Consumer Engine In Danger of Running Out of Gas

Discussion
Jan 13, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

It’s often said that consumer activity is the engine that drives the American economy.

If that’s true, than ready credit is often the fuel that keeps the engine running, which is why experts are suggesting consumers stop looking to buy and start paying for what
they already have.

According to the Federal Reserve, consumer debt has more than doubled in the past ten years and today stands at a record high. The average American household is in debt to the
tune of $18,700 for credit cards and car loans. Mortgage debt is extra.

“‘The Depression generation is passing on, and we’re losing their values,’ Howard Dvorkin, president of the nonprofit Consolidated Credit Counseling Services told the Associated
Press
. ‘Now we’ve got an entire generation that doesn’t know anything about thrift and careful spending. It’s tearing the fabric that made this country great.”

Moderator’s Comment: Why do you believe the debt burden for the average American household is so high? What are the ramifications for retailers?

One of the favorite sports in America it seems is shifting balances from one credit card account to another in the endless quest to maintain the lowest
interest rate. It won’t be pretty if (when) the deals finally come to an end.
[George
Anderson – Moderator
]

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