Bankruptcy Portrayed as Character Flaw in Cain Sexual Abuse Charges
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Bankruptcy Portrayed as Character Flaw in Cain Sexual Abuse Charges

November 17, 2011


After Sharon Bialek came forward with allegations of sexual abuse against Republican presidential primary contender Herman Cain, news outlets picked up the story of her financial past, which includes liens from the Illinois Department of Revenue for back taxes and two bankruptcy filing.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Bialek filed for bankruptcy protection first in 1991 and again in 2001. In addition to the personal bankruptcy cases, Bialek has reportedly been the target of debt-related lawsuits from creditors.

The reportage of her financial history seems to have the goal of undermining Bialek’s credibility as an accuser; after she initially made allegations, Cain promptly denied them, as he did with the other alleged victims of his unwanted sexual advances.

What remains unclear is how financial turmoil in a person’s private life is linked to her credibility in other matters.

Bankruptcy has long gotten a bad reputation in this country, despite the fact that, as it appears in many other forms (e.g. financial bailouts for large banks), it has been largely accepted, if not lauded.

Those who criticize bankruptcy or would point to it as indicative of serious character flaws would do well to remember that such icons as Larry King, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Milton S. Hershey, Henry Ford, and Walt Disney all filed for bankruptcy at some point in their lives.

The whole point of bankruptcy is that it allows filers to cast off unmanageable debts and make a fresh start, as many of our national icons have done.

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