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Demos
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEBRUARY 9, 2005
3:45 PM
CONTACT: Demos 
Timothy Rusch, 212-389-1407
trusch@demos-usa.org
 
Demos' Economic Opportunity Program Launches Online Research Clearinghouse for Bankruptcy Reform
 
NEW YORK, NY -- February 9 -- Today, Demos: A Network for Ideas and Action announces the launch of its new Bankruptcy & Debt Clearinghouse (www.demos-usa.org/debt), an online information center containing key research, data points and analysis on trends in debt, bankruptcy and credit industry regulation in the United States.

The Senate is currently considering bankruptcy legislation (S. 256) that would make it harder for millions of families to recover from severe economic distress. Demos' research, including the groundbreaking Borrowing to Make Ends Meet Series on credit card and mortgage debt, dispels the myths that are driving this legislation.

This research shows that a growing number of people in debt are not borrowing for frivolous reasons, but rather to cover basic living expenses because of job insecurity, stagnant wages, and rising costs of healthcare, housing and education. Demos' Debt & Bankruptcy resources offer journalists a well-rounded analysis of the real debt crisis facing Americans—information that is missing from the credit industry-fueled debate going on in Washington.

"With millions of Americans going deeper into debt to make ends meet—many of them risking their homes, their retirement security and their kids' college educations' in the process—it is time for the government to address the debt crisis facing American families," said Tamara Draut, director of the Economic Opportunity Program at Demos.

"What we need is a real discussion about the economic pressures driving so many families into debt. Instead, this Congress is debating bankruptcy reform measures that would kick families when they're down and desperate for help. The only winners would be the credit card industry, which has aggressively lobbied for the bill in the last six years."

Key resources include:

Borrowing to Make Ends Meet: The Growth of Credit Card Debt in the 90s.This data, not available anywhere else, includes debt averages and growth rates by income, age, and race. Also explains the deregulation revolution in the credit industry and the economic pressures driving families to borrow.

Retiring in the Red: The Growth of Debt Among Older Americans. Retirement insecurity and low savings rates have driven seniors over 65 and Boomers 55-64 to record rates of debt and bankruptcy.

Generation Broke: The Growth of Debt Among Young Americans. Strapped adults under 34 carry unprecedented student loan debt and credit card debt as they enter the workforce, only to meet little job security, low wages and few benefits.

A House of Cards: Refinancing the American Dream. To stay afloat, middle-class homeowners took out billions in equity from their homes during the Refinance Boom. But inflated appraisals, rising interest rates, and the possibility of a housing bubble threaten the security of millions of families.

If you have any questions about content, to request a material reprint, or to book an interview with a researcher or author, please contact Timothy Rusch at (212) 389-1407 or trusch@demos-usa.org.

Related news: Today (Feb. 9) at 2:30 PM in Washington, Senators Kennedy and Durbin hold a news conference on medical debt and bankruptcy. Judiciary Committee hearing on bankruptcy reform to be held tomorrow (Feb. 10) at 9:30 AM.

Demos: A Network for Ideas & Action is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy organization based in New York.

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