This week, Maria Hinojosa speaks with Elizabeth Warren, a leading expert on bankruptcy, debt and the middle class, about why so many American families are ending up in major financial trouble, and what should be done about it.
"You can't buy a toaster today that has a one in ten chance of bursting into flames but you can get a credit card that has the financial effect of a one in ten chance of bursting into flames."
"Bankruptcy is an indicator of how much trouble Americans are having right now with debt and trying to manage their lives on a day to day basis."
"Even families with health insurance are quite vulnerable to a severe economic reversal if someone gets sick."
"Health insurance doesn't provide the kind of protection that we thought it did and the credit card companies are feasting off of middle class families."
"Credit card companies sent off six billion pre-approved credit card offers to American families."
About Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren is the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard University. She has written more than a hundred law review articles, book chapters, reports, and other scholarly articles on a range of commercial law topics. She is the coauthor of three major textbooks in law, three books based on her empirical studies, and two books for general audiences. Her latest book, "All Your Worth," talks with a wide audience about money and was listed on both the Wall Street Journal business book best-seller list and the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list. Her earlier book, "The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are Going Broke," has been the subject of reviews and new stories from Time and Newsweek to Dr. Phil, and it continues to be quoted in Congress and in policy debates.
Warren has been a co-principal investigator on empirical studies funded by the National Science Foundation and more than a dozen private foundations. Warren was reporter to the National Bankruptcy Review Commission, completing a major report to Congress on recommendations for improvements in the bankruptcy system. She served by appointment of Chief Justice Rehnquist as a member of the Judicial Education Committee of the Federal Judicial Center from 1990-1999. She has also served as vice-president of the American Law Institute, and she currently serves on the Executive Board of the National Bankruptcy Conference. The National Law Journal named Professor Warren as one of the Fifty Most Influential Women Attorneys in America.
» Excerpt from Elizabeth Warren's book "All Your Worth" [pdf]