Economic Decline in a Culture of Credit
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Americans are carrying $2.5 trillion in consumer debt. The average household owes credit card companies $8,500. Will that be the next bubble to burst? Will consumers change their behavior to meet the challenges of a troubled economy? Also, Barack Obama speaks in Berlin, and an oil spill has closed the mouth of the Mississippi River to shipping but not to pollution, creating threats to wetlands and the water supply.
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Obama Speaks in Berlin ()
In a warm, summer night in Berlin, Barack Obama addressed an enormous crowd, estimated by some to be 10,000 people. The Senator talked about a world where walls have come down leaving nations more intertwined than ever before. Karsten Voigt is coordinator for German-American cooperation at the German Foreign Office.
- Karsten Voigt: Coordinator for German-American Cooperation, German Foreign Office
Predatory Lending and Shrinking Buying Power ()
There may be fewer paper towels in the package than there used to be, but you're still paying the same price. The same is true for dog food and trash bags. "Hidden inflation" in supermarkets is just one sign of how consumers are affected by a troubled economy, even though they don't notice. Bear-Stearns brokerage house was bought up before it collapsed, as was the sub-prime lender Countrywide. Now the Congress and President Bush are protecting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The next bubble to burst may be in the credit-card market. What's next for low-income retirees, recent college graduates and first-time home buyers? If you've got some money, is this the time to invest?
- Linda Stern: Contributing Editor, Newsweek
- Robert Manning: Professor of Finance, Rochester Institute of Technology
- Robert Hobbs: Deputy Director, National Consumer Law Center
- Ben Popken: Editor, Consumerist.com
- Eric Tyson: Author of books on personal finance
Tugboat Slams into Barge, Spews Diesel into Mississippi ()
From New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico, a massive oil slick has spread over 100 miles of the Mississippi River. It's the result of yesterday's collision between a double-hulled tanker and a barge filled with heavy diesel. At least 200 people are working to contain the hundreds of thousands of gallons of diesel fuel so think and heavy it could sink to the bottom of the river. What are the risks to the environment and the water supply? How long might it take to clean up? Mark Schleifstein is environmental reporter at the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
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