SPECIAL REPORT: Those Skyrocketing Interest Rates

Much as Benjamin Franklin might have abhorred the idea, debt has become the 20th century American way of life. The entire U.S. financial system is elaborately geared to keep money moving in vast quantities from lenders to borrowers. Nearly everyone operates on the almost unconscious assumption that there is plenty of money available to borrow at interest rates he can afford: businessmen who launch, expand or modernize enterprises; public officials who schedule the building of roads, schools, parks; consumers who plan purchases of houses, cars, even college educations. Yet in recent...

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