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Friday, March 12, 2010

WSJ headline: 'Americans Pare Down Debt'

So THAT's What *Lehman Bros. Did

If all you did was skim The Wall Street Journal's headlines today, you could be mistaken for thinking that the average American's financial health was improving -- sort of like a dieter finally losing those pesky, excess pounds.

The reality is a bit different.

As the Journal article makes clear a couple paragraphs in, the reason household debt is falling dramatically at the moment isn't because consumers are taking out less debt, or repaying what they owe. Rather, it's because they're filing bankruptcy and defaulting, in record numbers, on their mortgages.

If that's nuance (spin?), so is the difference between successfully completing Weight Watchers and having your stomach stapled.

Or having no food to eat (the "ultimate diet," or what used to be called "starving").

*If you didn't know (or already forgot), Lehman Bros. filed for bankruptcy -- the largest in U.S. history -- in September, 2008.

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