I Owe, I Owe: Debt in America
It seems like everyone owes money these days. But two hundred years ago, debt was considered not simply an economic failing, but a moral one. It could even land you in prison! In this hour, we look at how debt became the American way of life. Economic historian Louis Hyman argues that you and I aren’t to blame for our financial straits. We also hear from Thomas Jefferson, who, thanks to poor planning and a penchant for French furniture, died over $100,000 in the hole.
(Not so) Personal Debt
Louis Hyman talks about the structural changes that led to record levels of personal debt in the late 20th century. It’s not that Americans are more willing to go into debt than they used to be, he says, but rather that they are no longer able to pay that debt off.