In the News

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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"Becoming an adult today takes longer, requires taking more risks, and is rife with more stumbling blocks than it was a generation ago," writes Tamara Draut in Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30-Somethings Aren't Making It.

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A 2005 study by the nonpartisan public policy group, Demos, called "Home Insecurity: How Widespread Appraisal Fraud Puts Homeowners at Risk," shows that nearly half of all appraisers report some pressure from lender and broker communities to overstate values, and that appraisers who don't play this game are often blacklisted or go unpaid.

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Lawmakers frustrated over China's trade policies got something from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke they seldom received from predecessor Alan Greenspan: sympathy.

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With many people facing increasing levels of debt and more stringent bankruptcy laws making it more difficult to eliminate even crippling levels of debt, being on the same general financial page is more important than ever.

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Ambling said the best money advice she can give someone is: "If you don't have it, don't spend it. People have to learn to say no."

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