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Every American has the right to participate in the United States’ prosperity and enjoy the benefits of financial security. Unfortunately, far too many are now caught in a “culture of indebtedness.” The symptoms include a negative national savings rate, in spite of being in the fifth year of a recovery; the popularity of overdraft payment programs; and the growth of payday lenders from fewer than 1,000 stores to more than 25,000 in 2006. How can we rekindle the “culture of savings” that built America’s middle class? However we do it, it must be a balanced approach that includes regulatory changes and financial literacy.

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