Are You In A Sea of Debt?
Americans spend almost $1.5 trillion dollars annually on fees related to subprime mortgages, payday and student loans, and auto insurance premiums. This is money that has gone directly from the poor and middle class to the wealthy, it is but one example of how corporate fees targeting the have-nots, have greatly enhanced the pocketbooks of the have-a-lots. Housing, employment, transportation, and education are the avenues Americans could use to move into the middle class, but days are gone. Through intense legislative lobbying at all levels of government, and with consumers accustomed to regularly signing long, impossible-to-understand contracts, corporations have greatly tilted the playing field in their favor. Predatory mortgages with hidden costs, education loans that choke young people’s personal savings before they even begin a career, auto insurance that targets urban drivers (minorities) with higher premiums, and the financial sector’s most common cure for wage stagnation: payday lenders—all these realities have combined to make the upward mobility of America’s past unattainable for most. This is not a problem for an unlucky few, but through compelling statistics. Many Americans are being crushed by debt and unscrupulous fees. The average consumer is now subject to a dizzying array of charges. Today we will expose this predatory and nearly invisible system of fees,
Joining us for our discussion on Are You In A Sea of Debt? is Devin Fergus who is calling in from his London England Office. Devin Fergus is the Arvarh E. Strickland Distinguished Professor of History, Black Studies, and Public Affairs at the University of Missouri. Author of Liberalism, Black Power, and the Making of American Politics (a CHOICE Outstanding Title for 2010), he has written widely on politics, policy, and inequality in outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The American Prospect, The Guardian, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Slate. He is the author of “Land of the Fee: Hidden Costs and the Decline of the American Middle Class ”.
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