which allow companies to send American jobs to other contries and other policies, which allow American employers to bypass American Workers in favor of illegal labor or A1B visa programs, really do hurt the wages and jobs of legal Americans. Both political parties are guilty on this one!

    May 28, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  7. Patricia

    I'm in so much finacial trouble,(medical bills); that I ought to declare bankruptcy. But, I just can't do it. Don't ask me why. I keep having this silly dream that I'll win the lottery & then I will pay every last person or company I owe money to.
    Palmdale, Ca.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  8. Katiec Pekin, IL

    Dear Jack,
    Sadly, they have reached a stage where they cannot survive
    in this economy.
    With every essential increasing steadily in price, healthcare,
    education skyrocketing, job loss, decrease in wages, value
    of homes what are people supposed to do? Where can
    they turn?
    Our present government has done a number on middle, lower
    class America. And, we will be decades digging out of this hole.
    Our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will carry
    the burdens of this irresponsible spending, irresponsible war,
    and mismangement by the government in the last eight years.
    Other than get the republicans out of office, I don't know what
    the answer is as they have done irrepairable damage.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  9. Ed Reed

    Instead of all those individual filings, can't they be combined like a class action suit? How about if the United States of America declares bankruptcy on behalf of us all? After seven years of Bush, we are indeed, financially as well as morally, bankrupt.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    May 28, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  10. Terry in Hanover County

    It means just like Daddy Bush, Baby Bush has failed Econ 101 where the middle class and poor are concerned. Trickle down economics works to benefit the rich and only the rich. Bankruptcy is the last option for many Americans who've lost their jobs or who have extraordinary medical expenses. It's never to be done lightly but in times of great economic woe, it may be the only choice because unlike certain large corporations and CEOs who get hand outs from the national treasury with Congress's and Bush's blessings, the middle class and poor don't count.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  11. Ray Kinserlow

    Bankruptcy isn't the haven it once was. With the new laws on credit card debt, few would benefit from declaring bankruptcy except the lawyers.

    Ray Kinserlow
    Lubbock, Texas

    May 28, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  12. Janice

    What choice do they have given the economy? We don't get our paychecks like congress and the WH when they screw up.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  13. Brenda (Texas)

    What other choices do Americans have, everything has doubled or more.... We have a leadership that failed 100% – funds are being diverted to Irac,Bush, Chaney, Dubi and their company lobbiest and interest.... No jobs, no economic growth.... Impeach George now....

    May 28, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  14. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    That lack of good regulations on credit cards and credit financing is alive and well in America, it used to be call lone sharking, now it's called giving people credit when they can't afford it.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  15. Tom - Virginia

    Jack – It means that the system is working perfectly.

    If you know anybody who has lost their home or filed for bankruptcy, please make sure that they write a thank you note to McCain's key financial advisor/lobbyist (Phil Gramm). As a US Senator from Texas, he ensured that all of the controlls on corporate greed and consumer preditory safeguards were eliminated.

    If McCain wins, Phil Gramm will be in charge of the whole economy as the new Secretary of the Treasury.

    Just imagine what they economy will look like in 4 or 8 years Phil Gramm and John McCain running things.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  16. Rosalynd Florida

    Not Choosing, they have no choice. Too many people did not see how morally bankrupt the Bush government was and did not accept that the creditors had the government in their pocket. So too many folks are now S.O.L. and filing bankruptcy is only the beginning of their troubles since Bush and the boys sided with the creditors to change the laws 2-years ago.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  17. Mwita (Los Angeles, CA)

    When you recently purchased a home for $540,000 and its value has dropped to $390,000 in less than six months with no signs of recovery, your credit cards are almost maxed out keeping you financially afloat, and your car payments are almost equal to the amount of gas your SUV uses in a month. Will you have to work past the age of retirement because of debt? In these economic times Bankruptcy is not just a last resort, it is sound financial planning.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  18. Terry from North Carolina

    We were spoiled and living beyond our means and it has caught up with us, unfortunately there are no more happy times to look forward to no matter who wins the white house. Now its survival time, food on the table, pay for your medications and some bills if you have any cash left, thats all there is. If you cant do this then file for bankruptcy.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  19. Louden in Bellevue, WA

    While the mortgage lenders did use fine print to hide behind disreputable lending practices, the people effected, were the ones who were not qualified to own the homes to begin with.

    To your question, it means these people didn't bother to read the contract, didn't seek advice or legal council and got into it on their own accord. They signed the agreements afterall !!!

    To have such a small percent of Americans with bad credit to begin with cause such havoc with the American economy is revealing of a larger problem.

    Yes the mortgage lenders and banks created a system that was not sustainable or practical, it was within the laws and regulations. Let's change those regulations and teach these corporations basic ethics and common sense.

    Let's get some public education out there for people who want to buy homes... Maybe start with high school, teaching classes on how to deal with taxes, finances and the corporate world.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  20. garrick

    Hi Jack
    no more good credit so everyone is jumoing on the band wagon to keep crediters from collecting.our country should file so we wont have to pay China.we owe it all to Bush

    May 28, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  21. Greg, PA

    Jack we are in for a world of hurt. $4 a gallon gas, foreclosures, the antichrist running for president. Brace yourself Jack you ain't seen nothing yet!

    May 28, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  22. Billy G in Las Vegas

    it means this country needs some form of universal healthcare because the statistics show that most people filing for bankruptcy are doing so because of a catastrophic health problem in their family.

    you don't see people in countries like Canada losing everything they worked for in their life just because they or one of their childern get sick.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  23. marilyn

    the lobbyists for the credit card companies were able to open the doors for usurious interest rate...

    they also lobbyed to have the bankruptcy laws changed to make it more difficult to file

    It means, as always, people can't afford to live, they are being skewered by politicians and their corporate cronies

    May 28, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  24. James in Cape Coral, FL

    It means Bush and Cheney have done their job's well. I believe a pat on the back is in order, congratulations boy's you've successfully distroyed two whole countries. Now that's making history!

    May 28, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  25. Rick Medina,OH

    What is most remarkable about the current 'stats' is the increased difficulty to file bankruptcy. It would be more relevant to know how many would have filed, had the law not been changed a few years ago.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  26. raul, from louisville ky

    because they are broke. some make money at the expense of others. the republican dream

    May 28, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  27. Don-Ocala, FL.

    For the most part it means that they have been irresponsible with their finances. Some will find themselves there through no fault of their own for legal or medical reasons and these are the people that the law was intended to help restore to a responsible, productive lifestyle. To many have gone into bankruptcy after an orgy of spending which was unfortunately made possible by greedy credit card companies which now want their obscene returns. These companies deserve the losses they must now incur. Let us all take our lumps, make our financial adjustments and get back to building our country for the next generation.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  28. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    After the Government's bailout of large corporations that went bankrupt and in some instances those companies compromised the average Americans dream, they have been left with no choice but to file bankruptcy.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  29. Chris Swansea, MA

    It means there is not enough trickleing down anymore. We need things to be like they were in the booming 90's

    May 28, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  30. mk

    The economy is verging on disaster. But, If McCain gets elected – You ain't seen nothin' yet..

    May 28, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  31. cy gardner

    What does it mean when more Sudanese choose genocide? What does it mean when more Burmese choose starvation? What does it mean when more Iraqis choose collateral damage? Maybe they didn't have much of a "choice". cy gardner arlington va

    May 28, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  32. Allen L Wenger

    It means that a lot of people are coming to the conclusion that it is not going to get better, Ever! They are giving up on our economic system. They think that the rich and poweful have all the advantages and that workers won't be getting even a piece of the pie.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  33. Chut Pata

    It simply means Dubya has bankrupted this country.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  34. Jerry -Roselle, Illinois

    Means only one thing, we need a bigger "Poor House"!

    May 28, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  35. sandy in Ohio

    It is a sad comentary on the state of the economy and of the people in this country. We have people forced from their homes and living out of cars or in tents. I can see how the next step would be bankruptcy. We may just be looking at the tip of the iceberg and the US economy is the Titanic with George as the captain. Once again. there aren't enough life rafts to save everyone.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  36. A Kraft Naples, FL

    it is a fact of life in this horrendous economy...mr bush has certainly contributed to this....big business and hedge funds have profited along with the traders who bet and raise the price of oil..who do you think that helps? you dont see any of these companies filing for bankruptcies...

    May 28, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  37. Chris Ft. Laud, Fl

    With the economy the way it is your new question is going to say "ALL Americans arec laiming bankruptcy"

    May 28, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  38. Lori in Battle Creek, MI

    It doesn't mean electing John McCain and staying in a war we can not afford. If we continue to dump money into the Iraq war all of America will be bankrupt.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  39. Scott - Wichita, Kansas

    It means they over-spent their abilities and aren't willing to take responsibility for their foolish decisions. They probably want the government to bail them out, but I'd rather my tax money go to our soldiers than to people who can't count.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  40. Mary in AL

    Being a senior citizen on a ridiculously low, fixed income, I won't have the money to hire a lawyer if things get any worse. I think you need those suckers to declare bankruptcy. Thank goodness I live within walking distance of most things I need. Medicare will present me with a wheelchair if I can't afford the gas and can no longer walk.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  41. Barbara in NC

    It probably means that Clinton/Bush gave our jobs and our country to foreigners and now we have to shame ourselves in order to continue to TRY to feed our families.

    Impeach Bush/Cheney and reject EVERY Clinton from politics for 50 years !!!!!!!

    May 28, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  42. Ryan, Va

    Well if the government continues to run trillion $ deficits are we surprised that the American people are following suite. If the US Government under the Bush administration was a pubic company regulated by the FTC they would have been forced to declare bankruptcy or been taken over by wealthy Saudi investors or the Chinese Government. Ops I forgot the latter has already happened.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  43. John in San Diego

    Jack, is this a trick question? It means more Americans are bankrupt! Thank you Bush, Cheney and friends.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  44. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    Unfortunately, recently, part of the American Dream has become to live above our means.

    In the last 20 years credit has become so easy to get that a 10-year-old can get credit. We max out all of our credit cards, suck out all of the equity from our homes every few years, and now we're in debt up to our nostrils.

    And then comes a recession, and we lose our jobs. We have no money saved, so we live on our credit cards until we find a job. Six months later, we are in worse shape than before the recession.

    We, the American people, know better. We need to stop with our excuses. Nobody put a gun to our head and forced us to apply for those credit cards.

    I went to Wal-Mart and bought a paper shredder just so I can get rid of all of those credit card applications. I suggest the rest of us do the same.

    In the meantime, bankruptcy is the right thing to do, because it makes it harder to get credit for the next 7 years. That should be enough time for us to get it right this time!

    May 28, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  45. Chuck B Coastal NC

    Sadly, this is the result of the GOP's "trickle down economy".They thinks its so grand....I quess it is,if you are someone making $250,000+ per year. The $250k people better watch out,once the GOP has there way in bleeding the poor and middle class....they are next. They will just raise there bar

    May 28, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  46. Gigi in Alabama

    To me it says that they feel like they are as low as they can go and can see no other way out. Most , but not all, people that declare bankruptcy are good honest people that just cannot see past the enormity of their debts. I would think that it is the credit card companies with their huge interest rates and late charges that put so many people behind.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  47. David A Morse, Stoneham, MA

    It means that Americans are NOT fools. With the subprime loan crisis, homes are now worth less than owed. People are just deciding to get even with the banks. Why pay more than what your home is worth? That would be stupid.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  48. Nuwan Sam

    It means that America is going bankrupt. Thank you Mr. Bush for you patriotic contribution to this nation by taking it from prosperity to bankrupcy in just 7 years. What a record.

    Nuwan from Houston, TX

    May 28, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  49. Bruce St Paul MN

    Reaganomics run amok!! After 26 years of supply-side rule (1993 and 1994 were a brief respit), exploitation has had the intended effect. The rich got richer, everyone else got left behind. The distrust of all of our traditional institutions has led to an every-man-for -himself mentality. Survive however you can. We are all vulnerable. A protracted illness or injury, the loss of a job, whatever. The rainy day has come for many of us, and there is nothing left of that rainy-day fund. Tax policies and spending policies actually do matter. One segment of our population is propped up, and the rest suffer. We need to start pushing the pendulum back in the other diirection. It's our country , too.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  50. Emily, Woodstock

    Jack, It means that people are fed up with being slaves to the federal
    reserve system. They'd rather free their minds of debt and live off the fat of the land, eat nuts and berries for a change, kind of like hippies.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  51. Joe in DE

    It's the economy, Jack.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  52. Terri - San Luis Obispo, CA


    With the loss of jobs, low wages, mortage payments going up, etc.
    I believe in most cases the people going through this ordeal are merely frightened citizens.

    They're afraid of losing their homes and possibly having to live in their cars, afraid they won't be able to feed their families, and feel this is the only way they might be able to survive the crisis.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  53. Frank, Tampa

    Jack, it means that people no longer fear the "repo" man. They know
    that he is not coming all the way from China.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  54. Greg, Hamilton Ontario

    It's true that sometimes bankruptcy is the best choice, however it should only be used as a very last choice. If Americans are using it it's because they are probably not educated in the choices they have.
    When a person files nobody wins. It follows them for at least 7 years, the bank loses any chance at a profit and usually loses money on anything that is taken for auction. They should talk to a credit councilor and get educated before they make any decisions Jack.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  55. Harry

    It means that a lot of people have zero money management skills. If we were in the throes of a severe economic downturn, I would think differently, but to be throwing in the towel, this early in the game screams "no accountability".


    May 28, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  56. Dick B

    It shows people are loyal Americans and want to follow the example set by our federal government.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  57. Rick OH

    I am a fortunate one ... one with about an 800 credit score. Until I subscribed to a service a few months ago that blocks me from unwanted solicitations for credit cards and re-fis, I was inundated with 'offers.' I can understand how folks under greater financial pressure might respond. This is an industry that begs for regulation and provides yet another reason why we need a Progressive in the White House in 2009.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  58. Erin

    those people who are fortunate enough to "choose" bankruptcy–unlike those who've exhausted all other options– do so for various reasons. It is a painful and private matter reminding us all "there but for the grace..."

    We as the collective– and under blind leadership from Washington–have allowed this country to go down the toilet and we ALL need to take part in the solution.

    Step 1 is VOTE

    May 28, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  59. Ryan, Champaign IL

    Jack, an animal caught in a trap will gnaw its own leg off to get out of it. It's a sad analogy, and I never thought I would have to apply it to the citizens of this great country.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  60. Michael, Toronto, Canada

    When John McCain (a.k. Bush) makes national security more important than the economy, then it is not surprising to see so many people want to have their security instead of having a home.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  61. Anita, Arizona

    Why don't they have classes in high school for balancing your check book or keeping your credit score high or filing your tax return or how to save for retirement? Those subject are more important than language or cooking class. Skills every person in this world needs to know. Teach them now in public school. The kids that can't afford college abolutely need these skills when they enter the work place, which is before they even graduate high school. It boggles the mind.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  62. Jerry, Fayetteville Tennessee

    I suspect it means there are too many predatory lenders dangling a lifestyle in front of too many people that can't resist the temptation to live beyond their means. Add that to the protection that bankruptcy offers homeowners and it's not surprising that folks feel compelled to declare bankruptcy when things get out of hand.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  63. Michael, Toronto, Canada

    To: Billy G in Las Vegas,

    Thank you for your observation on our health care system (which certainly makes it more affordable to have a home in Canada)!

    By the way, I have twice commented on CNN blogs on the insults that McCain has levelled against Canadians for trying to tell us that our health care system is no good.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  64. Dilibon Kojak Brooklyn, NY

    "Choosing"? What a poor choice of word! Americans have not opted for bankruptcy, evil policies of the Bush Administration pushed them to it!

    May 28, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  65. Dianne McCarthy

    Choosing bancruptcy? As opposed to what? Selling off their organs to pay the finance charges?

    Yes, some people are irresponsible when it comes to money, but still others have catastrophic events. Either way that's what government is for, to protect the people from predatory lenders and to protect them from themselves. Oops, forgot about all that deregulation and the bankruptcy changes. Government's new function is to protect and serve....businesses.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  66. Tom, Ft Lauderdale


    Does anyone out there really beleive the economy is growing, the war in Iraq is won and American markets are secure . Or there is no global warming and the dollar is strong. I don't know about you but I'm counting the days until the greatest imposter leaves the White house

    May 28, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  67. James from TN

    Jack you said it best "It's getting ugly out there". People loosing jobs, homes, even people who rent homes can't find a reasonable priced rental home. they pay just as much in rent as they would buying a home. Let alone gas, food and everyday expensive have more than doubled. The only thing that hasnn't increased is workers paychecks. We just simply can't afford it anymore. The only ones actually not struggling are millioniares and billionaires but their not the ones that keep the econmoy going it's the everyday average joe that goes to work everyday that run the country but yet they pay the most to live. Something is wrong with that picture.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  68. spencer

    That the government has totally screwed up with the Bush Administration....

    May 28, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  69. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    It means the average Joe out there has taken a play out of Corporate America's play book and decided the laws are for him too, even though King Bush tried to give American's the shaft with his bogus bankruptcy scheme. The sole intention of that ugly piece of so-called legislation was to protect his banker buddies. Corporations file bankruptcy all the time so they can avoid their debt responsibilities and get out of paying retirement to employees. What's good for the Goose is good for the Gander.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  70. Bill,Al.

    It means the cost of living has exceeded our incomes,Jack ,and the only option is to loose everything you have and start over trying to make your income fit a new living status or profile. America is in big trouble....trouble we haven't seen since the depression, I'm afraid.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  71. Ralph in New York

    Jack, it means that more of our citizens are more pessismistic about our economy and believe declaring bankruptcy is the only way to survive.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  72. Tony,.......Lou, Ky.

    It means more corrupt banks and loan institutions will be bailed out by our govt, while our citizens keep making stupid decisions to sign for loans they cant afford!


    May 28, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  73. Jason D

    I love the idiots that condemn Americans for spending large – what exactly do you think keeps YOUR business goint – that's right genious, consumer spending!!!!

    In an economy the lives on consumer spending it good for us all to spend all we can – some will fall occasionally and that's ok....

    May 28, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  74. Aaron B.; Champaign, IL

    The economy has been in a recession for quite a few months now, so I'm curious as to why this is still even a debate. Why don't politicians listen anymore? If gas prices are high, we're losing our homes, losing our jobs, and filing for bankruptcy... if that doesn't spell recession and serve as the impetus for a change in the political climate, I don't know what will.

    May 28, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  75. Cliff

    That Bush needs to change the laws again fast before his rich friends are affected by it.
    Cliff, Ky.

    May 28, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  76. Esther Cuyahoga Falls Ohio

    maybe the government can also file for bankruptcy too. lets sell off our military and sell off the star wars system off.
    see what we get for the supreme court deciding who are president was in 2000. no representation no taxes QUIT YOUR JOBS NOW

    May 28, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  77. Marty, Idaho

    It shows that regardless of the Bush administration's rosy outlook from way on top of capitol hill, the masses below have dark clouds overhead and it is raining financial hardship.

    May 28, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  78. J Monney, Winston, NC

    Means more Americans are bankrupt duh!

    May 28, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  79. mitch martin arkansaw

    nobody 'chooses' bankruptcy.it is the only remaining option.

    May 28, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  80. John from Davie, FL

    It means that Americans have to stop living beyond their means. Anyone want a Honda Pilot SUV? I need the money to pay for my mortgage and utilities!

    May 28, 2008 at 5:01 pm |
  81. Marilyn

    Jack: This is so sad to see our fellow Americans having so much trouble. It is very depressing when we all drive up to the gas pumps; buying food for our families; trying to pay for higher electric and gas bills. When we arrive at work...we don't know for sure if we will have a job. I can go on and on about this subject. I don't think people are throwing in the towel and giving up to early. People are scared.


    May 28, 2008 at 5:03 pm |
  82. Lynette Setzkorn, Tulsa, OK

    It means that the house of cards we've built is coming down and there's no stopping it. We are a debtor nation operated on the right wing myth of trickle down economics. The only thing that's trickled down to the working people is debt and financial disaster.

    Nice that Congress approved a more restrictive bankruptcy bill a years or two ago. Wasn't that prescient?

    May 28, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  83. Ralph, Long Island, NY

    It means we're in a lot more trouble than our present government is and has been telling us. Every economic indicator seems to indicate that it will get worse before it starts, not gets, but starts to get better.

    This administration has nurtured and provided for the wealthy and big business. I'm sure Bush and Cheney will do far better than the Clinton's 100+ million haul in their post White House years.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  84. Ralph - Michigan

    What it means is that many of us are living beyond our means, being sold on what we should do, own, look like etc., based on what we see on the idiot box. When we used to make a commitment we stuck to it good or bad. We no longer prescribe to that theory. It is now, we will stick with you until it becomes uncomfortable to continue. If I was a mortgage loan officer I would look for new work. There is no reason for people to stick it out. So what if their credit is bad, they will rent and when the rent gets too high, they will sneak out in the dead of night. Cynical? Yes, Off the mark? Not too far.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  85. Vince Carson City, Nevada


    1932, deja vu.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  86. Martin from Nebraska

    While there are some people who are screwed by predator loan companies, we have to remember what our parents taught us, "Never bite off more than you can chew." And that's true when it comes to home loans.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  87. Mark C

    The most commonly cited factor behind bankruptcies is ruinous medical bills. Most Americans want to pay their bills, but our Health Insurance system is down right cruel. People in France spend half as much (per capita) and have a much better system. They don’t have to worry about staggering medical bills (their health system is largely free for people chronic illness, try getting or keeping your health insurance here if you get cancer or another serious illness). How can the French spend so little compared to us and have such a vastly superior system? (number 1 in the world!)

    May 28, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
  88. Tim

    It means that people have elected to use the bankruptcy system to excuse them from debts they cannot pay. The bottom line is that people do not plan for economic slowdowns. They look for instant gratification today. My wife has a friend that have purchased their kids all the latest video systems Wii, Playstation, ect. In the same breadth her husband tells me at a get together that they are two payments behind in thier house payment. People need to get their priorities back in order. I am thinking of going back to school sometime before I retire to get my CFP certification (Certified Financial Planner). There seems to be no shortage of stupid people out there when it comes to financial matters.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
  89. Raymond Duke/Gatesville,Tx.

    It means that this economy is bad. If you can't get a good paying decent job why re-negoiate and throw away what money you have on something you can't afford.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  90. Melissa B

    I filed Bankruptcy 6 years ago. It was not that bad. It was rough the 1st 6 months, but after that I was able to get a credit card again and I was approved for a new home 18 months later. The fact of the matter is will you be able to pay off your debt in this lifetime with 29% interest rates on every card? Heck no!!! So BK was the best answer for me and blessing in disguise. I am so grateful for 2nd chances. I used mine. It looks like others are going to cash in their 2nd chance chip also.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  91. Bob In Oregon

    It is too easy for deadbeat morons to claim that Bush, the federal government, or al-Queda caused their financial problems. I work hard and pay my bills on time each month, and all I have to show for that is deadbeat idiots getting my 'taxes' back as a rebate and pleas to be rescued from homes they had no business occupying in the first place.

    Guess I missed the boat – it really does pay in this country to be a deadbeat!

    May 28, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  92. JimmyWalker, Spocane Washington

    Why not freeze the rate that property owners are paying and let the banks take a lost. The property owners can make the mortgage payments but if the ARM increases than its a problem. Also, reduce the property tax quicker so owners do not have to pay so high an increase during the housing boom.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  93. Sherri Moury

    The climate of "put it on my account" or "charge it" along with the highly entertaining credit card ads and commercials lumped together with the increasingly hedonistic "entertainment generation" only brings to mind the fun and fabulous Roaring 20's and it's devastating after effect...the Depression. At the same time, we resort to 401K's and IRA's for our baby boomer retirement plans. Our Social Security will be gone and God help us, maybe our investments.

    Be afraid, be very afraid. Sherri Moury, Oceanside, CA

    May 28, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  94. Michael

    I can not believe the stupidity at a majority of the responses.

    It is not being morally bankrupt or that people want to skip out of their debt or stiff anyone. Some were led down the primrose path hoping to make money on a house that they could not afford. Get a loan, get into a house, refi the house or sell it and take the money and then get into a house you can afford.

    Then the day came where the economy stopped. When that happened people found out that they were unemployed and could no longer afford to keep a roof over their heads, the lights on and food on the table.

    Unfortunately we are at a turning point. Gas has balloned, layoffs are happening and the prospects for quick reemployment has gone.

    So desperate times call for desperate measures. Are we happy to be in this place? No! But do I want to keep my house, which as we all know is the single biggest investment we have. Will I fight to the death for it? Hell yes.

    Think about it and it is the right path. Think about this too what they will go through for the next ten years of their lives. Credit will be impossible, jobs harder to get because of it. It is not an action to be taken lightly but a action that is a last resort.

    Anyone who thinks less makes me wonder.

    It is the economy folks.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  95. Claude A. Fountain

    Writing from Dalton, PA.

    (My second attempt to enter this comment)

    Punnish the democratic party officials who scheduled the "illegal" primary dates, but not the voters, who had no say in when the parties involved set the primary election dates.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  96. Mary

    Not at all unless you plan to vote republican. If you plan to vote republican then you are already CRAZY so the book won't matter.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  97. Vig

    The morons who created this quagmire should prostrate themselves before the voters of Michigan and Florida and spew mea culpa's all day long. The only resolution: recind the punishment and seat all the delegates to make Michigan and Florida whole.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  98. Chicago Bob from Illinois

    It means that many people were living beyond their means with the assumption that the economy would always be getting better. They were wrong. The prime mortgage market was a pyramid scheme that collapsed. The war was an enormous blunder. The dollar caved in and food and oil went through the roof.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  99. Julia, Newton NJ

    Jack, my best friend's mother just had to file for bankruptcy. It breaks my heart that I can't do anything to help.
    I think it means that the state of our economy needs to improve. NOW.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  100. Bill in New London, CT

    It means people thought they were going to be okay and then the rug got pulled out from under them. This is looking all too familiar. Think twenties, stocks on the margin, borrowing to make a quick million, risk, risk, risk. Can't we see it on the horizon? I'm not worried about the recession; if things keep heading this way, we'll be talking about depression. What happens when a gallon of gas costs more than the minimum wage? What happens when people can't afford to drive anymore and have to chose between driving to work and unemployment or welfare? We're heading for a nasty fall if we keep going in this same direction.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  101. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    It means that a lot of people tried to pull a fast one and make a quick buck but got burned – badly. It also means that a lot of people just got burned for being in the wrong country during the wrong couple of election cycles. I can only hope that all of the former are Bush supporters – revenge is so sweet.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  102. Josh Askew (Pearl Harbor, Hawaii)

    For most it means they are learning a painful lesson in personal responsibility. That may sound harsh, but buying a house with a variable rate that you can barely afford... should we reward this behavior?

    May 28, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  103. Daryl Pullen

    Lets lay the blame where it mostly belongs. Corporate whore George Bush along with the help of Congress...both Republicans and Democrats who have sold the American people out.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  104. Ken

    I'd like to commend the American public for having zero planning ability. Buying new cars like they're going out of style (heavily financed). Buying homes at the height of the bubble (even more heavily financed). Not investing in their own education and job training. Congratulations on bankrupting yourself, lowering your net worth, & own standard of living. The lack of accountability shown in this thread alone is amazing. The level of poor decision making made by Joe Public is downright atrocious.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  105. Q from The Lou

    I don't have any statistics, but I've gotta believe that the huge increase in BKs in this country is due to the fact that BK laws do protect a person's home from foreclosure. It's become the Plan B of choice for families that are still looking to buy time to either sell the home or possibly work something out with their lenders.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  106. Darlene - Philadelphia, PA.

    Well since hillary and mccain voted for the new bankruptcy laws (which Obama didn't using his typical sound judgement) going bankrupt will not help people anymore. It is sad. Sadder that these so called two experienced senators mccain and hillary, didn't care about americans when they approved the law.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  107. Eddie

    As I read these responses I see a lot of blame and finger pointing, but no admission to fault. I guess that's the American way today, blame everyone else except ourselves. It was the government, the banks, the mortgage brokers; but it definitely wasn't my fault.

    What a joke!

    May 28, 2008 at 5:25 pm |
  108. Jacqui

    Filing bankruptcy is too expensive for people who have lost everything, and face homelessness; increases in bankruptcy filings are an indication that people with assets like homes and cars and jobs and retirement accounts have decided to shed their debt and have found lawyers willing to help them do it.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  109. Dave P

    I thought for years I was doing something wrong, most of my peers were doing things that seemed way beyond my financial means. It took a while to figure out that it was because they learned about easy credit. I hope that society has the capacity and compassion to aid those relatively few that are facing financial disaster today because of major health problems, loss of the principle bread winner ETC. However, it is unfortunate that bankruptcy is an option for the rest of those in financial trouble, someone else will have to pay for their foolishness.

    Every day I read or hear about people who in some combination purchased more home then they could afford, are upside down in expensive cars, took out student loans totaling many times their annual salary and can’t tell you one thing they own or enjoyed to account for the thousands of dollars in credit card debt they owe. If your facing financial disaster don’t blame the President, off-shore jobs, or illegal aliens for your problems; find a mirror and point straight at it.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  110. Chris

    We can blame the state of our economy or the irresponsible choices that we have made, but the true blame lies with our elected officials and the credit card companies. How many people were financially burdened when the law changed to double your monthly payments on credit cards? $400 a month now was $800, and then the price of gas and food started skyrocketing. Don't forget if you are 2 hours late on a payment your 12% interest just went to 30%. I suppose that is really helping the situation, and the credit card companies don't care. Loan Sharks is what they are now!!!!

    May 28, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  111. Josh P.(Minneapolis, MN)

    I am suprised that the connection between the war and the state of the economy is not being made more often. When a country spends billions of dollars every month on a war, that money has to come from somewhere.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  112. Dan, Webster NY

    Hey Jack,
    If the lending institutions, and I mean the people that actually write the loans, were required to hold the notes until maturity, a lot more attention would have been given to the mortgages themselves and much more scrutiny of the applicants. But nooo, hand out mortgages to everyone. Bundle them up and sell them to someone else. Wash your hands and go on your way. When the collapse comes all you see is a dust cloud rising behind you. Blind eyes turned all around and the poor sucker at the end of the line goes bankrupt. He deserves it for making that kind of deal. The others deserve prison for dupping these people. All the safeguards were removed by the Bush administration, so as Dick Cheney might say, "It's open season Boys....."

    May 28, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  113. Clement Franco

    Choosing bankruptcy most often, at least in principal, is a desperate attempt to start over again when one is at the end of the rope. One can start over again, but there is no clean slate. The stigma carries over.

    Clem, New York

    May 28, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  114. Bill from New Mexico


    It might be an indication that the Cheny/Bush regime has been quite successful at making sure the rich get the gold mine and the rest of us get the shaft.


    May 28, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  115. Graham

    It means that either their vanity or just plain irresponsibility led them to adopt a lifestyle they couldn't afford. Bankruptcy doesn't happen overnight, it happens over a period of time. And anybody who was smart enough to recognize that things aren't working out, whatever they may be, would have the sense to change their situation. But I understand that these people are also the ones who weren't smart enough to live within their means in the first place. I'm sorry, Jack, but bankruptcy, to me, means nothing other than a continued lack of personal accountability for the choices someone makes.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  116. Mary Lou Grassel

    John, did it ever dawn on you this whole mess is our Governor's fault? Try placing the blame where it belongs. We voted for Hillary Clinton and she should get our votes....Period.

    She is smarter than the other candidates and should be President. She has been by her husband's side and is the smartest and strongest of the two.

    Quit being a republican and use your brains. She deserves to win.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  117. Barb from Union City, Mich

    If the US was a private business, wouldn't it be filing for bankruptccy too? I think our government is setting a perfect example. We can't afford to be fighting a war in the Middle East or be supportng illegals who come to this country to utilize the benefits that are supposed to be available only to it's citizens. No one seems to be to upset about those situations (except Lou, of course.)

    May 28, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  118. Mike M, Indiana

    Since 2001 a majority of people have had incomes that have not kept up with inflation. On the other hand marketers have been raising their expectations by building larger houses, larger automobiles, more restaurant eating etc.
    Many fell victim to social expectations, ran up credit card debt, folded the credit card debt into higher mortgages then ran up more credit card debt. With the housing/mortgage crash, they have run out of options. With no savings, only debt and falling incomes they are bankrupt.
    With the median income not keeping up with inflation and spending continuing to rise for the last seven years, no thoughtful person should be surprised.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  119. Jose Roberto Carvalho

    Easy way out. If 10 people that I know is banckrupted it is very bad image issue. If 100 people that I Know is backrupted... it is ok, so I can be too. I will sleep better knowing that I'm a victim of the current system then a failure. Miami, Florida

    May 28, 2008 at 5:42 pm |
  120. diane

    Everyone that voted for Bush should be very proud; you are getting what you asked for so don't complained. For the Democrats; it now our chance to turned things around and vote for someone who are going to represent all of the American people not just the wealthy Americans. If you are one of those that are filing for bankruptcy I hope you didn't vote Republican because if you did you get what you deserve. The war in Iraq is draining our economy and our children and grandchildren will pay dearly if we don't make a change. I can't possible see McCain as our President or our economy will really head for a great depression instead of a recession. I for one didn't live through the depression era but I do know that the recession we are going through as Americans will continue to get worst unless we end the war in Iraq.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:44 pm |
  121. Alan from San Angelo, TX

    People choose bankruptcy like they choose to be Dick Cheney's hunting partner. Republicans passed and George Bush gleefully signed a bankruptcy bill the summer of 2005. That legislation and lender greed produced today's difficult financial environment for so many people.

    Dow Chemical announced price increases up to 20% today. Wait until raw material inflation makes it through the huge boa constrictor known as the U.S. economy. How many more will be financially squeezed?

    May 28, 2008 at 5:44 pm |
  122. Mark, Oklahoma City

    Jack, it means we are digging deeper and deeper financial holes for ourselves just to survive. One unplanned medical expense or a job loss will put most of us in a situation that we just can never dig our way out of financially. Filing bankruptcy now is like shooting a lame horse. Nobody wants to do it, but sometimes you just have to.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  123. Lori, Ohio

    Think about it-when a person files bankrupcy the companies they owe lose money. That's credit card companies,banks, mortgage companies, doctors, hospitals, any company that someone can owe money.
    Those companies do not like losing money-so they will now find new ways to make up that loss through their paying customers.
    They will raise prices, add new charges for services, hidden fees, on and on and on.
    We people who pay their bills on time and don't take the easy way out, will pay for it-whether we want to or not.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:48 pm |
  124. Independent Voter- Ocala Fla

    I guess Bush will never have this worry..

    May 28, 2008 at 5:51 pm |
  125. Herb Siegel

    American's have no choice but to look to their costitutional right to a second chance, that is, bankruptcy. The law may have changed to accede to granting the consumer credit card companies rights equivalent to income tax labilities (the only creditor class to enjoy such prioirty of claim on an estate of a consumer –not so for commerical bankrutcies), but consumers who find their mortgages under water and were likely to personally guarantee a shortfall so lender could make them more salable to third parties, have no alternative to throwing themselves upon a court of equity (as opposed to a court of academic law), in the hope of getting their constitutionally guaranteed second chance. Their faith in the bankruptcy courts are greater than the elected (Republican) legislature that threw them to the wolves for politcal contributions.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:53 pm |
  126. James Goodman

    Why are so many indignant when individuals file for bankruptsy, when businesses do it at the drop of a hat. It is the only way out for many whom get hit with a layoff due to downsizing (or age discrimination). Or what about a serious disease? I had cancer and would have had a tab of over $200,000. I hope the next person who goes on a rant about irresponsibility has a litte kharma in their lives...

    May 28, 2008 at 5:53 pm |
  127. John, Florida

    How ironic – every one is blaming the Government for people spending money that they did not have in the first place. Is the Government innocent, no, it is not. Is George all to blame – no, the House and Senate is running by Democrats. The Democrats just passed a bill for the farmers. Why are we still paying for farmers to let their land sit idle, why not use that to plant products for Ethanol?

    It is time that Americans take responsibility for things that they themselves are responsible for. I do not remember seeing a gun pointed to my head when I signed for the loan on my house, for the amount that I knew I could afford. I was originally told that I could qualify for a house that is three times what I purchased, but being responsible, I elected to purchase one that I knew I could afford. I did not buy my house with the idea of refinancing in a year to take the equity out (and it almost doubled in value in a year). I also took the stance several years ago, that I did not purchase anything other than my house, and a simple car (paid off in three years) for my wife on credit. If we do not have the cash, we do not need it. Remarkably we live a comfortable life.

    Those that were spending 110% of their income (this was as far back as 12 to 18 months ago), helped drives us in to this economical position. As far as gas and energy goes, the tree huggers have been of no help. They do not want any kind of building to take place. Do not build that Nuclear plant!!! Well, two options – you want to cut back on Carbon Dioxide, one alternative is Nuclear power – but oh no, do not do that.

    Well America – You can not eat your cake and have it to. We need to stand up and take our share of the blame.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:56 pm |
  128. Meredyth ( Massachusetts)

    What does it mean?
    UP that famous creek without a paddle.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:58 pm |
  129. Don , Missouri

    I totally amazes me that people can make so much money and still not have enough. It is easy to live on minium wage and enjoy your life and pretty much do anything you want to do, yet people making 10 or 20 times that much seem to spend more than they make and in turn finally have to go bankrupt. I guess they are looking to the furture and it didn't meet their expectations.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:00 pm |
  130. Roland, American living abroad


    Apparently you are having a senior moment because John McCain has assured us that the the average American is doing better over the past eight years of the Bush debacle.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:00 pm |
  131. Paul Verner

    Jack – yesterday I tried to call Exxon Mobile to dispute a closed account where I am charged $167.00 in interest on an account which I msitakenly did not close poroperly by paying the last payment of $15.00 last December. I was told by customer service that my last payment had not cleared. I was then transferred to the collection department to "resolve the issue" where I remained on hold over 1/2 hour – THREE TIMES IN A ROW!!!!!! So I guess next month they will send me another bill for $197.00

    The problem is two fold – we Americans have grown insanely accustomed to mortgaging our futures by using high interest plastic credit. And the big card and retail companies just facilitate the psychosis and/or place obstacles in front of us who try to stop the insanity.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:00 pm |
  132. Denny, Midland, Tx

    Why not choose bankruptcy the country is heading that way. We need some direction.If you think you want 4 more years of the same vote for MCain. As for me I going to write in Jesus. I am convienced he is the only one that can straighten the mess out!

    May 28, 2008 at 6:02 pm |
  133. James, Akron, OH

    We know all too well exactly what it means: Americans are quickly losing hope in their leaders. With record oil and food prices continuing on a 3-week rampage and no viable solutions anywhere in sight, we're hemorrhaging what little money we have left.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:02 pm |
  134. Paul Verner from Texas

    Sorry – my conclusion ..... of course there are record bankjruptcy filings!!!!

    May 28, 2008 at 6:03 pm |
  135. Daniel

    It means Americans continue on the path to socialism, wanting big government to take care of them and bail them out when they get themselves in a bad situation. Hopefully the new President will give us free and terrible health care to destroy yet another advantage Americans have always had.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:04 pm |
  136. Joe, San Diego

    I don't have a car payment. I drive a '95 Corolla. I bought a house with a 30 year fixed rate mortgage. I paid off my student loans instead of going on vacation.

    Those who declare bankruptcy are lazy and morally bankrupt. They refuse to take responsibility for their actions.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:07 pm |
  137. Ron Feuer

    Jack bankruptcy as a choice of Americans proves only one thing. More Americans do not want to pay taxes to a country that has defaulted on its populace.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:09 pm |
  138. don in naples, florida

    I can't believe we are even discussing this considering how fiscally irresponsible the bush administration has been. He and the political leadership hasn't necessarily been a beacon of financial stability. The cumulative summation of bush's two term presidency= huge debt. Fortunately for bush he can trickle government debt onto the working class. Unfortunately for the working class, the only thing we can do is declare bankruptcy. Maybe politicians should spend a little less time spinning meager economic truths about the state of an economy and more time doing what is right. Balance a budget; stop deficit spending (even though that is what we've done for years and people think its right); and stop blaming the poor for the state of economy. Bankruptcy was an ultimate reality check to an administration whose rose colored view of the past eight years has proven to be just as absurd as the false reasoning for entering the iraq war.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  139. David

    Bravo! It means this. Stop blaming others and point the finger at "YOU" if you are one of the many people in this country who voted Republican in the last 2 Presidential elections. Thank you all who voted for Mr. Bush, not once, but twice!! It was your vote that gave this President the power to make changes to the Bankrupcy laws, war, economy, and on and on and on. Bush needs to be impeached!! I say its not too late to right a wrong. Start fixing this country by not voting Republican again in November. Start demanding action of our government. Remember, we have a voice to be heard...not just at election time but always!

    May 28, 2008 at 6:13 pm |
  140. Alice, Virginia

    It means the economy is suffering because of this war and people think filing bankruptcy is going to solve their problems. The only way to solve our problems is to vote for a Democrat.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  141. Esther Cuyahoga Falls Ohio

    means america itself should file bankruptcy

    May 28, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  142. Akash from San Diego

    It means Jack Cafferty needs to run for president.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  143. Matt

    It means that Al Gore should have been elected president.

    St. Augustine, Fl.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  144. Darnell B.

    Well Jack, it means when I graduate from college, I might continue to live on campus.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  145. Bruce

    People are filing bankruptcy because they're being pushed to the wall economically. For years housing prices were sky-high, and mortgages matched those prices. Now, with recession setting in people are increasingly unable to pay their bills. It is a travesty that in the richest country in the world, so many people have to go bankrupt in order to survive financially.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  146. Randy Smith

    It means that hope is fading and the light at the end of the tunnel is gone. I should know, I'm a real estate broker.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  147. Robby

    I filed for bankruptcy 3 years ago. My liver & kidney started to fail and my health insurance, which I had through my college, barely paid for anything. In the end, after my insurance paid what they thought they should pay, I still owed $120,000. So why dosent someone in here tell me why I am immoral because the healthcare and insurance industries are the biggest crooks! I did everything I was supposed to do, but still ended having to file for bankruptcy.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  148. Jonathan Holden

    I think the uprising in bankruptcy filing is not only dealing a hefty blow to the already damaged economy, but I also believe that too many people are taking advantage of the system that we once used correctly. People need to get their lives together and the government needs to make stricter policies regarding this issue.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  149. William

    To many people are simply living beyond their means. Using bankruptcy as a way to try to avoid re-paying what they borrowed and are choosing not to repay. Instead of stepping up, selling what they can, altering their lifestyle, and possible taking on another job. Savings are there to help carry you through low times. But that concept is entirely out the window these days.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  150. Judith Polage

    It means Hillary needs to run as an indepndant if denied the Democratic nomination. Every woman , man and child needs desperately what she can bring to our current situation.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  151. James Cornett

    To me it means that our leadership and congress has pulled the whole country to cause everything that is happening today.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  152. Amy from Alexandria VA

    It means that the companies people are in debt to are making bankruptcy the only viable option for their victims. Companies add on late fees, and do other accounting voodoo to put the squeeze on. They'd probably break our kneecaps if it wouldn't mean outrageous medical bills that would be even more overwhelming. I don't hear about any of these companies going bankrupt. If they're profiting while their "customers" are going down the tubes, that says a lot about what laws enacted by Republicans do for the average American.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  153. B in Texas

    As someone who used to be in the financial industry, I would say that people are basically using the only real loophole that is still available to them to keep their homes. You have your major airline and commercial companies either merging or filing as well. Small businesses do it. In the end gas prices are causing every facet of life to be constricted in some way. So Chapter 13 becomes the only kind of way for homeowners to stay in their homes and hold-on to some kind of peace.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  154. Maggie

    As a relatively recently retired bankruptcy paralegal I know that people only file a chapter 13 if they have something they are trying to save – like a home or other secured entity. Filing chapter 13 is a well thought out and planned final act of desparation because the mortgage must be paid, and the arrearages paid over a period of time, or the property will be sold by the secured creditor.

    No one files bankruptcy as a lark – contrary to what the credit card companies tell the public.

    People are losing their jobs, not able to save money or afford health care, high transportation charges and they make their mortgage payments.

    Things are a mess!

    May 28, 2008 at 6:33 pm |

    Why are more Americans choosing bankruptcy? What a strange question. Are they really "choosing" bankruptcy? I think not. I think it is a desperate solution to a unresolvable problem in 9 out of 10 cases. That they are filing Chapter 7 or 13 means they will have ruined their credit for the next 10 years, they won't be able to get credit or credit cards, they probably won't have any disposal income and they will have a tough time finding a rental if they have lost their homes, and a tougher time receiving good health care if they are uninsured.

    It's a lose-lose situation for everyone.

    Pigeon Forge, TN

    May 28, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  156. Jacqueline

    It mean the rich is getting richer and the poor is getting poorer.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  157. Kristen

    It means the folks in Washington need to wake up and do something because that stupid tax rebate has not and will not do a thing. What is $600 to someone who can’t afford their mortgage? But you cant tell them anything because they know it all. Jack can you pose this question to Obama, McCain, Bush and all those who thought they were going to help out Americans with these dumb rebates?

    May 28, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  158. Jamal Sacramento, California

    What it means is the gap between the middle class and the super rich is growing and growing. Spending money we don't have on a war is only making our dollar weaker. Gas prices jumping around 200% since our oil man president was "placed" into office, not elected. Our presidents continuous support of exporting American jobs onto foriegn soil for the benifit of big business profit. Is everyone so blind to see that this is exactly what Bush wants? He wants the poor to be poorer and the rich richer. Money is power, and if his people have the money they will continue to stay in power make the rules to create the world Bush wants to make. And it means that we are in a recession which our beloved president says we are not in.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  159. Tomasz

    Hello and peace:

    Well the speculators made money and the rest of us have to suffer. This model of capitalism fundimentally allows such things to go on, its called Lesefarre(Not sure how to spell it), where in the government doesn't interfere with the goings on in the financial world. It's illogical and not based in what the idea of checks and balances, supposedly what America is based in, is all about. The three branches of governemt are there so that the greed of each one stifles the other, who is there to stifle the greed of the financial institutions?

    May 28, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  160. Jesse Hayes

    The rise in bankruptcies has more to do with a falling morality than a falling economy. Too many people do not keep their word. Too many people are short sighted and fail to manage their finances. Too many people are living beyond their means.

    The Holy Bible teaches believers to give, save and invest wisely. It teaches believers to be the lender and not the borrower. For a nation that professes to be largely made up of Jewdaeo-Christian values, too many are being obidient. Disobidience comes with a price.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:35 pm |
  161. Jona

    It means that pretty soon UNICEF and RED CROSS will no longer fight "world hunger " in Africa but in United States of America.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  162. Bill Lottero


    Please keep in mind that 50% of all bankruptcies are driven by inadequate medical insurance. It is reasonable to expect that as uninsurance and underinsurance increases so will bankrupsie filings.
    In the mix of all the bad economic news, lower purchase power of the dollar, increasing energy etc it is not surprising that bankruptcies would increase.

    This administration has played ostrich to so many sectors needing reform–particularly health reform– we can only expect such bad news to continue.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  163. Kevin

    Jack, unfortunately it means that you are losing in the game of "Life." Choosing bankruptcy just destroys ones credit, that could be needed in an emergency situation. Where is my stimulus check?

    Warren, MI

    May 28, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  164. Mike N. Calif.

    Jack It means that many greedy people who got themselves into mortgage problems are now paying thier "Karmic Debt". It also means the American people should make sure that Bush/Cheney are held accountable for destroying this country. They too must pay! Look what happened to Ken Lay of Enron. This is no longer "The Land Of The Free"..... It's "The Land Of The Free-For-All"

    May 28, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  165. Jerry Wenatchee Wa

    This is just another result of The Bush policies that have failed many Americans. Think about if all the money spent in Iraq was dumped in our economy . The war before long will touch one trillion dollars. With oil out of control and the dollar sinking ever and ever, it's just a matter of time before America has to file bankruptcy. Thank You Mr. Bush

    May 28, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  166. Long Beach Dave

    Not sure why everyone seems so surprised our government has let this happen. it just goes to show that choosing your political candidates based on party affiliation and not common sense is a recipe for disaster. When you vote in a president who has bankrupted or destroyed everything he has ever touched now and in the past you shouldn’t be surprised by the outcome.

    Even worse, I don’t think America has learned from its mistakes and will make the same one yet again this election.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  167. Susan, Manteca - CA

    How about the cliché, and I just laugh at this one. “The chickens have come home to roost”. Or, if that cliché’ is to rich for some of your viewers, how about this one; “we can dish it out, but we can’t take it. No apologies here Jack, someone needed to say it. Thanks for the question.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:40 pm |
  168. R. Stapleton, Midwest City, OK

    It means that more and more people believe that things will just get worse over time and of course, they're right, because there's really no one in power who is on the side of the average American. Heaven help us if the same Greedy Old Party gets in there again and continues on where Corporate-sycophant-Bush leaves off.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:40 pm |
  169. A Patel

    I am not surprised by this numbers. We have become a consumer nation on borrowed money from others, whether it is our government or people. The wealth creation has primarily been based on pumping money to raise consumption in the last 20 plus years. Easy money created internet bubble in late nineties and real-estate bubble recently. The easy money excesses have caught up with people and we all are paying price for our government's borrowing excesses in terms of high prices all over the place with no end in sight to relent. More people will be pushed into bankrupcies with out of control price rises in the near future. The real inflation feels much higher to me than the numbers published!!

    May 28, 2008 at 6:40 pm |
  170. Jack

    While bankrupcy in the past may have applied to those with life changes, today most have gone bankrupt due to their need to live beyond their means.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:40 pm |
  171. Buddy from the LOU (St.Louis)

    Our government says "oversea nations like Iran, Iraq and china are a threat to our national security". I object!! It’s oil companies and their record profits, it Credit card companies and their record profits, Multinational companies sending our jobs overseas and their record profits. NO JOB, NO MONEY, NO CREDIT Hell I think I’ll file bankruptcy.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:41 pm |