- The Washington Times - Monday, April 17, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Federal Reserve released data earlier this month showing that Americans owe more than $1 trillion in debt on their credit cards, up 6.2 percent from a year ago.

And headlines from various media outlets suggest rising interest rates are to blame. Not so. Not really. Note to consumers: Quit signing up for slavery.

Stop using credit cards for dumb purchases.

While interest rates do have an impact on the level of debt owed by consumers, the real root of consumer debt is — pure and simple — the consumer.

If you don’t have credit cards, the rising interest rates won’t affect you. If you pay off balances at the end of the month, the interest rates won’t have an impact.

The problem is not the rate. The problem is the consumer spending habit.

The New York Post reported that the average monthly balance for American credit card holders who don’t pay off their balances each month is $9,600.

“A year ago, a credit card holder making only minimum payments shelled out about $1,185 in annual interest, on average, said Ben Woolsey of CreditCards.com,” the New York Post reported.

And when the Federal Reserve hikes points, the consumer feels an immediate pinch. In recent times, the Fed has increased rates by a quarter three successive times — leaving consumers paying hundreds of dollars in interest each year on their credit cards.

As Breitbart noted, credit card debt is at its highest level since January 2009.

And take note: The coming year isn’t likely to bring much relief for credit card holders. The Federal Reserve is expected to hike interest rates a couple more times before the end of the year.

Here’s a principle Americans ought to keep in mind before sliding or inserting that card at the retailer: Debt is slavery.

Get out of debt; win back your freedom.

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