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FROM THIS EPISODE

US consumers scaled back in the first years of the Great Recession, but now they're buying again and getting extended credit. Are the laws written to encourage debt? Are Americans born to shop, even when they can't afford to?  Also, Tunisia's president flees the country amid mounting protest, andPope Benedict XVI has approved a miracle by his hugely popular predecessor, John Paul II. But questions are being raised about his qualifications for sainthood.

Banner image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Credit Card Nation

Robert D. Manning

Producers:
Frances Anderton
Sonya Geis
Gary Scott

Main Topic The American Dream and Extended Credit 34 MIN, 16 SEC

Despite the recession and unemployment near 10 percent, Americans are still accumulating more debt. Solicitations for credit cards doubled last year. Lenders and retailers say the American Dream -- a big home, a big car and college — makes consumers willing to go into hock. They also see signs of "frugality fatigue." Others contend the law itself is rigged to favor indebtedness, with incentives that reward debt and discourage saving. Why are people spending money they don't have? Is it good for the economy? Is the government setting the right example?

Guests:
John Carney, Editor, CNBC's NetNet
Todd Zywicki, Professor of Law, George Mason University
Marshal Cohen, Chief Analyst, NPD Group
Robert Manning, Rochester Institute of Technology

Reporter's Notebook Pope John Paul II on the Way to Sainthood 8 MIN, 58 SEC

A French nun diagnosed with Parkinson's disease prayed to Pope John Paul II after his death. She wrote his name on a piece of paper and, the next day, she woke up cured. Pope Benedict XVI said today that meets the standards for a miracle and beatification, the first step toward sainthood. But critics have raised questions about the miracle itself and the fast track to sainthood for a popular and conservative church leader. John Allen covers the Vatican for the National Catholic Reporter.

Guests:
John Allen, Boston Globe (@JohnLAllenJr)

The Future Church

John L. Allen Jr.

Making News Tunisian President Flees Country amid Mounting Protest 7 MIN, 46 SEC

Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has fled that North African country after promises of lower food prices and more political freedom failed to stop massive street protests in the capital city of Tunis. Blake Hounshell, Managing Editor of Foreign Policy magazine, is in Doha, Qatar, and updates the rapidly changing situation.

Guests:
Blake Hounshell, Foreign Policy magazine (@blakehounshell)

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