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Forgive Us Our Trespasses?
The Rise of Consumer Debt in Modern America

(Released February 2009)

 
  by Matthew Ruben  

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Glossary

Consumer Debt: Household credit that remains outstanding and is used to fund consumption rather than investment.

Debt-to-Income Ratio: The percentage of a consumer's gross monthly income that goes toward paying debts.

Disposable Income: The amount of income left after such deductions as income tax, pension contributions and national insurance.

Group of Thirty: An international body of leading financiers and academics which aims to deepen understanding of economic and financial issues and to examine consequences of decisions made in the public and private sectors related to these issues. The Group of Thirty provides recommendations to state and international leaders on issues related to banking and financial markets.

Keynesian Economics: Economic theory following the principles of John Maynard Keynes, characterized by a belief in active government intervention in economic matters. Keynes argued that the solution to economic depression was to stimulate the economy through government expenditures as well as reduced interest rates.

New Deal: The programs and policies to promote economic recovery and social reform introduced during the 1930s in the U.S. by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Property Lien: A kind of security interest (legal right) granted over an item of property to secure the payment of a debt.

Revolving Credit: A type of credit that does not have a fixed number of payments, as with credit cards. Typically, the borrower may use or withdraw funds up to a pre-approved credit limit, and the amount of available credit decreases and increases as funds are borrowed and then repaid. Credit "revolves" because it may be used repeatedly.

Securities: In finance, instruments giving to their legal holders rights to money or other property. Securities include stocks, bonds, notes, mortgages, bills of lading, and bills of exchange.

Securitization: The process of creating a financial instrument by combining other financial assets ("bundling") and then marketing them to investors.

Underwriting: The process by which investment bankers raise investment capital from investors on behalf of corporations and governments that are issuing securities (both equity and debt).

Usury: The practice of lending money and charging the borrower interest, especially at an exorbitant or illegally high rate.

Glossary Sources:
American Heritage Dictionary (Houghton Mifflin)
Biz/ed. http://www.bized.co.uk/cgi-bin/glossarydb/search.pl
The Economist. http://www.economist.com/research/economics