More Americans are choosing bankruptcy over destitution, the Washington Post reported today. Bankruptcy filings across the United States totaled 822,590 last year, up 38 percent from 2006. “The rise in bankruptcies is not about something that happened last week or last month,” said a bankruptcy expert. “It’s about declining wages, rising costs, inadequate health insurance and job instability,” said Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren. “More hardworking middle-class families simply can’t make it in this economy, and it’s only getting worse.” Declining home values are exacerbating the problem as people can no longer rely on the equity in their homes to pay down more expensive debt.