The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Plastic is hypnotic

Pay God first

The proliferation of plastic money in the U.S. is amazing. Many people get three or four credit card applications every week because they’re a gold mine for the companies that distribute them. Their return on investment is usually 12 percent to 22 percent.

No one in their right mind would buy a home or car at such rates as these, but millions of Americans carry a large debt and seem oblivious to the robber rates levied on their unpaid balances. For some people, plastic money has an almost hypnotic quality.

In 1992, Americans had about $273 billion in credit card debt, and in 2005 that number was well over $800 billion, according to a November 2005 CBS News report. That total is increasing every day. An article this year in The New York Times reported that the average U.S. family now is living on 103 percent of its annual income. How can this be? Answer: credit cards.

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