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Sarah Lazare – Americans Are Drowning in Credit Card Debt, and It’s Not Because They Are ‘Irresponsible’

Amid soaring inequality [3] and stagnant wages [4], consumers in the United States collectively accumulated a stunning $34.4 billion in credit card debt during the second quarter of 2016 alone, according to a new report [5] from the personal finance website WalletHub.

This high number represents the greatest second-quarter accumulation since at least 1986, when such data was first recorded, and positions U.S. consumers to surpass “$1 trillion in outstanding balances for the first time by the end of 2016,” the report states.

WalletHub predicts that by the end of 2016, this trajectory will “push the average amount owed by indebted households to a perilous $8,500.”

Contrary to the popular belief that individual irresponsibility drives debt accumulation, research shows that structural inequalities play a key role.

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