Americans Can't Wait For Their Tax Refunds... To Immediately File For Bankruptcy
In yet another sad reflection on the state of the Schrodinger-economy, USA Today notes that over 200,000 households will use their tax rebate this year to pay for (drum roll please) a bankruptcy filing and associated legal fees. The NBER research confirms a little known fact (outside of bankruptcy lawyer circles) that 'at the first part of the year, when Americans receive their tax refunds, there almost always is a spike in personal bankruptcy filings.' but this has been especially true since the cost of bankruptcy soared (from $921 in 2005 to $1477 two years later according to the US GAO) after law changes in 2005. The bulk of the fees go to the lawyers of course but the fact that the law was changed to prevent bankruotcy abuse as it was thought too many people who could afford to pay their debts were taking advantage of the system. The sadder truth, according to the USA Today article, is that the drop in bankruptcy filings doesn't necessarily mean that the change has curtailed abuse of the system. "It just means that financially distressed people are not necessarily getting the help they need," Last year's average tax refund was $2913 - enough for many Americans to file for bankruptcy. So we wonder what impact this will have on AAPL's earnings as bankruptcy fees outweigh iPad purchases from this year's rebates. Brilliant!