...everyone should watch this movie. And I mean everyone. We should duct tape GWB to an uncomfortable chair to watch this film.
I'll admit, I've had Maxed Out on loan from Netflix for too long now. Knowing that it wasn't going to be a pleasant happy-go-lucky type film prevented me from watching it before now. But being that I was already in a shoddy mood to start with today, I figured what the hell. What could it hurt?
And as I predicted, I was angered--rightfully so. The stories in this documentary will make you cry. Women talking about their college student children who committed suicide after being suckered into credit cards on campus, a woman whose husband died and she's facing forclosure, a woman who lost her mother after the woman became so embroiled in debt that she drove her car into a river. The stories go on and on.
It's not that these stories are the shocking exceptions to the rule--it's that these stories are the rule themselves. Too many Americans spend their entire lives robbing Peter to pay Paul. I'll admit--I'm one of them. I hope one day not to be, but I am. Mom and Dad SG are in that group. And it's a terrifying existence at times...terrifying.
Having worked for a debt purchaser in the past and knowing their ways of not only doing business, but of creating a system where they have poor people calling poor people to pay their bills (it's sickening really) and the ways in which they motivate with a carrot and a stick--only the carrot is a paycheck and the donkey is a person on the brink of financial and personal ruin--I can tell you that it is more sinister than even this film portrayed. They did follow some debt collectors, but honestly they were small time. (Odds are they're the only ones who would allow the cameras to follow them.) But if they picked on the big debt buyers--America's 21st Century Sin Eaters--they'd find out that these predatory practices are more engrained in their culture more than imagined.
So what can you do?
First, rent this film.
Second, educate yourself.
Third, talk about it. This issue is one of the reasons I started this blog. The complete pulverization of the middle and working classes transcends race, gender, sexual orientation and national origin (though all of those are compounding factors) and in a sad way unites us all against the haves as we become the have-nots. The more we legitimize this topic in our every day conversations, the better the chances of something being done. Don't just talk to me--talk to your elected officials.
Talk loud, talk often.