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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 13, 2008 / 10 Sivan 5768

Going for broke, American-style

By Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When the GOP Congress passed and President Bush signed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, supporters hailed the measure as a victory for "personal responsibility."


Three years later, the bill has managed to dent the number of bankruptcies filed in America - from 1.6 million in 2004 to 850,912 in 2007, according to the nonpartisan American Bankruptcy Institute. That number is great for the banks, but in the wake of America's subprime mortgage and home foreclosure wake-up call, you can't argue that either American lenders or consumers are exhibiting more personal responsibility.


Forget high gas prices. If you're among the 1 in 5 households with credit-card debt service payments exceeding 10 percent of your income, you probably have bigger problems. Congress refused to cap interest rates at 30 percent when it passed the bankruptcy bill. Predatory lenders remain free to charge usorious interest rates, as well as to assess whopping late-payment penalties.


A report, "For a New Thrift: Confronting the Debt Culture," released last month by the Institute for American Values, Public Agenda and other do-gooder groups, catalogs the many ways that private and public institutions are making it fast and easy for working people to do the wrong thing with their hard-earned dollars.


Financial institutions that previously encouraged Americans to save a portion of their income now encourage consumers to borrow for daily household expenses such as groceries. The credit-card industry pioneered a set of "practices and products that ensured long-term consumer dependency on expensive credit, " the report noted.


The report's lead author, Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, told me that when her group first starting throwing out the term "thrift," others saw them as "stingy unimaginative people who live dreary lives." I hesitate, lest I come across as a middle-age woman wagging a finger at young people for spending too much money - which often entails having loads of fun.


So let me frame this as a class issue. People who are stuck in the credit-card trap - or worse, the pay-day lenders' snare - face huge impediments to becoming middle class.


It is shocking to learn that 56 percent of college students carry four or more credit cards. That's a big problem, but at least these young adults are likely to see the day when their incomes can buy an end to a cycle of debt. The majority of workers who are not college graduates stands to lose the most if they get snared by the lure of overborrowing.


As Whitehead noted, once people enter the late-payment-penalty loop, they are "are reduced to falling down the ladder." Washington should be encouraging working families to save. As Whitehead noted, there has to be "a saving culture" that encourages working-class families to put money aside for the future, or "you're in trouble as a middle-class society."


John McCain was one of 55 GOP senators, who along with 18 Democrats, voted for the bad bankruptcy bill. Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, voted against the bill, but like McCain, Obama also voted against the amendment to cap credit interest at 30 percent.


Wednesday, at a roundtable on predatory lenders, Obama accused McCain of siding with the credit card-companies and faulted Washington's coziness with the predatory lending lobby.


Too bad for Obama that Wednesday was also the day Jim Johnson resigned from Obama's vice presidential search committee - after the Wall Street Journal reported that Johnson received $7 million in below-market-rate loans from subprime giant Countrywide Financial Corp., through an informal program for "friends" of CEO Angelo R. Mozilo.


American consumers could use some friends in Washington, too. Supporters justified the 2005 bankruptcy bill as a way to discourage bad-faith borrowers, who rack up big debt without paying it back. OK, mission accomplished. Now, having helped the banks, Washington should do something about rapacious bad-faith lending, before there is a cascade effect across the economy. With the proliferation of predatory credit-card companies, the subprime mortgage and pay-day lenders, Whitehead said of the recent spate of foreclosures, "We haven't seen the end of this yet."

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© 2007, Creators Syndicate

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