UPDATE II: We have corrected the chart, to show credit card debt on a per-household basis, rather than on an aggregate basis as we originally had. As you can see, the growth in credit card debt still dwarves median household income growth since 1980.
*UPDATE: As several readers have noted, this chart compares an aggregate national figure with a per-household figure. This is an apples-and-oranges comparison. We apologise for the illogic and thank to our readers for catching it. We’ll fix the chart on Monday.
EARLIER: Americans built up a lot of spending power over the last three decades, but it wasn’t because they started earning more money. As today’s chart starkly illustrates, credit card debt has exploded, making up for more modest gains in median household income. As you can see, for the very first time in history, credit card debt is creeping down, though it has a long way to go. And of course, this doesn’t even include home all the home equity loans Americans used in place of the ATM. (Both lines are based on non-adjusted numbers)
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