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You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch: Debt is Haunting the American Consumer and Harming the Economy

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“Duh,” the defining word in an ever-present car ad this holiday season, also summarizes what is happening to holiday shoppers. It should be obvious to anyone paying attention and paying credit card bills that American consumers have amassed record amounts of debt.

But what may not be clear to everyone except those trying to pay for holiday presents while failing to balance all their other debts payments is that consumers only have two choices: borrow less or go broke. Either way, more and more families will be joining those who are already slowing their spending as income growth slows and other means of borrowing shrink. If this does not happen during the 2007 holiday shopping season, it most likely will happen when debt bills come due early next year.