Victim-Blaming People in Debt Never Changes

Maria LaMagna at MarketWatch: Americans Now Have the Highest Credit-Card Debt in U.S. History.
American consumers just hit a scary milestone.

They now collectively have the most outstanding revolving debt — often summarized as credit card debt — in U.S. history, according to a report Monday released by the Federal Reserve. Americans had $1.021 trillion in outstanding revolving credit in June 2017. This beats the previous record in April 2008, when consumers had a collective $1.02 trillion in outstanding credit revolving credit.

"This record should serve as a wake-up call to Americans to focus on their credit card debt," said Matt Schulz, a senior industry analyst at, a credit card website. "Even if you feel your debt is manageable right now, know that you could be one unexpected emergency away from real trouble."
What terrific advice! I hope everyone appreciates being advised to "wake up" and "focus" on your credit card debt.

Where can I sign up to be a senior industry analyst earning a fat paycheck dispensing useful financial tips like "get your shit together, losers"?

Early last year, a survey found that 56 percent of Americans had "less than $1,000 in their checking and savings accounts combined," and 25 percent had "less than $100 to their name." The same survey found that 38 percent "would pay less than their full credit card balance" that month.

That is not a country comprised of people who aren't focused on their credit card debt and are unaware that they "could be one unexpected emergency away from real trouble."

To the absolute contrary, their debt and lack of savings is something on which many people find it difficult not to focus, to the exclusion of everything else, including fleeting moments of joy.

But articles which invisibilize the millions of people who are consumed with trying to get out of debt, in order to shame and scold the capricious strawpeople who carelessly rack up escalating debt buying #YOLO hoodies, are a fixture of the financial sector. Here, for example, is a piece I wrote in 2013, about an article shaming people for stealing from their own futures in order to survive in the here and now.

And the reason they are a fixture is because the people who read the financial pages are the corporatists, the robber barons, the union-busters, the predatory lenders, and the legislators whose unfettered avarice is the genesis of this sickening precarity — and it soothes their filthy souls to read fairy tales about their victims' weakness.

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