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When Hurricane Katrina ravaged America's Gulf Coast, it laid bare an uncomfortable reality-America is not only far from the world's wealthiest nation; it is crumbling beneath a staggering burden of individual and government debt. Maxed Out takes us on a journey deep inside the American debt-style, where everything seems okay as long as the minimum monthly payment arrives on time. Sure, most of us may have that sinking feeling that something isn't quite right, but we're told not to worry. After all, there's always more credit! Maxed Out shows how the modern financial industry really works, explains the true definition of "preferred customer" and tells us why the poor are getting poorer and the rich getting richer. By turns hilarious and profoundly disturbing, Maxed Out paints a picture of a national nightmare which is all too real for most of us. Written by
Have you seen the new card that they're talking about putting out now-where you can get a credit card against your pension account, so that, when you go and charge it, it automatically, if you don't pay, will be withdrawn from the money you've put aside for your retirement? This is one more way that we're trying to string together with chewing gum and bailing wire to keep the American family looking like it's afloat long after it is really sunk with debt.
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I can think of no better day than today to review this excellent documentary. You see, today is the day after Thanksgiving 2008; what many call "Black Friday." It is the day many of us sink further into debt buying crap our friends and family probably don't need nor want. Couple that with a destabilizing economy and you've got serious issues to think about. The question we need to ask ourselves is "why?" Why do we feel the need to spend more than we make (or may ever make)? The tough answer is here in MAXED OUT, writer/director James D. Scurlock's first feature length documentary.
I think many of us know the answer but simply refuse to acknowledge it: we want to keep up with the Jones'. They have a new car, we need a new car. They have a new washer/dryer, we need a new one. It is a cycle being perpetuated by the credit industry and we, the consumers, have been drawn to it like moths to a flamethrower.
Maxed Out gives us insights that should make one angry and fearful. Predatory lenders like MBNA, Capitol One, and other credit card companies target those that are least likely to be able to afford credit. Why? Because these are the people who max out their cards then pay the minimum monthly amounts until ...either bankrupt or death do them part. It's a marriage made in Hell and it continues to this day. College students who enter a new campus are likely to find tables set up near their dorms offering sign ups for new credit cards. Why? Again, because they can't afford it (sadly these are the people who end up in the worst situations, often dangling from their necks in dorm room closets).
Add to this fact that we are now in the worst financial/debt crisis in U.S. history (end of 2008) and is there any wonder why? George Bush and his buddies at MBNA passed a new law that puts tighter restrictions on filing for bankruptcy, making those who really need assistance the least likely to get it (but it's okay to spend 700 billion taxpayer dollars to bail out banks that caused this debacle). Heinous. And do the credit card companies have to answer to anyone? Morally or ethically? Not that I've seen.
This is a documentary well worth your while. And at a quick 89 minutes, it won't eat up a lot of your precious time ...like those credit card bills will.
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