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You are looking at a micro-slice of the economy. Back up to get the big picture, and it's truly disturbing. Yes, there is still credit avaialable to consumers with absolutely spotless records....for now. Score over 800 and they'll kiss your hiney just like always. I just got a one year, $25k loan from Chase for 0%. (Convenience check - they make their money because most people don't pay them back in the time requirement and rack up interest charges. I like to disappoint them by using the money for a year, interest free.) Once you get above the spotless consumer level, money is getting hard to find. Banks are not lending to other banks. The CEO of AT&T, the largest telecommunications company in the world, was just in the news yesterday talking about their inability to find 30 or 60 day financing. But industry depends upon the short term paper for everything from bond payments to stock dividends to payroll. Caterpillar just had to pay a full percentage point higher on their latest corporate bonds because the banks simply wouldn't front the cash at their previous lower rate. Caterpillar and AT&T are not exactly deadbeats. This problem may have started from the bottom up, but the credit tightening is starting from the top and will land on all of us with a thud.
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