After facing a whopping $2.3 million business debt, Georgia’s republican gubernatorial hopeful Nathan Deal has vowed that he will not file bankruptcy.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday that Deal and his wife, Sandra, owe the money after they invested $2 million in 2005 with their daughter and son-in-law in a sporting goods business that went out of business in March 2009. Deal’s assets, including his private residence in Gainesville, are not enough to cover the outstanding debt, the result of a series of loans that began with a $506,000 security deed leveraged against the property where the business was to be located.
But when asked how he would pay the looming debt without the help of bankruptcy, Deal said that he would cross that bridge when he came to it and that he would not “walk away from his financial responsibilities.” Listening to this type of grandstanding is frustrating. When politicians make a “vow against bankruptcy” they send a very clear message to Americans everywhere that bankruptcy is something to be ashamed of. But the truth is that bankruptcy is a very important part of our society and a very important part of civilization in general.
With bankruptcy codes, we say that we are willing to forgive and give citizens a second chance. But many politicians are turning against one of the core principals of our society as represented in the bankruptcy code by pretending that those filing bankruptcy are somehow escaping their responsibilities. And exactly what responsibilities are they escaping? We all have a responsibility to pay our bills and debts to the best of our ability. But we do not have a responsibility to attempt to pay debts when it would clearly jeopardize the wellbeing of ourselves and our families. That’s why we have bankruptcy. Bankruptcy helps us to fulfill our greater responsibility of knowing when to cut our losses and start again.