We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
The spouse, a now-retired professor of film studies, who was certainly entitled to be considered “outstanding in his field,” addressing movies from a literary and communications media perspective and having authored a couple of biographies of Nevil Shute Norway and Charlie Chaplin, as well as the totally original study of movies about war, “Looking Away; Hollywood and Vietnam“, is not really a studious person. Indeed, it’s quite likely that he moved from the study of novels and poems to film because movies made it possible for him to be somewhere else, even as he had to sit still in a room. So, it is a running joke with people looking for him now to be told that he’s out, standing in his field, admiring his , most which (13) he has dug by hand. Obviously, other people can admire them, too, and they don’t even have to be out standing in the field. They can see them from the road.
But, that’s not really the point of this post. This intro is just to explain my somewhat astonished amusement at a report from the Federal Reserve that I happened to peruse today, which may explain how come everybody seems to be so confused about debt.
The formal title of this report, which the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis issues quarterly, with about a two month delay – preliminary figures for the quarter that ended in September came out on November 7th – is “Consumer Credit-G.19.” I mention that with such specificity, because this is a document certainly worth perusing, especially when you realize that the top category, “Consumer Credit Outstanding,” actually refers to what consumers owe to banks and other financial institutions, including, increasingly, the Federal government.
They call it credit because, of course, they’re looking at money from the perspective of the banks. They have extended credit to consumers and consumers bit and, as a result, the consumers are now in debt. But, you’d never know it from the accounts. From the perspective of a normal person, the whole system is ass-backwards. Indeed, most recently, the banks are issuing debit cards, which actually mean they’re holding money for you in an account and, if you want to use it, they’ll charge a processing fee. And consumer credit outstanding does not refer to the max the bank has agreed to lend, but that hasn’t yet been spent. No, “consumer credit outstanding” is the sum total of what we all owe, loans on real estate excepted.
As of September 2012, projected, American individuals are in debt to the tune of two trillion, seven hundred and twenty-two billion dollars, not including what we owe on our houses. That’s almost two hundred billion more than we owed at the end of 2007, but in 2009 we owed almost a hundred billion less than before the crash. Which means that the banks were collecting less interest. Moreover, the chart of “major holders” of debt reveals that where we owed the federal government a mere ninety three billion back in 2007, in 2012 that’s projected to have increased to five hundred and nine billion dollars.
A footnote explains:
Consumer loans held by the federal government include loans originated by the Department of Education under the Federal Direct Loan Program, as well as Federal Family Education Loan Program loans that the government purchased from depository institutions and finance companies.
No wonder the banks aren’t happy. That’s about four hundred billion on which they’re no longer collecting interest – the interest, btw, which is still due but which is now supposed to pay for Medicaid expansion.
See, now that’s what I call an outstanding deal – one for which the Obama Administration deserves credit. ‘Cause, I for one, definitely prefer debts being owed to us, rather than the greedy banksters. And, you know, they were greedy. If they’d been content with a modest service charge for handling our bank accounts, they wouldn’t have had these recurring crashes.
That’s not just my opinion. Listen to Warren Stephens, the Lord of Little Rock, who calls himself a middleman, expound on how prudent investment is done.
Finally, it’s no wonder people don’t know which way is up when the economic jargon is laced with euphemisms, to boot. Consumer credit outstanding!! That’s debt, buddy, and we can handle it. Our Uncle Cons are counting on us to continue to be confused.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
I sympathize with those brushing aside the "Deflategate" scandal swirling around the New England Patriots as much ado over little of consequence. After all, the Patriots absolutely annihilated the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 in the AFC Championship Game on January 18. It’s hard to conceive any edge Patriots quarterback Tom Brady allegedly gained from playing with deliberately underinflated footballs could be primarily responsible for that butt whipping. Still, I’ve long wondered what our easy acceptance of cheating in sports says about our society. Considering the "Spygate" incident of 2007, when New England coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 and his team $250,000 for Read on →
The 31st Chinese Export Commodities Fair (Spring) was held from 15 April to 15 May 1972, and most of the foreign traders attended for the whole month. While the main purpose of the Fair was for China to exhibit and sell its products to the western world, buyers from the Beijing Government’s import agencies attended to negotiate the purchase of raw materials, metals, minerals and other commodities from the west, hopefully paying with Chinese goods. China saw itself as a potential exporter of machinery and equipment, automobiles and other manufactured goods. In reality most of what was on display at the F Read on →
James Holland writes: Glynn County public works is at it again. I thought my eyes were lying to me when I observed the images in my photos. Tide coming in and you can see how high it is and it is still coming. Glynn County simply has to be the most unscrupulous county in the entire state. Why is it that they continue to do this when all the science is out there about what buffers do to protect our marshes and waters? If anyone knows the name of the single individual that gave the order to do this would you please Read on →
“Please hold my hand now. I am dying.” As this soul pulled me close to her, she looked up but just smiled. I had just finished reading “Walking Home From Oak Head” by Mary Oliver to her and she seemed to be pleased to hear some of the refrains again, There is something about the snow-laden sky in winter in the late afternoon that brings to the heart elation and the lovely meaninglessness of time. We had shared many secrets over the years we had known one another, the years of being lovers, of becoming friends. She was “spiritual” in some ways by her reckoning and made me promise to Read on →