Documentary ‘In Debt We Trust’ Opens Nationally at The Little March 30

Credit card expert Robert Manning and RIT students featured in Danny Schecter film




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A. Sue Weisler

Robert Manning

America is facing the financial consequences of a “Double Bubble”
where falling housing prices and bloated mortgage payments
are squeezing consumers already burdened with record household debt.

—Robert D. Manning
Research professor, consumer financial services
RIT’s E. Philip Saunders College of Business

Americans are maxing out on credit cards—facing skyrocketing mortgage payments and being strangled by debt.

Debt is the primary focus of In Debt We Trust: America Before the Bubble Bursts, a hard-hitting documentary produced by Danny Schecter (director of the acclaimed WMD, Weapons of Mass Destruction, 2004).

Inspired by the book, Credit Card Nation, by Professor Robert D. Manning of Rochester Institute of Technology, In Debt We Trust makes its nationwide premiere in Rochester at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 30 at the Little Theatre—followed by a question and answer “Rough Cut” reception in the Little Café. The film is scheduled for a limited-run through Thursday, April 4, and then it will be released across the country.

“The collapse of the sub-prime lending market foreshadows an impending ripple throughout the U.S. economy as the end of easy credit will force millions of Americans to abruptly curtail their credit dependent lifestyles,” says Manning, a leading critic of the nation’s financial services industry and professor of consumer financial services and director of the Center for Consumer Financial Services at RIT’s E. Philip Saunders College of Business.

In Debt We Trust made its campus debut last October at RIT, after opening in the summer at the Nantucket Film Festival.

“The film provides important insights into the marketing strategies of the credit card industry, role of the U.S. Congress in permitting deceptive and exploitive lending practices, as well as the subsequent impact of soaring consumer debt on young people and the future of our society,” explains Manning, editorial advisor for the film.

“But viewers won’t go home without some answers,” he says. “We also suggest ways to avoid the traps of debt and dependency and encourage Americans to re-examine the role of credit and consumption in their daily lives. We may be sounding the alarm, but we are answering it with the organization of the ‘Fair and responsible lending’ campaign at www.stopthesqueeze.org.

Earlier this year, Manning enhanced his visibility when he was called to Washington to testify before Sen. Dodd’s (D-CT) Senate Banking Committee on credit card industry practices and consumer impact. Manning will be interviewed this week by CNN’s Paula Zahn, who is preparing an investigative, 3-part series called “Debtor Nation.”

For more information about the In Debt We Trust premiere at The Little, contact Molly Weimer, RIT Center for Consumer Financial Services, centers.cob.rit.edu, at (585) 475-4342 or mweimer@saunders.rit.edu.

Editor’s Note: Robert D. Manning-Credit Card Industry—RIT PODCAST available at: www.thetigerbeat.com/rss/podcasts/robert_manning_interview.mov

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A. Sue Weisler

Robert Manning