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The Plague of Debt

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Uncontrolled consumer debt is a contagious societal curse that continues to capture far too many susceptible victims in its merciless clasp.

For evidence, consider Utah’s astonishingly high bankruptcy rate.

More than 22-thousand Utahns filed for bankruptcy in 2002, up 14-percent over the previous year. Once again, Utah’s dubious claim to the highest bankruptcy rate in the nation is reinforced.

We shouldn’t be surprised many people find themselves in debt. Credit is easy. The enticement to spend is constant. For many, living within one’s means is an old-fashioned concept. And sadly, the idea of bankruptcy has lost much of its social stigma.

May we suggest a few ways to alter the trend?

First, parents, educators and religious leaders could do a better job of teaching basic principles of personal finance and explaining the pitfalls of excessive borrowing.

Secondly, Congress should continue to work toward reforming the nation’s lenient bankruptcy laws.

Foremost, though, consumers themselves must develop self-discipline and begin to rein in their free-spending impulses.

If managed properly, debt can be a useful tool in contemporary life. But when abused, it becomes as devastating as a terrible plague.

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