Credit: The Importance of Being in Debt

More U.S. consumers are more heavily in debt than ever before, but the burden seems to rest lightly on the nation's shoulders. By buying his furniture and house on the installment plan, charging his clothes, sending his kids to college on a loan, and taking off on a fly-now-pay-later vacation, the American consumer has piled up a truly phenomenal $280 billion debt-and is rapidly adding to it. Families are up to their eaves in $190 billion worth of mortgages, also bear another $76 billion in various consumer debts. One household in two...

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