May 26, 2009

Intellectual Bankruptcy: There's much to find disreputable about the analysis contained here and here (obviously, taking a "blame the bitch" attitude is almost always the wrong tactic when trying to understand why people have been unable to make sub-prime mortgage payments, much less claiming that a bankruptcy filed when the spouse was married to another is "material information" that needs to be disclosed when discussing one's personal debt situation), but the notion that filing bankruptcy twice in ten years is tantamount to "serial bankruptcy" is, safe to say, just a little bit nuts. The serial filing that was meant to be discouraged by the 2005 BARF act, as well as 11 U.S.C. Section 109(g), concerns multiple filings in the same year, not two filings nine years apart. In other words, restrictions on "serial filings" are meant to dissuade people from filing one case after another, thereby using the automatic stay even when there is no hope for discharge or reorganization, not to label people who hit bad streaks during different decades as sleazebags.

As I recall, Ms. McArdle was the same person who rejected the notion that a high number of bankruptcy filings are related to medical woes because actual medical debts (that is, invoices sent out by hospitals and doctors) constitute a relatively small percentage of scheduled claims in bankruptcy court, apparently unaware that most medical debts (at least among my clients) are actually paid for with credit cards or are sold to collection agencies. Since she also makes the claim that tax debts are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, a patently false notion, it would perhaps be best if she left future discussions of the topic to people who actually know what they're talking about, like, say, someone with an actual law degree (link via Matt Welch).