Paying down debts during the pandemic

Today we look at how you can manage credit card debt. Plus we'll be talking about policy and the impact on Indian Country.
Publish date:

Good news about credit card debt: Americans are paying them off these days. Yet, that good news also comes with tempting offers for more credit. Patrice Kunesh is a lawyer and has banking experience. She established the Center for Indian Country Development at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

John Tahsuda III is a regular contributor to Indian Country Today. In 2002, he worked as the staff director for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. He also is a former principal deputy assistant secretary for Indian Affairs and served in that position from 2017 to 2020. Today he is a partner with Navigators Global, a company that provides political services to several industries including tribes.

A slice of our Indigenous world

  • The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition is launching a six figure ad campaign. 
  • On Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris held a virtual listening session at the White House on the digital divide.
  • The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indian hear from the nation’s top COVID expert.
  • New research suggests Indigenous patients in Canada are facing higher risks of death after surgery.
  • A Maori woman is being named New Zealand’s next governor-general. 
  • As some companies literally start selling tickets to space, the question has come up about what to call the buyers?

Find more details on these stories at the top of today's newscast.

Some quotes from today's show.

John Tahsuda III:

"The first distribution is going out as we speak. I'm told by a number of tribal leaders that they're starting to be informed of their allocations. I'm not sure of the timing of when it will actually hit the tribal accounts at Treasury, but should be any day I would guess. And it's really divided up much as it was in last years in the CARES Act into two pots."

"One which is calculated based on tribal population or enrollment numbers. And the next is based on more on economic factors like employment. And so that the first allocation going out now is based on the tribal enrollment numbers. That's an easy one for Treasury and especially the department of Interior to give numbers and make some calculations on. It's a little over $12 billion I think going out in that chunk."

"The language is slightly different in the American Rescue Plan than it was in the CARES Act which I assume is some lessons learned. The CARES Act funding, and the language authorizing it, was put together extremely quickly last year, as a fast response to the pandemic and the impacts of shutting down the economy. So there's a little more clarification about what qualifies, a little more clarification about who was eligible."

Patrice Kunish:

"This is really a remarkable opportunity for Indian Country and for other underserved communities who haven't had the access to credit or capital for a very, very long time, but it does come with some risks. And I think it's very important that we understand the parameters of this new program.  

"From an economic perspective, this is a rational behavior. When you don't have access to spending opportunities and you're feeling very insecure financially vulnerable, you do tend to pay down your debt. And here Americans overwhelmingly paid their credit cards, paid them on time and paid them in full. But this also had a consequence to the credit card companies."

"They're not making as much money off of interest rates and fees and merchant swipes. So a big part of this is perhaps regenerating the industry. It's also interesting part of a government backed initiative to help stimulate the economy, get credit to these underserved communities and really make sure that we can repair the wreckages of the COVID pandemic."

Thank you for watching!

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Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock, is editor of Indian Country Today. On Twitter: @TrahantReports Trahant is based in Phoenix. 

Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is executive producer of Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter: @WiteSpider.

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