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Troubled Economy May Worsen Consumer Debt Problems

Americans are falling behind on consumer debt. Economists point to slow job growth and declining home prices as part of the problem. But Americans have also been used to decades of easy, abundant cred

Troubled Economy May Worsen Consumer Debt Problems

Tom Fudge: There's been a lot of news about the economy lately. And most of it seems to be bad. In fact, some articles quote experts who believe we're on the cusp of a recession. This morning we read that the dollar has lost value, and oil prices have gone up to nearly $80 a barrel.

Last week, we got news from the labor department that the nation lost thousands of jobs between July and August of this year. It was the first employment decline since 2003. What does all that mean for you and for San Diego?


Debt is something nearly all of us have these days, and it's not necessarily a bad thing. If you owe money on a house, for instance, that tends to be a good financial position to be in. Home ownership gives you certain tax breaks and investment opportunities. But what if your mortgage interest rates are going up, and your home is worth less than you paid for it? What if you owe thousands of dollars on credit cards that you don't pay off every month?


  • Marney Cox, chief economist for the San Diego Association of Governments, which is also known as SANDAG .
  • Gary Symington, president of Debt-Free America , a non-profit community service organization based in San Diego, which offers free credit counseling and financial literacy education to consumers nationwide.