In past years, people often viewed filing for bankruptcy as a sort of moral failure because they could not live up to all of their financial obligations. This was especially the case for politicians or other public figures whose role was to set an example for all Americans. When politicians began attacking one another during elections by exposing past bankruptcy filings, the practice became coined as “bankruptcy shaming.” Bankruptcy shaming did not only affect politicians and other in the public eye, but also regular Americans whose friends and families learned of their bankruptcies.
Why bankruptcy shaming is wrong
The truth is, however, that people regularly have completely legitimate justifications for a bankruptcy, politicians included. Anyone can face an unexpected loss of a job or medical emergency that can make it difficult to pay bills. For instance, one of the most revered presidents of the United States filed bankruptcy after one of his businesses failed. He was simply trying to make it as an entrepreneur and made a poor business decision—a position with which many Americans may relate. That president was Abraham Lincoln, and his past bankruptcy did not stop him from going down in history as a great political and social leader.
Unfortunately, bankruptcy shaming still exists in political races, which permeates into public opinion. For example, in a recent Oregon race, one politician attempted to make it seem as if his opponent was financially irresponsible due to a 2003 bankruptcy filing. However, the opponent has countered by been open about the reasons behind his bankruptcy—his wife’s serious illness at a time when she did not have health insurance. By refusing to be ashamed of his bankruptcy, this opponent is setting a good example and claims that bankruptcy shaming should be a thing of the past.
Many Americans considering bankruptcy worry that everyone in town will know about their filing and may shame them. While it is true that most bankruptcies are public record, it takes a very specific search to find those records and most people will never see them at all.
In short, you should never feel ashamed for filing bankruptcy, as it is often the most responsible thing a struggling person or family can do. If you are considering bankruptcy in St. Louis, Missouri, call the Law Offices of Kenneth P. Carp at 636-947-3600 for the highest quality of assistance today.