Debt | St. Louis Public Radio


The Rev. Starsky Wilson spoke at the Parents United for Change meeting Wednesday March 14, 2018.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Low-income families who live in public housing in East St. Louis are burdened by hidden fees that keep them trapped in debt, according to a survey conducted by the Stepping Out of Poverty campaign.

To help families escape the escalating debts, a group of East St. Louis parents is fighting the housing authority fees they say prevent families from moving and keep people impoverished. Parents United for Change have met with the East St. Louis Housing Authority to negotiate new policies that would limit the fees.

GotCredit | Flickr |

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis just released a report about various kinds of debt and how it is impacting different populations in St. Louis, Memphis, Little Rock and Louisville. Spoiler alert: yes, student loan debt is still crippling the younger generation…as are car loans.

As the report points out, the delinquency rate for young borrowers has increased since before the recession. Such delinquency rates can mean a host of problems in accessing credit and the ability to save as young Americans start their adult lives.

Attorney General Chris Koster speaks a press conference Thursday in St. Louis with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri's Dan Glaizer.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster wants a Supreme Court committee to alter court procedures surrounding debt collections. It’s an initiative that Koster says is an extension a public policy push emanating from the unrest in Ferguson.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Americans who are paying off private student loans might find insights into their complicated monthly statements in a recent annual report published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Private loans have drawn the scrutiny of Rohit Chopra, the student loan ombudsman for the bureau, a federal agency established by Congress in 2010 to oversee the consumer financial industry.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The continuing debate over government austerity programs recalls John Maynard Keynes observation that “madmen in authority … are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The email arrived unsolicited. A friend forwarded it to my inbox after he’d received it from a mutual acquaintance. Nobody seems to know who wrote the thing originally. Attribution is apparently not a high priority among internet theorists.

Like so many of the factoids circulating through cyberspace, the text was intended to be read in cursory fashion and then shared with others as revealed truth. This particular missive sought to compare the nation’s financial situation to a family budget. It concluded — wrongly — that pending federal cuts equated to a $38.50 reduction in spending for a household making $21,700 a year.

Morning headlines: Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jan 19, 2012

Ill. unpaid bills top $4.2 billion in Comptroller's office

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says there are  even more bills piled up in other government departments. She said Wednesday the state's overall backlog is about $8.5 billion. That means organizations that provide services for the state, from businesses to hospitals to charity groups, must wait months to be paid for their work. Topinka's office is still paying bills that date back to Sept. 1 - four and a half months ago.

Michael Lidell (L) and attorney William Douthit (C) watch as Supt. Kelvin Adams announces an agreement that allows the SLPS to use $96 million from the settlement of a desegregation lawsuit to pay off debt and fund education initiatives.
Julie Linder/St. Louis Public Schools

For the first time in a decade, the St. Louis Public Schools will be debt-free.

Superintendent Kelvin Adams announced today that the district has entered an agreement with the plaintiffs in a 1972 case over the district's segregation policies that frees up $96 million for debt reduction and district operations.

Commenary: How to fix America's debt problem

Oct 18, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 18, 2011 - The U.S. debt problem is getting larger, and we need a serious plan to bring it under control. Since 2008, the national deficit has soared from an average of 2.9 percent of the GDP since 1960 to 10 percent in 2010.

To pay for the deficit, the federal government must borrow. Since the beginning of the recession in 2008, the national debt has ballooned from 40 percent to more than 70 percent in 2011. It had remained below 50 percent of GDP during most of the post-war period until 2008.

Commentary: Solving the U.S. debt puzzle

Oct 5, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 5, 2011 - This summer, Americans witnessed the political theater of Congress and the president at loggerheads over raising the legal debt ceiling. While many liberals thought Obama caved in to the demands of the tea party-influenced GOP; Americans, on the whole, were dismayed when Standard and Poor's used the partisan wrangling over the debt ceiling as a pretext for downgrading the federal government's credit rating.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

On Saturday, Standard and Poor's downgraded the debt of the United States a notch.

But the ratings firm continues to see debt issued by the city of St. Louis as a good investment, though vulnerable to economic shocks.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 7, 2011 - When the debt debate was grinding on in Washington, and everyone was saying a resolution was needed to calm fears in the markets, investors weren't exactly overjoyed, but they didn't panic.

But just two days after the deal was done, stocks went into freefall, with the Dow having its worst day on Thursday since 2008, wiping out all of its gains for the year. Friday, the markets gyrated wildly, rising on a better-than-expected jobs report, then plunging again, then rebounding to end up in positive territory.

Brent Jones | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 29, 2011 - WASHINGTON - All the sound and fury in Congress over paying what some call "the nation's credit card bill" raises two obvious questions: Who ran up the debt, and what were the biggest charges?

Given the government's budget surplus in 2000 -- and the fact that the administrations both of Presidents George W. Bush, a Republican, and Barack Obama, a Democrat, added to the debt during every year they were in office -- the blame falls on both parties, experts say.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 28, 2011 - WASHINGTON - With House Republicans divided over their own leader's plan and congressional Democrats sweating the fast-approaching deadline, the road to solving the debt-ceiling crisis seemed likely to turn on a last-ditch compromise.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 15, 2011 - While area members of Congress are in Washington enmeshed in the debates over federal budgets and debt ceilings, their offices back home are under civil siege.

Local groups and individuals on both sides have shown up to hold rallies, wave placards -- or just talk -- to make clear their views on the financial matters.

Quinn: Approve borrowing or lose local tax revenue

Apr 29, 2011

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn wants to suspend about $1 billion in state income tax payments to cities and counties unless he gets legislative approval to borrow billions of dollars to pay overdue bills.

Quinn floated the plan in draft legislation he showed lawmakers earlier this week. It was first reported by the Chicago Tribune.

A three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals has dismissed two lawsuits filed by Attorney General Chris Koster that argued debt collection companies were violating the state's Merchandising Practices Act.

The rulings appear to be the first time a state court has considered whether the MPA applies to third-party actors like debt collectors.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 19, 2008 - They didn't pass the hat after Tuesday night's screening of the documentary "I.O.U.S.A.'' at the Missouri History Museum, but audience members did learn what their individual share of the country's nearly $60 trillion fiscal hole will be, come January: $184,000.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 14, 2008 - A parody from "Saturday Night Live" is one of the more amusing scenes used by the filmmakers of the documentary "I.O.U.S.A." to explain in understandable language the causes and effects of the ever-growing U.S. national debt, which as of today, stands at just under $53 trillion.

Commentary: Welcome to the Ownership Society

Sep 18, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 18, 2008 - I do not know about you, but I am in a pickle about the economy. On one hand, I read as of earlier today (05:13:33 PM GMT Sept. 18, 2008, to be exact), my share of the national debt is $31,642.25. And that's on top of all my other bills!