Easy consumer credit is nothing new, but Americans are turning to their credit cards as never before — and racking up debt at unprecedented rates.
Never before, we’re told, have so many Americans owed so much at such high interest rates. And with mortgage troubles deepening, and the economy struggling, some fear personal debt could be the next shoe to drop.
Last week, the House Judiciary Committee voted to move forward with a bill that would rein in the American credit card industry, but consumer advocates say Washington isn’t going far enough to tame an unruly credit-card industry. What can consumers, lenders, and the government do to avert a crisis?
This hour, On Point: You’re pre-approved! Credit cards, consumers, and a nation in debt.
You can join the conversation. Are you in debt on your credit cards yourself? If so, have you been splurging, or are you using your credit cards just to survive?
Joining us from Cambridge, Mass., is Elizabeth Warren. She’s the Leo Gottlieb professor of law at Harvard Law School, and an expert on credit card debt and bankruptcy. She’s written several books, most recently “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan” which she co-authored with her daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi.
Joining us from Portland, Oregon, is J.D. Roth. He’s the man behind the well-known personal finance blog “Get Rich Slowly.” The blog started out as a chronicle of how he himself overcame $35,000 of personal debt, including about $20,000 in credit card debt.