Maxed Out

Maxed Out. James Scurlock

Read the book, and watch the movie.

The book is an easy read, yet highly insightful, and details a country gone mad on debt fueled by predatory lenders, thinking the party will never end. In debt? Just borrow more. Need a new car? Take it out of the equity in the house (if you’re lucky enough to have a house, of course.) But the interest rate just keeps getting higher, and then the debt load becomes crushing.

All those people getting crushed? That money is going somewhere. Thus, someone is getting very wealthy from all this predatory lending, and I bet it’s not you.


  1. The Bush administration is doing the same thing– except the future they’re mortgaging is not their own. Still, it appears to be an effort to make hideous debt a cultural necessity, like Nikes or a Blackberry. Part of the problem is, people don’t know better. There’s no class in high school on how to manage personal finances. We don’t learn until we get burned. And yes, I can say that from experience: I got burned fifteen years ago. Now I know debt is basically a drug, being foisted on us by pushers. It wasn’t easy, but I kicked.

  2. One illuminating fact from the book is that Citibank as we know it today had its birth as a predatory lender specializing in small loans at high interest rates to “people who eat at McDonalds.”

    Sanford Weil bought a company, Commercial Credit, who did loans like that. Twelve years later he’d bought a large subprime company, Salomon Brothers, The Travelers, then merged them into CitiBank. Thus, such loans have always been a key part of CitiBank, not a recent venture.

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