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In the Pursuit of Prosperity, We Have

Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit, and the Era of Predatory Lenders by James D. Scurlock

Reviewed by Marilyn Gardner
Christian Science Monitor

"'Charge it' may be one of the most enticing phrases in the English language. Who needs cash — or even a modest bank balance — when your wallet is bulging with plastic? After all, the bill won't come until later, and there's no need to pay in full each month. That faulty reasoning, perpetuated by the mushrooming 'financial services industry,' has spawned another phrase that is anything but reassuring: Maxed Out. It's the perfect title for filmmaker and writer James Scurlock's astute indictment of the credit industry — and the perfect warning for what he sees as a society headed for trouble..." Read the entire Christian Science Monitor review.

2 Responses to "In the Pursuit of Prosperity, We Have"

    Albert Armijo April 9th, 2007 at 7:17 am

    Very timely. Good Choice.

    Emmy K. Eoff April 9th, 2007 at 10:42 am

    I look forward to reading Mr. Scurlock's book and also seeing his film. I could write pages and pages on this topic, unfortunately, from not-very-pleasant personal experience. Here's what I can't understand: the interest rates that credit card lenders are allowed to charge would have been usury rates a mere 50 years ago. We could have gotten better rates from loan sharks and the Mafia, had we wanted to risk the possibility of broken kneecaps or being fitted with cement shoes and dumped in the East River. Or this: after 2001, when the stock market hit the skids, the interest rate on my savings account, which wasn't very high to begin with, plummeted to 0.25% (it has since climbed to a whopping 0.5%), and the best rate I found for a traditional IRA was 2.5% -- how is it possible that during the same timeframe, the interest rates for all three of my credit cards INCREASED by 10%, across the board, with none now lower than 27%?

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