Why is a nation that considers spending a civic duty approving harsher ways to punish the bankrupt?

Walter Kirn in the New York Times Magazine:

…thanks to an almost certain new federal law that the president has vowed to sign, this ending is set to grow unhappier still — at least for a significant percentage of the one million to one and a half million Americans who file for bankruptcy protection every year and will, as early as this autumn, find it much harder to wipe clean their books and get back on their economic feet. For the credit-card issuers and consumer-finance companies whose well-financed lobbyists backed the bill (whose central provision requires bankrupt debtors with incomes exceeding their statewide median incomes to settle for long-term repayment plans), the results should prove more gratifying.

For a nation whose very founding can be viewed as an attempt to free itself from financial burdens thrust upon it by a distant ruler; for a government that is deeply in the red because of its own spendthrift ways; and for a political leadership whose emissaries have been pressuring other countries to forgive Iraqi debt, such a reform raises questions, to put it mildly.

More here.