My grandparents weren't especially well off, but they didn't have a penny of debt when they passed away. They lived fairly frugally and paid for everything with cash.... they couldn't conceive of the world we live in today. Pretty much everyone is up to their eyeballs in debt. Whether it's credit card bills or car and mortgage - pretty much everybody owes way more than they're worth. And our federal government is the worst perpetrator of all. Where once we had a gold standard, now we print money with abandon, and have no problem with sending an IOU to China for a gazillion dollars. Ugh!
Who's to blame? We are all perpetrators in this mess for electing greedy morons into office. President Clinton left office supposedly with a surplus, but then George W. spent us into oblivion. Now, Obama is one-upping Bush.... where does it end? As I write this, we are 12.5 trillion dollars in debt. How will our economy look when we're 25 trillion in debt... any different? How about 100 trillion?
Once upon a time, you could work at the local Walgreen's selling aquarium gravel and make a decent wage. Nowadays, most families have to have two income earners to make ends meet, and they're still living paycheck to paycheck. I get really disgusted listening to douchebags like Dave Ramsey preaching the "no debt at all cost" mentality when a huge segment of our jobs don't pay a living wage. Tell me how you can live without debt working at Wal-Mart - your employer doesn't provide insurance, so when you deduct that from your minimum wage, there's not enough left to even cover the lowest of mortgages, let alone groceries, etc.
But then, when you're in the game of competing with countries (and US companies who make everything overseas.... I'm talkin' to you Wal-Mart) who pay their employees with rice and thread, it's hard for a business to justly compensate their employees and remain competitive..... it's quite the mess we're in.
So, what's the solution? Well, I don't think you need a Harvard Economics Ph.D. to understand that we can't just keep bailing out banks and companies whilst crossing our fingers that the economy will improve. I think you need look no further than the 1950's when the US was prospering to see the solution to what ails us. I don't have time to spell it all out; perhaps, I'll elaborate in another post. For now, suffice it to say, it will involve tightening the belt.... several notches.
I'd be interested to hear anyone's opinion on this issue. Leave a comment and tell me where I'm wrong (or right).