Opinion: In search of equilibrium

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The squeeze is on. It happens in most things. A competitive sporting event might find the participants in a vice between a soon-to-expire clock and a run down the field that might require more than the time remaining.  The young paramour might find his inability to make a decision at odds with the object of his affection’s desire to elevate their relationship to something more permanent. The pressure to commit is palpable. At home, many of us feel the tension between increasing prices and stagnant income. How can we hold our position against the forces pulling against us? Are we doomed to living a lower standard of life than we were just a few weeks ago? Can we stop the bleeding?

That cabal of bankers around the world that sets the rates of interest for borrowers of all sorts has continued to ramp up the cost of debt. For Americans, it tends to manifest most immediately in credit cards, where the rates can move up without constraint. One of the nation’s largest providers of consumer credit now demands 25.24 percent interest on balances and 29.99 percent for cash. A loan shark might blush. Affordable payments that were once attacking principle are now insufficient to cover interest.

In December of 2021, many — including this writer — called out the looming problem on the horizon. To be sure, some of us overspend, some are debt-free, and others still are caught in the vortex of changes to their financial situation that are beyond control and prediction. The question, it might seem, is how and if we share in the cost? Do we demand higher wages, thus higher costs of goods and services for our customers? In turn, do they do the same? Who sacrifices the most? With winners and losers, what is the best equilibrium?


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