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Pundits, journalists and even economists have strained to find the reasons for our nation’s economic meltdown, stumbling over tortured concepts like “structured investment vehicles” and “collateralized debt.”

The underlying problem is much simpler. In fact, it can be described in six words: The corporate search for cheap labor. While some people may have overextended themselves by taking out loans on their homes or piling up credit card debt for non-essentials, millions of Americans had no choice but to survive through debt. They needed to pay for health care, college tuition and car repairs. Why? Because even working two or three jobs, they aren’t paid sufficiently to support their families. Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren repeatedly has discussed how the majority of personal bankruptcies happen after a medical crisis or job loss, rather than because of too many 124-inch flat screen TV sets. continue reading

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