The founding fathers were very concerned about debt and it's role in society. They did start the national debt, which stimulated the economy, but they also included authorized Congress to set up Bankruptcy Courts in the very first article of the Constitution. On the flipside, Thomas Paine rallied in favor of the Estate Tax as a way of preventing a permanent oligarchy/underclass in this country. Bankruptcy also made the banks much more cautious about who they made loans to.
There was a lot of give an take on issues relating to that over the centuries, but the balance started to change in the late 90's. Congress passed a bill to make bankruptcies much tougher. Bill Clinton vetoed that bill after Hillary implored him to because of the devastating effects on single parents.
Later on, under the guise of preventing fraud, Congress passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act and George W. Bush signed it into law. Left-leaning Democrats complained it was a step on the road to Debt Slavery. One of the crooked Democrats that voted for it was none other than William "Dollar Bill" Jefferson. How many of his constituents got screwed over by that Bankruptcy Bill, especially after Katrina with (truly) underwater mortgages?
William Jefferson loved debt slavery right from the start:
About the same time, Jefferson launched one of his earliest ventures, in the rent-to-own appliance business. that was, like others that would follow, a joint project with several siblings, in this case brothers Mose and Bennie and sister Betty, a former School Board member who is now a city assessor. Through Jefferson Interests, a company they founded, the group acquired four REMCO stores starting in the early 1980s, after Jefferson had joined the Legislature.
Some called the business predatory. In 1986, Rudy Lombard, one of Jefferson's opponents in his second bid for mayor, noted in debates that some public-housing tenants in Algiers late on payments had complained of being "harassed and intimidated" by REMCO officials.
Lombard also ripped Jefferson for sponsoring a bill that would have allowed theft charges to be filed against renters who did not return appliances on time. Jefferson denied sponsoring such a bill at first, but the next day he conceded he had when reporters confronted him with the evidence.
You'd be hard pressed to find a Democrat who worked harder against the interests of his constituency than $Bill.
Open today's paper. On page A-2, William Jefferson is now getting a dose of his own medicine. He's being nailed under the Bankruptcy Bill he voted for. I'm sure he got lots of campaign contributions for doing it at the time, but now he's fucked. Good for him. Poetic justice.