Over the past 25 years, household debt in America has risen significantly. From the 1950s until the 1980s, the ratio of debt to disposable income held steady at between 60 and 65 percent. By 2001, this figure hit 100 percent, and five years later, the amount reached 130 percent. This explosion was due in part to borrowers’ easy access to credit, which added an extra $6 trillion to the collective debt between 2000 and 2008. The collapse of the subprime mortgage industry and resultant epidemic of unemployment made it difficult for people to pay off what they owed. As a result, many defaulted on their loans and other financial obligations.
In addition to personal debt, government debt has also plays a major role in our current economic situation. The country’s percentage of debt to gross domestic product increased from 60 to 100 percent. However, this occurred in less than a decade, and it shows no sign of decreasing. Programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid serve as some of America’s most expensive policies.
The former Chief Executive Officer of the Oppenheimer Fund and of Renaissance Institutional Management, LLC, Stephen Robert understands many facets of the economy. Currently the Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Source of Hope Foundation, Robert has analyzed the recent economic crisis in depth.