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MountainLaurel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:05 AM
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The Plastic Safety Net
The link is for the Executive Summary, but the full report is also available:

American families are struggling in an increasingly volatile economy defined by job instability, continued layoffs in the guise of downsizing, and declining employee benefits factors augmented by new trends like outsourcing and unfettered trade. The result is a fragile alliance between workers and employersand families and the economy.

At the same time that American households have become more vulnerable, our economic safety net has steadily eroded. Unemployment insurance benefits have declined, health insurance has been reduced or eliminated for many, public safety net programs have been de-funded and cannot meet demand, defined-benefit pensions have been replaced with an at your own risk retirement investments and, over the last decade, incomes have stagnated and can not keep pace with the rising costs of housing, health care and living expenses. The tempestuous household economy and the rapid rise in debt over the last decade have been well-documented but not thoroughly understood. Existing data sources tracking debt, such as the Federal Reserve Boards triennial Survey of Consumer Finances, provide a limited picture of household indebtedness. Existing sources couldnt answer the simplest of questions, including how long the average household has been in debt and what types of purchases led to outstanding balances.

Prior to the survey findings presented in The Plastic Safety Net, there has been no data available to study how households are using credit cards and how they are managing their debt. The Plastic Safety Net presents findings from a national survey of households with credit card debt commissioned by Demos and the Center for Responsible Lending. The survey consisted of 1,150 phone interviews with low- and middle-income households whose incomes fell between 50 percent and 120 percent of local median income. In order to participate in the survey, a household had to have credit card debt for three months or longer at the time of the survey.
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:25 PM
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1. I find this especially scary:

"One out of three households reported using credit cards to cover basic living expenses on average four out of the last 12 months"

(p.4 of report.)
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MountainLaurel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Not surprising
Considering the study about bankruptcies that came out last year: Half were directly related to medical expenses (and in 75 percent of those, the family had health insurance at the time of the event), and most of the rest involved other emergencies: spouse lost a job, a divorce, a house fire, etc.
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. But I was assured that people who declare bankruptcy are just freeloaders!
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MountainLaurel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Just like the homeless
Really don't want to have a home or an address?

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