Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Unemployed black man or employed white graduate - who is to blame for the credit crunch?

The two Johns have tackled the issue of the sub prime market already (see the clip below) but I believe the real problem isn't the unemployed black man in a vest sitting outside a house he can no longer afford, it's the college educated white 20 and 30 somethings who is up to their eyes in credit card and college loan debt.

At the heart of the credit problem is a significant percentage of people mostly white college educated folks who had large sums of money made available to them which they gladly borrowed and spent it on pure frippery, and of course spring break! Average credit debt in the US for those graduates in the 20s is nearly $6,000. And that is just credit card debt, most US graduates have college loans into the 10s of thousands. Now the solution being offered by the Fed is yet more cheap credit which will lead to more spending on frippery (most of it coming from Asian economies rather than the US).

Is there some hope that those being lent to would act to re-finance their credit card debt into loans and take the time to pay down their debts? The problem is that the servicing of the credit card debt is much more profitable to the banks and they are disinclined to alter the terms to medium term loans. This is the time to turn into the tidal wave of financial mismanagement but I suspect most will take the short term option and just spend again.


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