How Americans Really Live

Two authors argue that what is driving Americans into debt is not 'superficial luxury spending but necessities.'
September 6, 2003, 11am PDT | Connie Chung
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"There is little doubt that some Americans are spending ostentatiously. But..it is appropriate to debunk the oversimplification." The authors of 'The Two-Income Trap' (Basic Books),claim that "most Americans do not fit the bill" and "provide a clear-eyed correction to the myth of far-flung affluence. "The fact is that it is not only the poor and working poor who are not faring well in America. Many of those in the middle, especially two-income families, are having trouble making ends meet, despite the boom of the 1990's. The authors argue that families are spending more on "a house in a safe neighborhood with a good school....The scarcity of good schooling has created a bidding war that drives up house prices in first-rate school districts." Other factors driving spending include day care and preschool and health insurance.

Thanks to Connie Chung

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Published on Friday, September 5, 2003 in The New York Times
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