As we pointed out on Wednesday, personal bankruptcies recently jumped to a five year high (a 20% increase over the prior year). While the recent increase in filings has been alarming, the truth is that it could merely be a mean reversion, which as the chart below shows, is precisely where filings used to be prior to the 2005 bankruptcy reform passed. As The Economist, which created this chart points out, " The data suggest that an older trend is reasserting itself. This is could be more bad news for America—or it could just mean that creative destruction is alive and well." Either way, the chart is sure to see quite a bit of airplay this election season, as the populist rhetoric heats up. Don't be surprised however if the section before 2005 is cut off.