Paying for the Other Guy's Christmas Presents
From the S.C.R.O.O.G.E. website in 1998
Still on the subject of credit cards and holiday spending, over 1.3 million households in the United States filed for bankruptcy in 1997, partially a result of the huge number of credit cards readily available to virtually anybody who can sign a name (1.5 billion cards circulating out there, a 300% increase just since 1980). The plastic money seems to come out in earnest every November and December, as even cautious folks seem to lose self-control. Bankruptcy costs the U.S. economy over $40 billion annually, a hidden tax of $400 per household when these costs are passed on to consumers, as they usually are. So, when you add up your own holiday expenses in January, throw in a nice chunk of cash for gifts that other people bought on credit but then couldn't pay for.