The American economy is marked by a solid dose of paradox and irony.

To cite just one example, debt is both good and bad. On the one hand, liberal borrowing by consumers to purchase household appliances and furnishings, automobiles, clothing and other goods fuels the nation’s economic furnace, which is decidedly good. More people — and importantly, more businesses — see their coffers fill, which brings more jobs, more paychecks, more spending, more saving and so forth. That is a salutary cycle that is self-generating once started.

On the other hand, borrowing is a double-edged sword. As seen throughout the country’s so-called Great Recession, many millions of borrowers throughout the nation, including in Arkansas, were cut by that sword, incurring prohibitively high debt levels that they had difficulty managing.

That pain still persists for many, as evidenced by the longstanding and lingering foreclosure crisis, a high number of credit card defaults and other debt catalysts, such as student loan repayment obligations. Unexpected medical bills have further complicated life and finances for legions of people.

Many Americans have necessarily sought debt relief from insuperable financial maladies through accommodations with lenders, material pullbacks in spending, curtailed use of a number of goods and services and other strategies.

Exercising their legal right to file for bankruptcy to help alleviate crushing debt loads has also been a tactic that has helped many consumers.

Federal and state laws recognize that a fresh financial start for consumers who would otherwise feel perpetually overwhelmed and hopeless is sound social policy that is widely beneficial. In the absence of bankruptcy laws, deep indebtedness for many would be a long-long impediment militating against further meaningful participation in the national economy. That would serve no one’s interests.

Debt is a constant challenge for scores of millions of Americans. Challenged consumers seeking solutions to financial challenges can receive candid and knowledgeable information, as well as strong legal representation, from an experienced debt relief attorney.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “U.S. household debt increases,” Neil Shah, May 13, 2014