Dear Credit Card Companies,
Thank you all for your generous offers this Christmas season. From one of you, I received a card informing me of all the savings I could have – if only I spent more with my credit card. From another of you, I received an offer for this miraculous checking account tied to my credit card where I get free money that is actually credit I will be *charged interest on*. Of the three of you I hear from most, the remaining member of your group sends me offers monthly for a card. I’ve also been offered travel insurance and even a sort of life-event insurance – if something bad happens to me, I get lots of money. All I have to do is pay now.
I must respectfully decline your offers of imaginary money. I must point to three things. First, the number of us in the country declaring bankruptcy has risen signficantly. Second, the laws for declaring bankruptcy have been changed to make it more likely that someone will have to pay their debts. Third, generalizations lead me to believe that there is simply too much stuff to buy today, and in order to sustain a lifestyle we neither can afford nor should try to, more of us are going into debt. For many of us, all it would take is the loss of our job, even for a short period of time, to drive us into four-to-five-figure debt with interest rates in the double digits. Finally, this is precisely where you want us to be.