The whole system encourages debt, so get on board, young people. The federal debt is closing in on $17 trillion. The IRS allows write-offs for mortgage interest payments and for interest on loans taken out for businesses including term loans, lines of credit and mortgages. And the system pretty much demands that you go into debt before you even think about taking out a loan to buy a house.
This is how nutty the system gets: Cameron Burnside, a 30-year-old Utah real estate agent whose business depends on customers who have a good credit history, ordered three credit cards as soon as he turned 18 and told his mother to use them during the two years he was out of the country serving a Mormon mission — a gas card, a Visa card through his credit union, and a bank card.
"I told my mom to use one of the cards every month and pay it off at the end of the month so there would be no interest payments," he says. "I had a two-year credit history when I got back."
It's just one of the silly games people have to play in a bizarre system we have learned to accept as "normal."
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