Once upon a time, the regular practice of thrift was widely considered to be a prime virtue in the United States of America. People who spent money immoderately were regarded as foolish and careless, and people who got themselves into a condition of serious debt were branded as bad citizens. For the past several decades, however, a different pattern has prevailed: Americans repeatedly have been encouraged to spend their incomes without caution or forethought, even if it meant using credit cards rather than using actual money.
After years and years of such folly,
American capitalism finally short-circuited in 2008, and now, a year later, it appears to be heading toward a total blowout that is certain
to have an injurious effect on the stability of the entire world. Once
again, in a desperate attempt to "correct" the unsteady situation,
Americans are being prompted into further debt by their shifty leaders,
continually exhorted to spend unwisely with no concern for the
long-term effects. Saving money is perversely viewed as a hindrance to
the goal of recovery.
The American people have blithely
gone from a reckless habit of merely living beyond their means to a worse habit of
living far beyond the bounds of reason. More spending by a nation of thoughtless
consumers, of course, will lead only to more debt, and more debt inevitably will lead to more trouble. It is an unbending equation that can be
denied for a time, but it cannot be denied forever. The unalterable
truth certainly will manifest itself in the end. Why is it that Americans never
learn from their mistakes?