Consumer debt is rising in the U.S., and the reaction to this news has been both heated and predictable: “Americans in record debt: It’s our own fault,” read one headline in a conservative publication last week. A business website went with something more colorful: “The State of the American Debt Slaves, Q4 2019.” And presidential candidates have chimed in to express concern.
Here are some data points: Household debt has hit a record high, totaling $14.2 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2019. Overall last year, household debt balances increased by $601 billion, marking the largest annual increase since 2007. Households have been adding debt for 22 consecutive quarters.