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March 1st, 2010
07:00 PM ET

Is hiding debt the same as cheating?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Hiding debt could hurt a relationship more than adultery.

It's no secret that Americans are swimming in credit card debt - but a piece on CNNMoney.com describes how some husbands, wives and even children try to keep the debt a secret from their loved ones.

One expert says hidden debt is "a form of cheating so subtle you don't even know you're doing it."

The problem is when one half of a couple tries to hide debt, it's impossible to keep it hidden forever. This article describes one case where a Dallas woman started racking up thousands of dollars in debt behind her husband's back.

She opened up a credit card and started shopping to relieve stress - planning to pay it off each month. Well, that didn't happen... And her husband found out her secret when he checked the family's credit report; he says it was a slap in the face.

In other cases - one spouse might rack up credit card debt in order to get a small business off the ground... only to be discovered when the family goes to take out a loan, etc.

And, it's not just spouses who lie about money. Children sometimes do it too. This piece talks about a son who got interested in the stock market as a kid, and wound up losing $250,000 day trading - a lot of it was his mother's money.

Money is always a sensitive issue... and it's certainly ended more than a few relationships.

Here’s my question to you: Is hiding debt the same as cheating?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

B. in Tennessee writes:
My wife cranked up over $22,000 in credit card debt that I did not know about until I happened to open a statement, and much of it was obtained in my name… Our relationship has been strained at best ever since, but we've managed to stay married, and this is after a year or so of marriage counseling. So, yeah, I think the hidden debt is about as bad as an affair. It involves about the same amount of deceit.

Bob writes:
Jack, Hiding debt is worse than cheating. More marriage failures are due to financial problems than infidelity. It's a harder pill to swallow. I would liken it more to emotional rape. In cheating, there are usually several reasons that can be attributed to both parties. Hiding debt does not allow for any rationalization. It is raw and powerful.

Alex in Gig Harbor, Washington writes:
Not the same, but still a violation of trust in a relationship. You might marry for love, but a marriage is more of a business contract which combines your assets and liabilities. Hiding a debt damages the financial partnership of the marriage.

Joe in North Carolina writes:
It probably is cheating, but to me it is more about immaturity. So many Americans just know that they want something, but never stop to think about the consequences. If we are to have a more stable financial future, credit has to be something one actually earns, rather than something people view as some kind of right.

Greg writes:
Absolutely it's the same as cheating. My ex-wife, a psychiatrist who was very much into talking and sharing angst and all that other psycho-babble, racked up over $20K in about a year on her credit card. She couldn't even remember most of what she'd spent it on. I only found out because after she insisted on handling the family finances for a couple of years, I wanted my turn to do it and see where all the money was going.

Scott in Alabama writes:
No, they are not the same. "Swiping" your 'credit card' behind your spouse’s back is A LOT different than "swiping" your 'you know what' behind your spouse’s back.


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (127 Responses)
  1. DW Gard

    Yes, If I could hide my debt I would do it. But it would be cheating.

    March 1, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
  2. Russ in PA

    Cheating? It's criminal! All of those Keynesian economists on tv should be sued for their lying and/or ignorance in telling Americans that all is right with the world. The government has misled Americans for years on it's accounting manipulations – such as the SS trust fund – and we'll be forced to deal with it. And let's not even mention the FED, and it's destruction of the dollar and our savings.

    Once again, Ron Paul will be proven to be spot on... You should have voted for him...

    March 1, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
  3. cy gardner

    It used to be. But nowadays the US economy is built on lies and scams. I don't trust doctors, lawyers, politicians, business people or the mainstream media because everyone is a liar. People who tell the truth are more likely to suffer bad consequences than people who lie. So, yeah, go ahead and hide, lie, whatever, dude. Apparently, only suckers do the right thing in this country. cy from arlington, va

    March 1, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
  4. Mike Crockett, TX

    Well lets see if I have this correct. If I hide my debt, lie about my assets, spend what I don't have, and have someone else pay my bills when I get in trouble, that is not OK.

    When the government does it it is called deficit spending and that is OK.

    When Wall Street does it it is called investing and risk management and the government will bail them out if they get in trouble.

    Hold on, I am getting myself confused. The simple answer is NO!

    March 1, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
  5. Andrew

    At a time when Jane and Johnny Taxpayer are struggling to put bread on the table, hiding debt is definitely cheating. Can we just hide our debt from creditors when applying for a loan? Elementary students seem to understand politics a bit more than these guys.

    March 1, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
  6. BJ-West Central Illinois

    If a husband or wife tells you that they aren't haveing an affair, and they are lying, or they are haveing an affair and hiding it from their spouses, isn't that the same????

    March 1, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  7. Rob of Brooklyn

    yes and it should be considered the same as treason.

    March 1, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  8. Barbara in NC

    Yep – Shrub kept the cost of wars off the books – is that lying? Is it bearing false witness to the people?

    March 1, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  9. Kevin Hancock

    Omitting to a crime is equal to committing the crime! Why is this even a question in a society with so many higher education institutions? Oh, I forgot; all we are getting out of our higher learning these days are educated idiots and thieves.

    March 1, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
  10. Terrence Cain

    Well Jack, I know I would never hide debt from my wife. I view the government and the citizens that live under it to be like a marriage. If you're not open and honest with each other, then what's the point of being together? If the government wants to hide debt from us, then we need to start over with a new government that has strict rules to keep them from lying to us. Not that that will ever happen, but you get my point. So yeah, it is cheating. It's like running in a race or playing some other sport on steroids and not telling anyone that you're on performance enhancement drugs. Kinda unfair to the other players who stayed off the juice.

    Terrence Cain,
    Big Spring, TX.

    March 1, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    No. It is just as serious, however, in destroying a relationship.

    March 1, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
  12. Ed from MD

    It's only cheating if you hide the fact that you hide debt. If a bank called itself Inequity trust you would expect there to be some hidden debt. So that's fair enough right?

    March 1, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
  13. JENNA

    Is hiding debt the same as cheating?

    Sure it is. How do you figure that we got into this financial mess to begin with, because GW Bush told the nation the truth? LOL

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    March 1, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
  14. frankie

    Hiding the debt, well hiding everything, has been the Washington "normal," Obama unfortunately makes himself look worse the more he tries to be transparent. Bad things show up. I actually heard a comment on CNN that he should have held the health care meeting behind closed doors because then something more might have gotten done.

    The broken government show was great, very un-political just showing what's broken in an undeniable clear message. Thank-you. I know I like Obama alot more than you do, but Washington, not nirvana, is where he has to work. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear overnight. I think the current Republicans aren't just the party of No they are the party of hypocrisy, I'm grateful we have Obama to wade through the mess and try to do better.

    March 1, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  15. Lou from North Carolina

    If you are cheating on something, why hide it? You answered the question, Jack.

    March 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  16. John from Alabama

    Jack: You can not hide the 900 pound guerilla in the room. In 2000, the USA had a $4.2 trillion debt and by 2008 we had a 12.8 trillion debt. Cheating no, not if I know about it. When one cheats they try to fool you. The Republicans caused this debt by allowing reckless banks to exist, not funding part D medicare, not funding VA, and not passing legislation making social security solvent. Two wars on supplemental appropriations rather budget pprocess. Think!! Please.

    March 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  17. John Giordano

    Cheating is a way of life and compliment for all of our governing politicians

    I wrote the following letter to Senator jim Bunning of Kentucky

    Thank you for taking a stand against Unemployment Benefits Extensions – This pitiful amount of money, which is below a poverty level income, is all I have to count on to pay for shelter and purchase food – Thank you for proving that my over taxing government is completely out of touch with the disappearing middle class of 'We The People" who voted for you and your colleagues – Thank You for your vote in favor of all the billions to be spent annually on foreign countries including those we are at war with – Thank You for keeping the interests of Lobbyists and Corporations in mind before the uninsured, unemployed, suffering Americans that you've taken a stand against – Thank you for your misguided principles – Thank God for politicians like you!

    March 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  18. Orville

    Jack, what number comes after trillion? I want stimulus money to go to school to learn how to count above a trillion. It looks like we'll need it.

    March 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  19. santa clause

    no jack hiding debt is fraud

    March 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  20. Joe R - Houston

    It depends on who it's being hidden from. If the person from whom it's being hidden has an interest in knowing about the debt, then hiding it is fraud. And fraud is always criminally cheating.

    March 1, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  21. Betty Owens Fla REP

    Lets see .. my republician party didn't even have the war in their budget. Thats bushes way of hiding the 12 million a month !

    March 1, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  22. Gary in El Centro

    You betcha!

    March 1, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  23. Conor in Chicago

    Hiding debt isn't cheating. It's called "Capitalism".

    March 1, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  24. Wm in PA

    Jack,

    You ask: Is hiding debt the same as cheating?

    YES !

    Cheating is at an all time high in the United States at all levels, corporate, government, and academic. A quarter of large corporations – ones that had more than $250 million in assets or $50 million in gross receipts – paid no taxes. In 2005, for instance, 3,565 large U.S. companies and 998 large foreign-owned companies operating here did not pay any income taxes.
    • Our human-citizens have lost the belief that they matter. Without personal significance life looses meaning and purpose.
    • Our human-citizens have no influence over what happens to them.
    • We have lost our ability to communicate, cooperate, negotiate, share, resolve conflicts and listen effectively to others.
    • In short, The U. S. has lost the ability to set goals and/or make decisions, judgments, and choices based on moral and ethical principles, wisdom, and experience.

    March 1, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  25. phil reed

    Jack hiding debt is what we do best.
    I dont know if my heart can take the real numbers after 8 years of Bush we dont want to forget him now do we.
    Phil from Tulsa

    March 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
  26. Joanne

    You talking about the Billons to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac not inc in the Nat'l Debt? Or the 23 Trillion circulated by the FDIC that has devalued our dollars in the past 1 1/2 yrs....and the worst is coming in about 1 1/2 yrs with very high inflation.
    Is it cheating? Good percentage of Washington is a Criminal Enterprise...got it?
    Joanne
    Mn

    March 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
  27. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    Personally I would consider that cheating. However many big businesses, politicians, and bureaucrats would not (unless they got caught).

    March 1, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
  28. Loren, Chicago

    Yes, hiding debt is the same as cheating. So are we talking about marriage or Congress?

    March 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  29. Bruce Jenkins

    Twinsburg, Ohio

    I would call it not telling the truth rather than cheating.

    March 1, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  30. Tom in Texas

    Well, maybe we should ask the unknowing spouse of a compulsive gambler or credit card abuser for an opinion. Bet the answer is YES.

    March 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  31. Cody

    Yes, it is the same as cheating.

    But politicians have always done this.

    So what else is new?

    March 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  32. Tina Tx

    In my eyes yes. In the eyes of the government, NO. Morals were left at home when they hit the floor in Washington. My mother would ground me for life for lying and cheating. Would theirs? No

    March 1, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  33. frank

    GOP does it all the time, look how many presidents they have again and again and again. They even bail out their crooked friends on Wall Street who busted a bubble that lost $12 trillion.

    March 1, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  34. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    Isn’t that what the Bush administration did? If Bush did it, it is cheating, it is dishonest and worse. Does that answer your question?

    March 1, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  35. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    Yes, but we don't care since we, the American voter is practicing Shakespears definition of insanity since we vote these bozos back in office again and again. You know, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

    March 1, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  36. Doug - Dallas, TX

    No Jack, it's the same as LYING and it's been going on forever and will probably continue long after you and I have moved on to the big ocean in the sky.

    March 1, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  37. Maria

    Hiding debt is simply a lie by omission. And it's just one step from lies of omission to disaster(oop, I guess that baby *is* mine). Palin and the great unwashed GOP is a huge example, and the Dems have their share.

    A lie is a lie, and don't lie to me. I'd rather hear the bad news and deal w/it then hide the lies and have them bite me later.

    Maria

    Brunswick,MD

    March 1, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  38. Mr. D

    It certainly is. This is what has gotten us in the mess we currently face. We all looked the other way concerning debt, personal, business and by the government, and now we have to pay the piper. Funny how we can ignore pain for only so long.

    March 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  39. J.L from Delaware

    The Bush administration never told us HONESTLY what the war in Iraq and Afganistan was costing because they never put it in the budget. That's one huge reason we are in a deficit position today. You can call that "cheating" if you want to but I call it CRIMINAL.

    March 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  40. Michael Alexandria, VA

    It depends on whether your assets are jointly held or not. If the other partner could be on the hook for the debt, not mentioning it is not a good thing (although not likely a cause for divorce unless you are talking about very extreme debting).

    March 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  41. BEVERLY-Mystic,Iowa

    I didn't watch, (& have never watched), Fox news, so I'm not savvy.
    Since your question is only 1 sentence long, I have no idea what this is all about, but I would say that it depends on the circumstances.

    March 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  42. BEVERLY-Mystic,Iowa

    No, unless it can be proven that the debt had been intentionally hidden. If intentional, it's cheating. There's no black or white; every case must be tried on it's own merits.

    March 1, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  43. Michael G Tampa, FL

    Jack,
    You mean cheating on your spouse or significant other ?
    Well, it's as with everything in life, you need to perform due
    diligence and buyer beware.....
    If someone you get involved with has debt, they should reveal that
    in the first few weeks as well as if they have an STD, a criminal
    record, or any other significant issue in their past.
    And by the way, omission is a sin of sorts, so to answer your
    question, YES it's just as bad as cheating since the ethical lapse
    is still the issue.
    When people are honest with each other though, there can be
    judgmental behavior and attitudes, but at least the honesty is
    there.

    March 1, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
  44. Will from San Jose, CA

    If I "hid" some income from the IRS would they regard it as cheating?

    March 1, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  45. Jim Z..Ft. Worth...Texas

    Jack, hiding debt is just playing Easter Bunny. Just a few difference's...the egg's are cracked and they have a certain air about them....it stink's...

    March 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  46. AlphaPoe1

    No it's not the same thing as cheating in today's economy when people are struggling to get jobs, keep their homes, have no health insurance, etc. People are doing whatever they have to do to survive. It's that bleak.

    March 1, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  47. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Somehow Jack in Washington they can always justify their actions no mater how wrong they may be. Proof of that is pork barrel spending. One mans pork is another mans bacon.

    March 1, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  48. Michael and Diane, Phoenix AZ

    Well, DUH! Yeah! But then again didn't the last administration do the same thing, not to mention how many other administrations prior to this one?

    March 1, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  49. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville, Texas

    Jack, of course it is! OH but hey, isn't spending money you don't have the same thing? Mr. President? Are you a cheater too?

    March 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  50. keno, NJ

    Hiding the debt is cheating. That is what enron did before they went broke. The GDP of the entire world is 60 trillion and the u.s has a 65 trillion dollar debt when you count medicare and social security which is being hidden from the budget. I don't understand why congrees and the president don't seem to care that this great nation is broke. The feel good recipe seems to be more spending, corporate welfare and tax cuts but that of course will never pay off our 65 trillion dollar debt. Health care reform is being sold as a way to reduce our debt. We need real budget reform now.

    March 1, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  51. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    If you're hiding it from the lying cheating loan companies then what is the difference, why are people in trouble with their home loans, because the loan companies lied to them about rates, what they could afford and ever other story just to get them a loan.

    March 1, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  52. Joe CE

    More like intentional distortion. It has been done for decades by changing parameters.

    March 1, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  53. jimmy in greenville, north carolina

    In a way. But we knew they were going to cheat when we elected them. The national debt is so high now nobody can evern compute it. And keeping the debt hidden is a type of health care reform. Not knowing keeps my blood pressure down.

    March 1, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  54. Bertina

    Um no.

    March 1, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  55. Jerry Johns Creek, GA

    Not at all. We're actually covered, we have credit default swaps issued by AIG to keep us out of trouble.

    March 1, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  56. Laurie

    Yes....but more serious than that....It is living a lie.

    March 1, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  57. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, of course it is lying, but then, that is what Washington/Congress does best isn't it? Creative monetary policies have been a mainstay of Congressional programs for untold number of years. The really amazing thing is that the taxpayers just keep on believing the trash Congress pedals year after year, when all the evidence tells them "Congress is lying to you"! The country is on the verge of bankruptcy, and people continue to support Congressional spending of money the country does not have. How stupid can they get, and how long before they realize what Congress has done to them and their future generations. Not very long, I predict!

    March 1, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  58. David Sisters OR

    Which debt–my debt, the National Debt???? The neighbors debt?? California's debt, scuse me that's too large to hide.

    March 1, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  59. Mark

    Of course not, If it's hidden, it doesn't exist.

    Mark
    OKC

    March 1, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  60. Melissa

    You mean like Bush did for 8 years by not including the costs of the "War against terror" in the yearly budget? Yes.

    March 1, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  61. marion/Alabama

    Yes,try hiding you next Energy bill in the Closet,and see what happens.

    March 1, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  62. Bruce - Delaware

    No, it is the same as criminal malfeasance and felonious theft of the treasury.

    March 1, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  63. Jane (Minnesota)

    It's just a different type of cheating than what we normally think. People have recently learned that it's OK to hide debt from our previous Republican Administration that hid the costs of the 2 wars - or should I say they neglected to count them as operating expenses so the deficit they created wouldn't look as bad as it did. People are learning from Big Brother that it's OK to hide things.

    March 1, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  64. Maryanne from Ontario

    Hello Jack: Yes, cheating yourself.

    March 1, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  65. Ann from Charleston, SC

    I think hiding debt is a form of cheating.

    March 1, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  66. Antonio from Washington D.C.

    Lying,cheating, stealing, robbing, deception, and hiding are different ships, but eventually they're in the same boat!

    March 1, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  67. Luke Randles...Knoxville Tennessee

    I don't know Jack...when W.and the repuglican congress refused to put the Iranian war in the yearly national debt the MSM sat on their hands.
    When you say it's ok for one group to do it but not another to do the same thing isn't that the definition of hypocrisy ?

    March 1, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  68. honestjohn in Vermont

    Jack I don't know. I had a friend who kept hiding his growing debts from everyone including himself until the money was gone and things got ugly. Probably would not have been so bad if he had been more prudent with his money and declared his debts early on. Most people have simply done as our government has been doing–overspend. Over the years that has kept our economic engines running. One thing is certain, we will not get out of this mess by scrimping and saving money; what we need is a dynamic economy.

    March 1, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  69. Gigi Oregon

    Yes it is. Sadly it is the guilty who ends up the most miserable. Guilt is a killer. Shopping under stress is not therapy, trading someone else's money is stealing. I once tried the shopping to relive stress. It only adds stress.

    March 1, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  70. Scott Stodden

    In a way you could look at it like that because I thought if your married that your suppossed to share everything with your spouse and that includes finances! Stop cheating on your spouse with your finances!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    March 1, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  71. Willow, Iowa

    Well, at least its not immoral or illegal. However, I think the basic sense of trust in a marriage, or a family is destroyed. And that can be just as bad as cheating. If you can't be honest with your spouse, something is wrong. That being said by a woman that used to have to hide her nonsufficient funds letters from her husband. That lasted less than ten years. LOL

    March 1, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  72. Alex in Gig Harbor

    Not the same, but still a violation of trust in a relationship. You might marry for love, but a marriage is more of a business contract which combines your assets and liabilities. Hiding a debt damages the financial partnership of the marriage.

    March 1, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  73. Layne Alleman

    Jack, I think you're mixing apples with oranges. First of all, how in heck would you(or could you) start a "small business" without your spouse knowing about it? Sounds to me like that one is already on the rocks. As for the kid, woodshed and then some. Bottom line, if you can't talk to your spouse(and lover) about finances, that "relationship" probably is pretty close to over anyway(richer or poorer, sickness and in health). Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    March 1, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  74. ybotherwithsanity

    My wife cranked up over $22,000 in credit card debt that I did not know about until I happened to open a statement, and much of it was obtained in my name. It took several days before I could unravel how bad it actually was. I couldn't even close the damn accounts unless I zeroed them out or had her prosecuted. I was absolutely livid and don't know who made me more angry, my wife or those credit card banks that allowed her to open accounts in my name without my signature. And there was absolutely not one thing to show for the charges, not a thing, no big ticket purchases, nothing over $500.

    I thought maybe she was having an affair, and her reply, "if I was, it was obviously someone that had no money." She received a small inheritance not long afterward, so I was able to pay off the loans and close them. I swore and promised her that if she ever took another account in my name that I would have her prosecuted and file for divorce.

    Our relationship has been strained at best ever since, but we've managed to stay married, and this is after a year or so of marriage counseling. So, yeah, I think the hidden debt is about as bad as an affair. It involves about the same amount of deceit. My wife had accumulated those debts over years and had taken a lot of care to keep it concealed. I still don't trust her when it comes to finances. She makes over $40 an hour but never has any money and still bounces checks. I strongly suspect she is overextended again on credit cards, but I hope she had sense not to use my name. I wasn't kidding about prosecuting and filing for divorce.

    March 1, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  75. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    This has destroyed my belief in our system and especially when our government has stolen from our Social Security to pay for wars and then they never included this in the budget. They lied about when confronted which doesn't suprsie me and particularly considering the source being Bush and Cheney.

    March 1, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  76. The Broker.

    "Six feet high and rising!"

    March 1, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  77. Mattison Brooks in Virginia

    It's cheating when you mislead the IRS in a tax return. Why should government expect any different? Oh wait...

    March 1, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  78. Ralph Spyer

    The American people have ended the relationship with our government years ago, how many of have stop voting or we just vote not for a person but against the other. In ww2 every joined the Army for love of country now we can"t even buy enought men.

    March 1, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  79. Banned in Hartwell GA

    The end result is the same – trust is lost for a long time if not forever.
    Allen
    Hartwell GA

    March 1, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  80. Bob

    Jack,

    Hiding debt is worse than cheating. More marriage failures are due to financial problems than infidelity. It's a harder pill to swallow. I would liken it more to emotional rape. In cheating, there are usually, several reasons that can be attributed to both parties. Hiding debt does not allow for any rationalization. It is raw and powerful.

    March 1, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  81. Wm in PA

    Jack,

    You ask: Is hiding debt the same as cheating?

    YES !

    Cheating is at an all time high in the United States at all levels, corporate, government, and academic. A quarter of large corporations – ones that had more than $250 million in assets or $50 million in gross receipts – paid no taxes. In 2005, for instance, 3,565 large U.S. companies and 998 large foreign-owned companies operating here did not pay any income taxes.
    • Our human-citizens have lost the belief that they matter. Without personal significance life looses meaning and purpose.
    • Our human-citizens have no influence over what happens to them.
    • We have lost our ability to communicate, cooperate, negotiate, share, resolve conflicts and listen effectively to others.
    • In short, The U. S. has lost the ability to set goals and/or make decisions, judgments, and choices based on moral and ethical principles, wisdom, and experience.

    March 1, 2010 at 7:47 pm |
  82. Steve, form Houlton Maine

    Yes Jack, hiding debt is the same as cheating. In hiding debt, you are lying to your spouce. If you can't be honest about this area of your relationship, it's doomed to failure. Not only are you not being honest with your mate, you are taking it upon yourslef to make financial decisions without your mate having any imput on what you are doing. Marriage is supposed to be a partnership. You are basically saying that you don't trust your mate to be smart enough to make these decisions with you, and that you are the one in the relatioship that has the brains to make these decisions. I would think very seriously about ending a relationship if this happened.

    March 1, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
  83. Bob In Florida

    Yes, destructively so. I had two credit cards with a total limit of $4,000, which more than half was unused. One day I opened a credit card bill I did not recognize. I found a $5,000 limit that was exceeded with penalties by my second wife. I found out she had a total of 18 credit cards and more than $25,000 of debt. It threw us into bankruptcy and I could not get a job for more than 4 years and the marriage ended.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
  84. Nicholas Weber - Green Bay, WI

    Not at all. Although debt is a major factor in how well a person can show physical love to a person it has nothing to do with true love. If we were to know every aspect of the person we love I highly doubt we would love them. Hiding debt is only cheating when you view the world in terms of ownership.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
  85. michael armstrong sr.

    Teres no cheeting to it the word is fraud Barney Madoff style these guys know they over done it they just cant keep from living beyound there means well blood thirsty vamps the end is comming .

    March 1, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
  86. Annie, Atlanta

    Speaking from experience, the hurt from both takes your breath away. But that’s where the similarities end. Hiding debt destroys trust. Losing trust in a cheater is the easiest of the losses.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
  87. joe m

    these kinds of behaviors don't surprise me too much, since we have been indoctrinated so well by our government that is spending us into oblivion. most of these people probably figure that why shouldn't they be able to spend money they don't have, when their government is doing the same without care. it probably is cheating, but to me it is more about immaturity. so many americans just know that they want something, but never stop to think about the consequences. if we are to have a more stable financial future, credit has to be something one actuallys earns, rather than something people view as some kind of right.

    NC

    March 1, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
  88. Ken in NC

    At the expense of quoting the “Thriller from Wasilla”, “YOU BETCHA”.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  89. JT

    Only if you spent the money on hookers...

    March 1, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  90. Cindy

    Any form of dishonesty whether it be cheating, hiding debt, or hiding anything for that matter weighs the same in my book. If you are in a relationship, honesty is key or there truly isn't a relationship.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  91. Ruth

    Yes! Hiding debt is the same and maybe WORSE than cheating. Why? Because the consequence of it can lead to homelessness. Very very scary!

    March 1, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  92. Nate

    Lying is the same as hiding debt
    cheating is the same as cheating
    another terrible question jack

    March 1, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  93. Scott in Alabama

    No, they are not the same.

    "Swiping" your 'credit card' behind your spouses back is A LOT different than "swiping" your 'you know what' behind your spouses back.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  94. Ken in NC

    When the government took our money from the SS Trust Fund and left peices of paper that said IOU, that was cheating. The note wasn't signed.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  95. Arkam Mazrui

    It kind of is and kind of isn't. Though if you think about it, you can think of debt as another girlfriend. When your other girl finds out, she dumps you.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  96. Greg

    Absolutely it's the same as cheating. My ex-wife, a psychiatrist who was very much into talking and sharing angst and all that other psycho-babble, racked up over $20K in about a year on her credit card and couldn't even remember most of what she'd spent it on. I only found out because after she insisted on handling the family finances for a couple of years I wanted my turn to do it and see where all the money was going.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  97. Allen Moore

    Allen – Illinois

    If you're hiding debt you have accrued using someone else's money, whether related to you or not, you're not just a cheater, you're a thief. If you're hiding debt you've accrued using your own money, it's nobody else's damn business.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  98. pied type

    It's not as bad as cheating, but as with any deceit, the damage to the relationship can be devastating..

    –Pied Type, Denver

    March 1, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  99. Genny F

    In principal it is. Obviously there is something wrong in the marriage if you cannot communicate with your spouse about money there are serious issues that need help.
    But cheating with another person is a different subject. Either way their marriage is in the toilet.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  100. Lori

    No, it's worse. When a spouse cheats, the aggrieved partner can walk away and have a clean slate. With accrued debt, both parties are undoubtedly equally responsible for the debt, particularly if it is a joint marriage!

    Lori
    Fort Walton Beach, FL

    March 1, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  101. spencer

    It is worse than cheating. At least you can divorce a cheater, but you can't divorce yourself from debt.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  102. Annie

    Hiding debt could be worse than cheating if it results in financial hardship or financial ruin for the family. Just as a compulsive gambler might be a nice person, if he or she injures his or her own family through financial irresponsibility, then it is worse than cheating.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  103. Richard A. "Red" Lawhern

    I don't know if the term "cheating" quite applies to the issue. But it is crystal clear that if you are about to take on a debt that may cause harm to another person if it goes bad, then you do a profound ethical and moral wrong by not gaining the informed agreement of others who may be impacted, IN ADVANCE. Such an action is a violation of any form of person to person relationship that we know.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  104. Jim Goldcamp

    Of course it's cheating. It's like me telling my wife I'm going to get a massage and receiving a happy ending afterwords. I've been married for 1/2 my life 25yrs and its only because we've promised to be HONEST regarding everything. Selective honesty doesn't work.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  105. Nick In Tennessee

    No doubt they are both terrible things, but i wouldn't say that debt is nearly quite as bad as cheating since debt most likely won't leave you heartbroken unless you really are in love with your money.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  106. jeffrey

    Absolutley spending money without your spouse knowing is a trust violation and a form of cheating.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  107. Tony

    Not quite, Jack. In one clothes are taken off; in the other they're put on. While both lies, they're at different points on the marriage-killing trust spectrum.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  108. Kate Dooley

    No, it's not the same as cheating. I think it's worse. Because this behavior undermines the security and safety of the people involved, often innocent family members who depend on adults to make good decisions for the family. Cheating is bad, but having to explain to little Sally how Mom just "shopped the house away" has to be the pits!

    March 1, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  109. Cate

    Yes hiding debt is cheating. And of all the kinds of cheating mentioned no one mentioned parents using their kids' SSN to get credit when they've ruined their own! The kids start out at an unfair advantage. Are they going to prosecute their parent(s). I don't think so!

    Rural county FL

    March 1, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  110. mary myers

    Yes. It sure is. A lie meant to mislead someone that you should trust or some you trust misleads you is a cheating for personal advantage

    March 1, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  111. John

    Both require deception, Hummm, Walks like a duck, Talks like a duck, looks like a duck, you get the picture

    March 1, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  112. Joe stuck in Arkansas

    I recently found out that the mother of my son had spent about $1600 on credit cards during her pregnancy and through Christmas. I had asked her more than once was she spending on the credit cards and she denied it. This was after I had paid off about $1400 in credit cards for her at the beginning of the year to make her debt free so she could work less while we were expecting. This was just as bad as finding out she had been cheating because trust is what you build a relationship on and breaking that trust either through cheating or secret spending is never the right thing to do. It wasn't the amount that was so absurd, it was the terrible way she went about it.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  113. Fred R

    Jack, if you hide part of your salary from your wife, would that not be cheating? Why then is it even a question on the other side of the ledger?

    March 1, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  114. David

    Yes it is and it almost cost a 25 year marriage. When I first discovered my wife had racked up a debt of 8,000 on a card that I didnt know she had I was mad but mainly hurt. After transferring the balance to our joint card and cutting up hers, I spent the next ten months paying it off, only to find she had another card with a debt of 9,000. I sold investments to pay this one off and informed her if she was hiding more debt with cards that I was unaware of she better tell me know because if I found she was lying I would file for divorce. I was shocked when she said she did have another card but she would take care of the balance. I sold more investments that represented our future retirement and paid off another 6,000. We have been married now a total of 35 years and are now retired, but, ( in the back of my mind ),I still resent the fact that my wife did this.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  115. batnit

    We are a spendthrift economy, have been for forty years and nothing but a cold, hard recession is going to break us from this destiny. 25% real unemployment, the temp job is the new full time job and companies are using this recession to make way more with less people. I work for website Storyburn and the mess that lands on our doorstep is crazy bad. We have the most read home foreclosure story on the web and plenty of job hunting stories

    March 1, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  116. Frank Henry

    Do not stray from the important questions. Expose political corruption and wall street. I was so proud of CNN and you last night. Please continue the quest. It is the only way we can get to people. I would think think that Senator Bunning would be the topic of today's question. Can't the media have a set of gonads?

    March 1, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  117. Linda in Arizona

    It's not the "same", but it is as bad, maybe worse, because if your spouse cheats, at least it usually doesn't result in ruining your credit and possibly losing your home. I'll take a cheater any day.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  118. Mobius

    Hiding debt isn't cheating – but having debt cheats yourself.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  119. Carol - Chattanooga, Tn.

    Hiding debt is the same thing as lying. It certainly broke up my marriage 35 years ago when I discovered that my now ex-husband had stolen 22 thousand dollars from his boss and put a 2nd mortgage on our home. I left him and never looked back. Why? I had two choices – to look at him every day or to look at myself every day. Since I like my reflection, it meant he had to go.

    Unfortunately, hiding debt is merely a symptom of a much more serious character flaw. There is just not much that is lower than a liar. In my case, my ex-husband later became a 'dead beat dad', failed to file income tax refunds for 3 years and hid behind his mother's skirts when I was desperately trying to

    So, yeah, if a person will lie, they will do just about anything that is unethical, and hiding debt is just as bad as cheating – because it is the same thing. Cheating is cheating, no matter what kind of cheating it is .

    March 1, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  120. Derek

    I think hiding debt is worse than cheating. If you find out your partner is cheating you may be able to forgive her/him, or the relationship will end almost immediately. Finding out about a huge hidden debt, can ruin credit scores, drain money out of savings, and possibly end the relationship as well. It's one thing to walk away from a relationship, but another to also be financially devastated by the one person you cared about.

    Derek

    Texas

    March 1, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  121. Anita Johnson

    Not even close, Jack!

    I have never spent a single moment worrying about being fatter or older than a credit card!

    Lying about money simply does not come near the level of personal pain and devastation to a marriage that infidelity causes. Not that I would know.....
    Anon (but of course!)

    March 1, 2010 at 8:34 pm |
  122. Edison P. Colio, Jr.

    Definitely, what else could it be? Politicians and many others hide something that negatively impacts them, their businesses, the country as a whole and all of us. They may not think of it as cheating but then most times their thinking is shallow.
    Most people only look at the short term and never the long term. If we can ever get people, businesses and especially politicians to think of actions other than those that are near term then possibly we could get something positive to happen. Short term thinking is almost always NEGATIVE in what it accomplishes ultimately. The only REALITY thinking is long term, 20 years or more down the line.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
  123. Nancy Haynes Driscoll

    Jack, hiding your debts from people you cherish is certainly tantamount to cheating. It doesn't take a philosophic or moral genius to understand the relationship between some of the main tenants of the Ten Commandments upon which most of Western civilization is based. Sneaking around to commit adulltry, to covet then steal another's possessions,and to bear false witness should certainly strike the chord of guilt and shame in all of us.

    [NOTE: I added to my former comment the words : 'UPON WHICH MOST OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION IS BASED"]

    March 1, 2010 at 8:43 pm |
  124. Omel

    Yes it is cheating. A marrage is a relationship based on trust. This constitutes constitutes a violation of that trust.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
  125. Arkam Mazrui

    It kind of is and kind of isn't. Though if you think about it, you can think of debt as another girlfriend (only uglier). When your other girl finds out, she dumps you for going with someone as ugly as her.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:48 pm |
  126. Jim Collins

    Hiding debt the same as cheating ?It is cheating.That type of practice has ruined many marriages and businesses .While we're talking about cheating,the outrageous prices charged by hospitals , as the examples given today illustrate , are the root cause of runaway health care costs .
    It starts by suppliers grossly overcharging doctors and hospitals , because they have deep pockets .Next the same doctors and hospitals recoup their costs plus a ridiculous profit percentage , which they justify because insurance companies have deeep pockets .So then , guess what ? Insurance premiums skyrocket .

    March 1, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
  127. Leslye Koch

    No, it's not the same as cheating . . . not at all. It's falls into the category of addiction such as gambling or let's say . . . shopping addiction.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:59 pm |