Millions of Americans live with personal debt of some kind, and regardless of whether that debt is due to student loans, medical bills or other expenses, it can become crippling. Tennesseeans are not exempt from this problem, as countless residents struggle to make ends meet due to accumulation of debt. While personal financial matters are usually complex, has the issue trickled into other aspects of life?
For many, maintaining a driver’s license has become a new problem all on its own. Last month, Slate magazine focused on an angle of personal debt that might otherwise be overlooked: that of the suspension of drivers’ licenses. Although arguably part of a deeper problem involving power imbalances among states and institutions, the issue of revoking drivers’ licenses stems largely from poverty. In many cases, Slate points out that tickets only spark a vicious cycle of debt, where drivers first face overwhelming fees for driving without insurance. There are slim chances that these drivers can afford their first ticket, but most states are hardly empathetic; some drivers fail to appear in court as a result of personal debt, which only prolongs the issue. Revealing the counterproductive aspects of license suspension, Slate adds that millions of drivers are left without a legal way to get to work or take their children to school — a cycle of debt that has no end aside from reform. In Tennessee, lawmakers are challenging a 2012 law that enforces debt-driven suspensions.
PBS News Hour also weighed in on impending credit card debt, and the ways Americans find themselves waist-deep in financial problems that can take years to escape. While many agree that credit card debt is more of a red flag than student loan debt, not everyone is on the same page with disclosing personal debt information to life partners. PBS elaborates on the ways personal debt affects couples, especially when marriage plans arise. Many couples avoid discussing money matters, only to find that a partner hid a major debt issue in the past. To avoid financial burdens, PBS concludes that openness about money can save a multitude of issues (and possibly a marriage) in the future. Money problems are certainly an important topic in today’s world, but learning about current economic issues can equip consumers in cases of debt crises.