“Maxed Out” is a documentary that has interviews with experts such as consumer advocate (and now senator) Elizabeth Warren and radio host Dave Ramsey. There also are interviews with credit card victims such as college students and poor farm families. This review will give a summary of this documentary’s conclusion that credit card debt can be a modern form of legal, bank sponsored usury.
The interviews in this 87 minute documentary show how hard it can be to pay off credit card debt. Repayment is difficult because of the various credit card fees and the exorbitant interest on credit card balances.
“Maxed Out” reveals how banking corporations use their massive campaign contributions to elect politicians. These politicians then create the guidelines that allow the banks and credit card companies to maintain their predatory lending practices.
It becomes apparent from the interviews that some people are more vulnerable than others to this usury. Those who are struggling financially, for example, are more vulnerable to credit card usury than those who are financially well off. Also, young people, due to their financial inexperience and impulsiveness, are more likely to become victims of this type of predatory lending.
Even those who are more mature and better off financially can become credit card abusers for reasons such as:
- A divorce.
- The death of a bread winning spouse.
- An expensive, uninsured medical emergency.
- A job loss.
Those who have no debt and who have a substantial amount of money saved will be less likely to fall into financially toxic credit card debt. Unfortunately, slick advertising causes too many people to buy when they should save. This advertising convinces them to spend more than they should spend, and to confuse their needs with their greeds. To exploit their human weaknesses, agents of the advertising industry cynically use subconscious, psychological motivation in their carefully crafted advertising campaigns.
This documentary was released in 2006 and the credit excesses it documented eventually contributed to not only individual debt problems, but also to national debt problems. Examples are the recession and the housing bubble.
Watching “Maxed Out” will help viewers to acquire the strength to live within their means and to say, “We can’t afford it.”