Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Another Depression

I’m starting to wonder if what the country needs isn’t another Great Depression. Of course we’ll have to think of something else to call it. After all, the “Great Depression” was just that, the Great Depression. Maybe the “New Depression”. This may sound odd, but think of it. They say that an addict can’t begin to recover until they reach rock bottom and admit that they have a problem that they are unable to solve without help. Are we there yet? as a nation? I wonder.

We are, as a nation, addicted to consumerism and to credit, which we used to call debt, but which we renamed “credit” because it sounded better than debt. Our whole lives seem to be based on buying things we don’t need.... at any expense. The average household carries over $8,000 in credit card debt, and has $18,000 in non-mortgage debt, up from $11,000 a decade ago. And what do we have to show for it? Not much besides a pocket full of gadgets: Flat screen TVs in our home theaters; communication devices of every kind; games that keep us from paying attention to one another; cars that are bigger and newer than they need to be; and homes that are bigger and nicer than we can afford to live in. And we are facilitated in our addiction by our elected officials. One group wants to provide us with everything that we “deserve” without regard to whether or not we can afford it, and the other (not to be out done) goes along with the scheme so as not to seem uncaring.

The foundation of our government provides for none of this. We are promised our lives, our liberty and the right to pursue happiness. We are not promised the right to live in a house that is beyond our means, or to drive a new car instead of one that we can afford.

Somewhere at the beginning of the “new age” someone coined the phrase “you deserve it because you’re a good person” and it stuck like a tick. Retailers picked up on consumers urge to splurge on themselves now without those pesky thoughts about tomorrow. “No money down and no payments until.......”. And just when we were intoxicated by our own over indulgence our legislators put their arms around us like a drunken frat boy up to no good (to help us along). They help us by spending money that they know we don’t have, with the knowledge and without care that our children, and our children’s children will have to repay, and then every two, four, or six years they remind us of what good friends they’ve been and will continue to be and ask us to let them help us some more.

Well my friends, I don’t know if it’s the rock bottom or not, but I see something hard coming up pretty quick and if we don’t shake it off and slap some sense into our elected officials I see hard times ahead.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

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