Phantom Farmers: Chapter 12 of the Bankruptcy Code
15 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2005
In the heated debate surrounding the recent reforms to America's bankruptcy laws, Congress' decision to make Chapter 12 (a specialized type of bankruptcy relief available only to farmers) a permanent part of the Bankruptcy Code was widely heralded as a positive step for rural Americans. However, empirical evidence shows that very few farmers actually use Chapter 12 and that bankruptcy relief has not and cannot halt the decline in family farming. A vast majority of rural Americans are not farmers and will not be helped by Chapter 12. Instead, these families will face increased hurdles to filing for bankruptcy relief under the recent reforms to the generally applicable consumer bankruptcy laws. This Article analyzes the amendments to Chapter 12 and argues that America's rural families remain vulnerable to financial failure as policymakers continue to conflate the agricultural and rural economies.
Keywords: bankruptcy, agriculture, farming, rural
JEL Classification: K29, O13, Q10, Q14, R11
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