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Sometime in the 1970s and 1980s, the use of credit cards, which hadbegun as a convenience, began to grow into an addiction.Collateral Damaged: The Marketing of Consumer Debt toAmerica explains how a nation of savers became a nation ofconsumers and how Wall Street used consumers' addiction to spendingto create the "toxic securities" that threaten to bring about thecollapse of the global economy.

Geisst looks at the policy implications of the credit crisis anddescribes how the United States can get its fiscal house inorder:

  • Debt must be brought back onto the issuer's balance sheet.
  • Investors must have the assurance of recourse to the debtissuer's own funds, rather than the empty promise of a valuelessdocument.
  • Regulators must be educated to know at least as much aboutfinancial engineering as the structured finance instruments'architects do.

This book connects the dots from consumer spending to creditcards to home-equity loans and back to credit cards.

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