The american debt culture

Will American’s realize that debt doesn’t have to be a way of life?

I recently purchased a documentary called “Maxed Out”. It is about how the banks and credit card companies market to us and it talks about some of the evil tactics they use to collect from people. Also featured are stories from people who’s lives have been affected and ruined by debt. I don’t tear up too easily but this one really got to me. You should check it out. It is very eye opening.

It is interesting how in America we live in a culture where people will put themselves into so much debt to keep up a “standard of living” and buy things they have no business buying or taking trips they can’t afford. It seems like at some point this system is going to fall apart. You can’t go on forever racking up debt without the system falling apart. What is sad is people think debt is just a way of life. Scary stuff. It wasn’t always like that.

I think a huge reason why things have become this way is partly because of our education system. There aren’t very many schools that teach kids how to use money. People grow up not understanding how money works and if this continues for a few more generations it will get worse. Some schools are starting to put financial education into schools but sadly some are actually allowing the credit card companies to write the curriculum.

President George W. Bush and Congress came up with the “economic stimulus package”. As a part of this bill, the government issued checks to most Americans to help stimulate the economy. What is sad is the government is encouraging people not to pay off debt with it or save it but to go out and make a major purchase. Buy more stuff! It seems kind of sad that our system depends so heavily on us buying a bunch of stuff we really don’t need. What is worse is our government went into more debt to get this money to us just so a bunch of politicians can look good on an election year. “Look, I gave you a check to buy that new HD TV. Now vote for me in November!”

With so many people in debt and our country’s debt partly being owned by China, a communist country, there will be a day this is going to come back and really hurt us if we don’t turn things around. I hope someday soon we can get some kind of leadership out of Washington to help make a change in the way we Americans handle debt and put back into our education system tools young people can use so they don’t rob from their future for instant gratification today.

Updated on: July 30th, 2008