In the News

His main point is that there now exists a global "party of Davos" (Davos being the Swiss ski resort where politicians, businesspeople, journalists, and scholars gather every January for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum), whose members have more in common with each other than with the peoples of their home countries.

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Tamara Draut, author of "Strapped: Why America's 20-and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead," spoke to TIP SHEET's Linda Stern about how the young can save.

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The fact that it is not only the super-rich, but the very comfortable who are spending such large sums on gifts and parties is understandable, said Robert H. Frank, author of several books including Luxury Fever: Why Money Fails to Satisfy in an Era of Excess. "When everyone else is spending more, in order for you to achieve a standard, the bar is ratcheted up. People just below the top are close enough that they're influenced."

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Philadelphia Inquirer

According to a riveting study by a pair of national not-for-profit, nonpartisan organizations, about one-third of all U.S. households categorized as low-income or middle-income are racking up credit card debt to pay for basic living expenses.

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In stark contrast to their parents' generation, for whom comparing incomes can be awkward, if not downright taboo, bloggers list financial information down to the dollar in retirement, brokerage, and savings accounts. They recommend investments, decry credit-card debt, and wallow together over high taxes, commenting on one another's postings and leaving behind a road map for financial voyeurs.

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If you think Strapped is some sort of exercise in masochism, you're partly right. After all, what 18-to-35-year-old needs to be told (in great statistical detail) how increasingly hard it is to get established as an independent adult these days?

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Callahan makes a strong case that the 1980s, with their new emphasis on 'leaner, meaner' companies and dog-eat-dog competition, created an atmosphere that makes cheating almost seem inevitable...Well-researched and very readable chapters on corruption in the sports world, in health care, on resumes, and elsewhere.

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Draut, at Demos, said she was worried by the latest Fed report's findings that 'growing numbers of American households face mounting debt and financial instability.'

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Considering that a staple belief in American society is that each generation ends up a bit better off than the previous one, Draut's charge is remarkable. And it's also largely nonsense.

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Draut, now Director of the Economic Opportunity Program at the New York think tank Demos, has made it her mission to show the world that debt is dogging most young adults in the U.S. She piles up statistics to prove her point in her recent book Strapped: Why America's 20-and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead.

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