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Voters Want Bankruptcy Reform

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Americas voters believe that the Federal law allowing forgiveness of debt should be reformed, according to survey results released Wednesday. Asked to respond to a recent study concluding that those declaring bankruptcy were forgiven $4 billion in debt they could have repaid, 76% were critical and 43% were outraged. The survey of 1000 registered voters was conducted via telephone last week by Frederick Schneiders Research of Washington, D.C. Among Republicans, independents and those whose incomes exceeded $32,000 annually, the support level was 91%.

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America’s voters believe that the Federal law allowing forgiveness of debt should be reformed, according to survey results released today.

Asked to respond to a recent study concluding that those declaring bankruptcy were forgiven $4 billion in debt they could have repaid, 76% were critical and 43% were outraged.

The survey of 1000 registered voters was conducted via telephone last week by Frederick Schneiders Research of Washington, D.C. The Margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points. The poll was sponsored by the Bankruptcy Issues Council.

Congress is currently considering bankruptcy reform legislation that would require people with income exceeding 75% of the national family median to pay their debts if they had enough discretionary income to do so. Eighty seven percent of those polled favored this approach. Among Republicans, independents and those whose incomes exceeded $32,000 annually, the support level was 91%.

“Voters believe the law must be changed,” said Thomas A. Layman, senior vice president of Visa U.S.A. “People are appropriately upset that many bankruptcy filers who have enough income to repay at least some of what they owe are permitted to walk away from those obligations, sticking the overwhelming majority of Americans who pay their bills on time with the tab.”

“Preserving bankruptcy protection for those who truly require it is important,” said Richard Jones, vice president of MasterCard International, “but today’s law is simply too lax. It can and should be improved. We’re confident that Congress will respond by crafting a needs-based system that ensures that those who have enough income to repay some of their debts are required to do so.”

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