Next to election results, the most important numbers for many Americans may be their credit scores.
There's at least one very simple lesson for average Americans in the Wall Street/subprime mess: Some of us are pretty clueless about how credit works, and we need to fix that.
As a nation, maybe we need to add a ''C'' to the traditional curriculum of the Three R's. That's ''C'' as in credit and how to use it wisely and well. Flunking this financial basic helped land us in our current predicament.
To be sure, many of us do handle credit responsibly. ...
What's worrying is that more than a third of those who do carry balances of more than $10,000 on their cards have annual incomes under $50,000, according to MSN Money columnist Liz Pulliam Weston.
While we're at it, a word to the credit card pushers: You helped get us into this, too. You should do your part to help get us out.
Enough of the weasel wording on credit offers that is specifically designed to push less-than-careful consumers into usurious interest rates. Enough of the offers to high school students with no work history.
Now, the credit card industry is shutting off credit even to those with perfect credit scores because it's no longer a license to print money.
This won't do, either.
Just as Sputnik launched a generation of scientific and mathematics education in this country in the 1950s, the debt debacle should provide the painful boost to lift financial education to greater emphasis in our schools.
That is the long-term answer and a wise investment in our future.