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New Book Shows How Consumer Debt Will Make The Impending Recession Fundamentally Different From All Previous Ones.

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“From credit cards to predatory lending to pay-day loans, Manning takes a thoughtful and comprehensive look at life on the financial edge, where credit comes at too high a price for those who can least afford it.”—U.S. Representative John J. LaFalce (D-NY), Ranking Member, Committee on Banking and Financial Services

Unprecedented in scope and depth of research, CREDIT CARD NATION exposes one of the most severe social and economic crises of our time—America’s escalating credit card debt. Recently, all attention has been turned to Allan Greenspan as he reacts to the slowing down of the economy. The reality is that the Bull Market has masked the economic fragility of overextended households.

Credit card debt expert Robert Manning argues that the consequences of consumer debt will severely impact the future of our economy. College students, new entrepreneurs, the elderly, minorities, women, and the middle class as well as the working poor will feel the effects most drastically. In this wide-ranging study we learn of the following:

  • Over the next five years, banks will pay the largest 250 universities nearly $1 billion annually for exclusive marketing rights on campus.
  • The personal testimony of a parent whose 22 year-old son committed suicide over credit card debt.
  • Rise of college student indebtedness and graduate school and job rejection due to credit card debt.
  • The decline of community banks and the increase of pawnshops and check-cashing services for the poor as well as the middle class.
  • How small businesses, female entrepreneurs, and the elderly rely on credit cards because they are routinely turned down for lower interest bank loans.
  • Between 1994 and 1998, the credit card industry’s advertising budget doubled from $425 million to $870 million.
  • How Citigroup and other financial conglomerates have profited from consumer credit card debt.
  • Intense lobbying by banks for greater access to data on consumer behavior.

Through in-depth interviews with hundreds of consumers, Manning describes the real-life consequences of America’s indebtedness. He shows how credit card interest rates that outpace even generous increases in annual household income have cost many Americans the opportunity to take part in the recent economic upswing.

Manning also details the history of credit since the beginning of the deregulation of financial services in 1980. He itemizes the social cost of U.S. industrial restructuring, which, at the same time that it has produced enormous corporate conglomerates, the highest profits in banking history, and unprecedented growth of billionaires, has also produced the greatest economic inequality in the Western world.

Credit Card Nation dramatizes how the credit card industry preys on the American belief in happy endings and unstoppable social mobility. Furthermore, the book offers solutions, from government regulation to educational programs, so that we can resist the mounting tide of personal debt and the concomitant loss of faith in the very resourcefulness that will be needed to balance American’s increasing appetite for credit.

CONTACT: Barbara Fillon at Basic Books
(212) 207-7822

 

 


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