One of the near-universal experiences of American life today is personal debt. At a time when personal savings are actually negative, personal debt has risen by 262% since 1980—since 2000 alone, from 96 percent of disposable income to 126 percent, a record high. Credit cards are one of the leading causes for this rise in personal debt, with Americans owing some $813 billion in credit card debt. Today, 144 million Americans have credit cards, and the typical household has twelve of them. Sixty percent of households with credit cards—about 90 million Americans—do not pay their full outstanding balances regularly. Not surprisingly, the companies that finance credit card debt are reporting record profits.
Maxed Out shows how the modern financial industry really works, explains the true definition of “preferred customer” and tells us why the poor are getting poorer and the rich getting richer. By turns hilarious and profoundly disturbing, Maxed Out paints a picture of a national nightmare which is all too real for most of us. Maxed Out won critical acclaim at the South by Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas in March, and Simon & Schuster plans to publish a memoir based on Director James Scurlock’s interviews and travels during the making of the film next year. Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post, calls Maxed Out a “riveting examination of America’s debt problem.” Sally Foster of Film Threat says that “Maxed Out is a skillful intertwining of facts, interviews and vignettes, ultimately coming together to form a picture of our country’s current financial state.”
Please join us for a provocative panel discussion and Q&A session immediately following the film.
Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN)
Kirsten Keefe, Executive Director, Americans for Fairness in Lending
Janne O’Donnell, Advocate featured in Maxed Out
James D. Scurlock, Director and Producer, Maxed Out
Kimberley Warden, Vice President for Federal Affairs, Center for Responsible Lending
Dr. Christian E. Weller, Senior Economist, Center for American Progress
Anna Soellner, Director of outreach and special events, Center for American Progress