[What follows is a rebuttal of Mr. Pomykala's essay. His review of bankruptcy in America is nice if you are a student, but without a doubt untempered by the real world.]
Principles and Guidelines
by Joseph Pomykala
Joseph Pomykala recently obtained a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation scrutinized bankruptcy law. He recently taught at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Bankruptcy filings skyrocketed to yet another all-time record of 1,366,887--one filing for every seventy-six American households--during the year ending 30 September 1997 (see Graph) a period of strong economic expansion. The bankruptcy rate now stands at six and one-half times the average annual rate of the 1970s. More filings occurred during the last six months than during the entire decade of the Great Depression. In the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1994, Congress established a bipartisan National Bankruptcy Review Commission to redraft the nation's bankruptcy laws. Many of the Commission's recommendations, submitted to Congress in October 1997, would do little to alleviate the situation. The proposed legislation would increase debtors' entitlements and property they retain upon declaring bankruptcy. Rather than reform, these changes are welfare under another name, with creditors seemingly forced to foot the bill. Overall, these changes may actually increase the bankruptcy rate.
[ It is clear what conclusion the author has reached. The only question is was it before or after his research? ]
ORIGINS OF BANKRUPTCY
The 1978 Bankruptcy Act was an oddity since it was not the outgrowth of an economic collapse.
[ We are not sure what Mr. Pomykala was doing in the early/mid 70's. The events of 73-74 directly led to many of the reforms implemented in 1978...but hey, he is the "scholar"]
Prior law was held over in basic form and supplemented with added debtor benefits. Small and large business nonliquidating Chapters X and XI were merged into modern Chapter 11 reorganization with the more liberal attributes of Chapter X. Incumbent management rather than court appointed trustees were left in control of bankrupt companies. States were given the option of using a new federal set of property exemptions or of opting out and using their own.
The Act deliberately made Chapter 13 repayment plans for individual debtors more attractive than Chapter 7 liquidations. More types of debt were allowed to be discharged under Chapter 13's "superdischarge" including those resulting from embezzlement and punitive damage awards. Instead of Chapter 13 being open to individuals under a certain income ceiling, it was made open to individuals with debts under certain dollar amounts. Creditors also lost the right to vote on Chapter 13 plans.
[Even today, creditors can object to plans proposed and it forces a hearing in front of the Judge. Far from underused, it happens regularly.]
Chapter 12 was added in 1986 in reaction to the decade's farm crisis. Only family farmers were eligible for Chapter 12 relief. It mimicked Chapter 13's three to five year debt repayment plan. However, it differed in that it omitted Chapter 13's ban on modifying mortgage liens over the debtor's principal residence by allowing a "knockdown" of farm mortgage principal. For example, if an original mortgage debt was, $100,000 and an appraiser found the farm to be worth $60,000, the lender could be forced to accept a new mortgage with principal set at $60,000.
Over history, bankruptcy was slowly transformed from being a crime committed by debtors into a social welfare program. Major enactments typically occurred during depressions for debtor relief. Debtor benefits were ratcheted upwards during succeeding crises; broadening eligibility, increasing the level of exempt property retained by debtors, and allowing easier access to the discharge. The series of enactments ended up legalizing what the law first sought to prevent?the nonpayment of debt.
[What the law sought to prevent was debtor prisons - real or effectively. Debtors with no chance to pay the debt they incurred - not always by choice - were given a chance to "start over". This starting over has been broadened to allow people to retain personal property and sufficient assets to truly start fresh.]
WHERE WE ARE
An automatic stay is put into effect upon a bankruptcy filing. It renders contracted property rights unenforceable. Lien property is unrecoverable during the stay. Wage garnishments and property attachments are halted; claims are frozen and do not accrue interest; the estate is created out of nonexempt property. Under Chapter 7 liquidation where 70 percent of all filings occur, the estate is sold by a court appointed trustee and remaining unpaid debts are discharged.
[This makes it sound like secured lien holders are SOL. Especially in Chapter 7, secured lien holders do (almost immediately and regularly) request relief from the stay from the bankruptcy court. Homes resume being foreclosed on, cars are repossessed. Liens on secured property often pass through a bankruptcy - judicial liens and non-purchase money liens do not]
Consumer debtors file 96.2 percent of bankruptcies. Thirty-five states set the amount of exempt property retained by debtors. Bankrupts in the remaining states use the alternative federal exemption list. Some debts are earmarked as nondischargeable such as for alimony, child support, taxes, and last minute credit card purchases for luxury goods incurred sixty days before filing. Select debts are prioritized for payment before others such as administrative expenses, wages due, taxes, alimony, and child support, among others. Debtors generally may only obtain a discharge once every six years.
[This is backward. Some states require the use of state exemptions, offering no access to the federal exemptions. Other states offer no state exemptions and the only choice is federal exemptions. Some states offer the choice, but it is an all or nothing choice - pick the state or pick the fed, no mixing and matching. ]
Chapter 13 consumer debtors retain possession of property as an alternative to liquidation. They are required to submit a debt repayment plan conveying to creditors future disposable income that is not necessary to support the debtor and dependents. The plan lasts three to five years while the automatic stay remains in effect. Unsecured creditors must receive at least what they would under a hypothetical Chapter 7 liquidation with "value" determined by court testimony as opposed to actual market sales.
[This is an area of change that is of major concern and one the credit industry fought hardest for: value currently is "fair market value" (and there is plenty of litigation on what is FMV), in the new law, the value will be "replacement value" as determined by retail prices. There is some debate on exactly how this will be played out, but that couch you bought 4 years ago for $500 that is worth $50 at a garage sale (FMV) must be claimed in a new filing at $500. The effect is to use up any exemption for household goods thereby limiting what can be protected for the "fresh start". A new definition of what constitutes household goods would limit electronics to ONE TV, ONE Stereo, ONE VCR and ONE computer. Items such as sports equipment would not be included so no bikes, no camping equipment, no golf clubs, no riding lawn mower, no guns. Now many will make an argument that such stuff is not necessary to a fresh start, and I might agree, but what exactly do you think Trustees are going to do with warehouses of golf clubs and bikes?]
[We are going to by-pass issues regarding Chapter 11. The abuses in that area are legendary but almost completely ignored in the current reforms]
There is little monitoring in the system. A 1994 General Accounting Office report, "Bankruptcy Administration Case Receipts Paid to Creditors and Professionals," estimated that to administer 1.2 million Chapter 7 cases during fiscal 1991 and 1992, a total of 166,153 hours of bankruptcy judges' time was expended. That amounts to an average of eight minutes and eighteen seconds per case. The U.S. Trustees Office of the Department of Justice is supposed to monitor trustee practices and investigate fraudulent activities of debtors. One U.S. Trustee is assigned to each of the 120 judicial districts. That is about five thousand cases per year for each U.S. Trustee to monitor. It is impossible for U.S. Trustees to monitor even a small portion of cases in any substantial detail.
[This is a slight of hand datum that misleads: example - Western District of Wisconsn: The US Trustee responsible for this District is in Chicago. He monitors a number of districts including the very busy Northern Illinois and the not very busy Western Wisconsin. An Associate Trustee is based in the Western District and she supervises four Chapter 7 Trustees and one Chapter 13 Trustee. The case load in this district last year was about 7,000 chapter 7's and 1,500 chapter 13's. We did see the Trustee at a 341 hearing last year, so when the need arises, he is there]
Total administrative costs in Chapter 7?professional fees borne by the estate, attorney fees borne by debtors themselves when there is no estate left, and court costs borne by taxpayers--amounted to a total of $1.894 billion during the two-year period of fiscal years 1991 and 1992. Creditors in these 1.2 million cases recovered $1.188 billion, pennies on the dollar, from $1.973 billion in case receipts. Thus it costs $1.59 per dollar distributed to creditors. The system's administrative costs borne by all parties total nearly the same as estates involved.
The "value" of property in bankruptcy cases is often determined by expert testimony, not markets. That often results in a battle of appraisers. Should estimated wholesale, retail, scrap, used, trade-in, replacement cost, or going concern value be used? Courts in various jurisdictions can adopt different rules. The 7th Federal Circuit adopted a "split the baby" approach by averaging wholesale and retail values.
[This is our district and in general, he is right. Judge Martin and Judge Ginsburg, two of the most respected Judges in the Bankruptcy Court have written the book on bankruptcy practice (literally - their books on bankruptcy are must haves for any attorney practicing bankruptcy - especially in their courtrooms). Victoria learned bankruptcy and practiced for almost 10 years in Judge Ginsburg's court and has practiced the last 7 years in front of Judge Martin. Valuations on cars and homes ROUTINELY are argued in this District]
Other undefined legal terms such as "fair rent" and "interest at the legal rate" also foster subjective interpretation by judges and wasteful litigation. Chapters 12 and 13 require that "disposable income" remaining after the "necessary maintenance" to support the debtor, his dependents, and business, be applied to fund creditor payments during a three to five year plan. Subjective interpretations in some courts permit private college tuition, piano lessons, birthday presents, and charitable tithing, as "necessary" and more deserving than creditors.
[Charitable giving is written into the law as a permissible expense. And as far as what is acceptable expenses, the "subjective interpretation" is made by Trustees and Judges, not the debtors.]
CONSUMER BANKRUPTCY CRISIS
Consumer bankruptcy is a system out of control; annual filings quickly approach one and one-half million. The question among economists is not why the bankruptcy rate is so high, but rather why it is so low. While only about 1 percent of households actually file for bankruptcy, 15 percent would financially benefit from filing. That figure increases to 17.5 percent if debtors act strategically by converting nonexempt property to exempt by paying off residential mortgages to take advantage of generous homestead exemptions. The figure increases to 22.6 percent if debtors also move to more expensive houses or states with higher allowed exemption levels.
[Consumers are out of control but 15 times the number that do file would benefit? And 22 times would benefit if they did good planning? Where is the abuse? If 15% of households would benefit from bankruptcy, what is stopping them? Shame? Embarrassment? Fear? Moral strength?]
Many debtors do not file because they do not know of the sweetheart deal until they seek legal advice or speak with the growing number of friends and relatives who have used bankruptcy to remove their debts. Mortgage bankers sometimes recommend a quick Chapter 7 filing and discharge to lower debts to help applicants qualify for new housing loans and consummate a sale. The moral cost or stigma felt by those who stiff their creditors has also faded. Bankruptcy is no longer an embarrassment. It has become a smart financial decision. It is as easy for a lawyer to remove unwanted debts as a doctor to remove an unwanted cyst.
[Many debtors do not file because the stigma associated with bankruptcy is still very prevelant. People hire attorneys in other cities so people will not learn of their shame. Our experience with mortgage brokers suggest that any of them suggesting a bankruptcy would quickly go out of business because they would be reducing their available clientele. While the moral cost or stigma are not what they used to be (at least to credit card companies that offer people that file bankruptcy new credit cards), the emotional result is apparent in the number of couples that get divorced after bankruptcy.]
It is possible to retain substantial property while discharging debts. Florida's 160 acre homestead exemption allowed former corporate raider Paul Bilzerian to retain a $6 million mansion in Tampa, four stories high with eleven bedrooms and twenty bathrooms. Michael Buettner in the Tampa Bay Business Journal (15 July 1997) reports a Virginia case in which the owner of a failed mortgage company was allowed to keep his "one horse" under state law. His one horse was an $800,000 racehorse purchased just prior to filing. He writes, "Elsewhere, courts have upheld exemptions for mink coats and Rolex watches as 'clothing.'" Assets in Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) qualified plans are also sheltered against creditors under state and federal law while debts are discharged. O.J. Simpson walked on the criminal trial, but his $4.1 million in pension assets are protected against creditors of the $33.5 million damage award for the wrongful deaths of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Despite his conviction in the civil trial, bankruptcy law would allow him to walk again, fully discharging the civil judgement.
[The new law will do little to change this. The very wealthy will continue to be able to shelter assets while the average filer will be left with few alternatives.]
Chapter 7's title, "Liquidation" is a misnomer. In 96 percent of Chapter 7 cases there is no estate to liquidate and creditors receive nothing. In practice it is merely a procedure to remove unwanted debts.
["unwanted"? How about impossible?]
Once the forbidden fruit is bitten, many bankrupts come back to discharge debts again after the six year bar has passed. Some debtors plan their bankruptcies, incur debts and spend monies recklessly without the intent to repay. Approximately 8.6 percent of filers have declared bankruptcy once before and 2.5 percent have declared three or more times.
[We have a number of clients that filed Chapter 13 but were unable to maintain their plans and they were converted to a Chapter 7 to eliminate the unsecured debt. After discharge, they filed a new Chapter 13 to more effectively deal with secured debts. This would be one of those 8.6 (or one of those 2.5 depending on how he calculated). It was not an abuse of the system. There is also no indication on the time frame between filings. A person that filed in the early 80's and again in the last few years is not the same as someone that filed twice within 8 years.]
Bankruptcy endows debtors the inalienable legal right to discharge debts without payment. Its nature invites abuse. A rarely used clause in the Code allows dismissal for "substantial abuse." Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) who sits on the committee with jurisdiction over bankruptcy remarked on 16 September 1997 that this clause regrettably implied, "that it's okay to abuse the bankruptcy system somewhat, so long as you don't abuse it so much that the abuse becomes substantial."
[A few years ago, we had a client working under a contract. That contract was not going to be renewed, in part because our client had a severe medical condition that made it hard to work. The firm did not terminate the contract early (about 4 months) out of respect for the years of good work. But he was done working and disability was not going to replace the income. We filed a chapter 7 despite the income being pretty high with a lot of paperwork indicating the future. The Trustee and Court objected and forced a Chapter 13 filing. By the time the first payment was made, the contract was done and he was unemployed. The case was converted back to a Chapter 7 and discharged. All that extra work ....because of ‘substantial abuse’. The Court does not look kindly upon attorneys that file such cases - it invites greater scrutiny of all the cases filed by that attorney]
In one 1996 case, Doctor Hashemi took his family on a six week European vacation costing $60,000. He charged it to his American Express card, and upon returning, romptly declared bankruptcy and asked for a discharge. In another 1996 case, Mr. Uddin, an unemployed New York waiter amassed $170,500 in unsecured debt over six months for airline tickets, consumer electronics, perfume, cosmetics, and gambling trips to Atlantic City where he lost $60,000. He obtained $50,000 in cash advances on his credit cards, claimed he lent such funds to a friend who defaulted and disappeared, and asked the bankruptcy court to absolve him of his debts.
[For every one of these examples we can give you 100 of honest people needing protection.]
Bankruptcy has evolved into a government sponsored social welfare program administered by the courts. One difference is that it is seemingly funded by expropriating tens of billions of dollars from creditors instead of through tax revenues. Another difference is that the relief offered debtors is not means tested. Many debtors could pay their debts but simply choose not to. But lenders understand and consider the risk of nonpayment. Thus debtors as a group pay up-front for the potential benefits of the discharge through higher interest rates and more stringent loan qualification requirements. Ironically, bankruptcy "protection" can hurt the group it is intended to protect.
[In every single case we provide the court with a list of income and expenses. In Chapter 7 cases, if we can not show expenses exceeding income (excluding the unsecured debts), Trustee's kick it to the Judge. We have had only one in the last 7 years, the one discussed above]
EXEMPTIONS AND THE STATES
There is a clear need to lower the bankruptcy rate and halt growing abuse of the system in order to foster economic efficiency and improve credit markets. The National Bankruptcy Review Commission (NBRC) recommended fixing the amount of personal property debtors are allowed to retain at an aggregate value of $20,000 (or $40,000 for joint filers), plus $15,000 if not claiming a homestead exemption. It also recommends that Congress bound a debtors' ability to utilize state set homestead exemptions with a $100,000 ceiling and $20,000 floor.
[So far, Mr. Pomykala has not made a case for the need for change. The vast majority of cases do not abuse the system and the current law gives the Trustee's, creditors and the Courts a number of "big guns" to prevent abuse. But he also fails to mention one other "deterrent": attorney liability. An attorney found to be assisting a client to "game the system" risks their license to practice. No consumer fees are worth an attorney's ability to earn a living]
While a ceiling is needed to prevent clear cases of abuse in states that set homestead exemptions by extent allowing debtors to retain unlimited wealth, the NBRC recommendation is too generous. The number of affluent debtors is also small and the $100,000 ceiling would reduce the homestead exemption in only four states. The impact of the $20,000 floor would be sizable, increasing available homestead exemptions in thirty-seven states which now have a lower or no homestead exemption and where nearly 70 percent of all consumer filings occur. The NBRC proposal would not effect homestead exemptions in the ten remaining states.
[On one hand the number of cases abusing the system is huge, but the number of debtors involved is small (in this particular slice of the case pie). We can hope, but it is not clear, that his statistical analysis is done accurately. What is interesting is the new law further restricts personal property in two ways: limit in the number of items (one tv, one vcr, one stereo and one computer to name a few) and by requiring replacement value being used instead of FMV. This seems to contradict this argument. ]
Overall, the proposed floor would result in a significant increase in filings since increasing property retained by debtors makes bankruptcy a more attractive option. Exemption levels have influenced filings in the past. The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 22 October 1994 doubled the dollar value of most personal property and homestead exemptions used in the fifteen states that do not set their own exemption levels and the District of Columbia. Between 1994 and 1995, total bankruptcy filings increased 17 percent in the areas using the higher federal exemptions compared to only 10.4 percent in the opt-out states where exemption levels did not change.
Reducing benefits such as exemption levels and access to the discharge is the best way to limit bankruptcy filings and abuse. Ideally, the applicability of the bankruptcy statute to consumer debtors should be repealed consistent with the jurisprudence contemplated by Framers of the U.S. Constitution. Failing that, the federal government should reduce exemptions well below the NBRC recommended aggregate $120,000 ceiling, to less than $20,000 lump sum in combined real and personal property. The only nonmonetary capped exemption should be for prescribed health aids. Significant pension assets over a monetary or actuarial threshold should be included in the estate.
[This limit does not provide for a fresh start, it requires starting over. For debtors already into their 40's, 50's and 60's, this is the equivalent of "breaking" them. There would be no time to acquire even minimal financial stability prior to retirement and the further requiring of pension assets in the estate forces even a thread of hope for a future to be severed.]
CONSUMER BANKRUPTCY REFORMS
Consumer debtor bankruptcies can be further discouraged through a series of reforms. A partial list of those reforms would include:
The window of time prior to a bankruptcy filing during which last minute debts incurred are not dischargeable should be lengthened to ninety days and made applicable to all debt types. Currently, only extensions of credit card debt greater than $1,000 incurred for luxury goods and cash advances sixty days prior to bankruptcy are nondischargeable. The NBRC proposal would decrease this period to thirty days but widen applicability to credit card debts incurred for any items.
[This presupposes that any debt incurred just prior to bankruptcy is an attempt to commit fraud upon the creditors. Our experience suggests that most people file bankruptcy within weeks of their decision to do so. This means that for the 60 or 90 days prior to filing, they are still trying to make things work. ]
The ban on repeat (serial) discharge should be lengthened to ten years and made applicable to all bankruptcy chapters. Currently, the ban on serial discharge is only applicable under Chapter 7 if a prior discharge was obtained within the last six years.
[Why ban serial chapter 13's? It is apparent that the credit industry limits credit to debtors that have previously filed bankruptcy, and chapter 13 is a repayment plan? The goal is not a bankruptcy law that helps debtors and protects creditors, it is a bankruptcy law that prevents all but the most affluent access to bankruptcy protection.]
Judicial authority should be expanded to allow the dismissal of cases for "substantial abuse" in any chapter on various statutory grounds. Those grounds could include the ability to repay using future income or if debts were incurred recklessly by gambling and consuming luxury expenses without the ability to repay. Creditors should also be allowed to petition the court for a hearing on such. Currently, only judges and U.S. Trustees can motion for a "substantial abuse" dismissal, and only in cases under Chapter 7.
[The trustee's and judges are impartial judges of what constitutes substantial abuse. Allowing creditors to claim it allows the wolf into the hen house. Judges and trustees currently have ability to deal with substantial abuse. In chapter 13s, creditors can AND DO object to proposed plans and hearings are held.]
Chapter 13's vague definitions of "disposable income" and "necessary maintenance" should be replaced with a system garnishing a declining portion of the debtor's future income over a five year period and using that portion to repay unsecured creditors. A similar garnishment trust fund should be available for unsecured creditor recovery in Chapter 7 cases. Creditors should be allowed to vote on the debtor's proposed Chapter 13 plan.
[The new law would allow for imposition of the IRS guidelines for necessary expenses. This already removes the courts discretion on cases. In many chapter 13 cases, trustees routinely require wage orders - garnishments - for the payment of plan payments. About 40% of our cases have them in place. And again, creditors can and do object to plan proposals and hearings are held. With regard to chapter 7 garnishments...this is an end around to chapter 13. If there is income to be had to pay off the debt, then a chapter 13 is required, why have "garnishments" in Chapter 7??]
Debt minimums for bankruptcy should be reimposed thereby preventing small debtors from clogging the court system in attempts to get a few months of free rent or discharge a few thousand dollars.
[If a debtor has $10,000 in income, $3,000 in debt is WORSE than a debtor with $100,000 in income and $30,000 in debts. Such a situation is more in need of bankruptcy protection, not less]
Consumer access to Chapter 7 liquidation should be further limited, making it a privilege instead of a right. Legislation under consideration in 1997 (S.1301, HR.2500) would deny access to the quick Chapter 7 discharge if a debtor's projected income was enough to pay at least 20 percent of unsecured debts. While a step in the right direction, these bills base "projected income" on the debtor's income around the time of bankruptcy, thereby encouraging debtors to quit their jobs a few months before they declare Chapter 7. A better formula is needed, possibly based on average U.S. personal income rather than individual income, and subject to less judicial leeway and circumvention by debtors.
[So we want bankruptcy offered not based on the circumstances of the specific debtor, but on a formula that only some debtors will qualify for. It is specifically because of the unique circumstances of each debtor that judges are given discretion. And basing access to bankruptcy on average personal income will benefit those in high income areas (NYC) and hurt those in low income areas like Mississippi.]
BUSINESS BANKRUPTCY REFORMS [we skip this area]
CHAPTERS TO REPEAL
Chapter 12 gives special "privileges" to farmers. It was originally passed as a temporary and experimental chapter, and now it should be repealed. By forcing mortgage lenders to accept rewritten loans conveying more generous terms to bankrupts, Chapter 12 actually has discouraged lending to family farmers, thereby harming those the provision was supposed to help. A U.S. Department of Agriculture study indicated that Chapter 12 might have increased interest rates paid by "protected" farm borrowers by up to 1 percent.
Chapter 9 should be repealed as well. Municipal bankruptcy also began as a "temporary emergency" enactment that was later made permanent. The Framers of the Constitution inserted the contract clause specifically to prevent state governments from legally reneging on their debts. Allowing their subdivisions to do the same under bankruptcy law seems to blatantly violate the clause.
[We are not going to argue these much. Chapter 12 is to be permanently added to the new law and Chapter 9 deals with governments...let them make their own arguments]
There is an urgent need for Congress to act expeditiously on the issue of bankruptcy. Reforms such as limiting eligibility, reducing property exemptions, and restricting the availability of the discharge, would substantially lower bankruptcy filings. Reform now, during good economic times, is especially imperative. If a recession occurs before reform measures are enacted, a sudden surge in bankruptcies would send a tremor through an already overburdened system. The repercussions, as in past episodes, could foster relief type legislation giving borrowers even more opportunities to renege on debts, thus fostering even higher bankruptcy rates, potentially to the point where bank failings and restricted credit would further the depth of an economic downturn.
[We are unsure when this was written, but the events of 2000 (stock market bubble) and 9/11 certainly had a profound impact on the number of bankruptcies filed in the last 3 years. This essay was not without significant bias, even prejudice. It is quite apparent that the author did not actually view any bankruptcy proceedings. The increases were based on economic necessity, not a new found awareness of a way to "game the system". We agree there are abuses, but by and large, the courts and trustees catch the vast majority of them. This essay, and the current support for reform by the credit industry, could easily be applied to the lenders that made little or no attempt to qualify their loans. Providing loans to debtors with little disposable income, or with already high debt loads is a failure of good lending practices. The credit industry, already allowed to charge interest rates that were illegal 35 years ago so that they could be compensated for higher defaults of lower income debtors, has been earning billions in net profit. The increased number of bankruptcy filings has done nothing to harm the bottom line of the credit industry in the last 5 years. The new law will simply further protect the credit industry from it's own lending practices and enhance their bottom line. If responsibility is the goal of bankruptcy reform, it should be applied to all parties equally, this law does not.]
We obtained a copy of Mr. Promlyka's essay via the internet from a link on a blog, it appears the following has copyright: Regulation, 1997, Vol. 20, No. 4. Published four times a year by the Cato Institute. Copyright 1997 Cato Institute. Regulation is available on the World Wide Web and readers may subscribe on-line. Subscription rates are $18 per year for individuals and $28 per year for libraries and institutions. Please send changes of address and subscription correspondence to: Circulation Department, Regulation, 1000 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001, or call 202-842-0200. ISSN 0147-0590 INTERNET firstname.lastname@example.org WEB SITE http://www.cato.org