Call it what you will, the debt culture and all its ramifications may yet unravel the United States. We simply must live within the ability of the economy to support our needs, wants and desires. Or we must exercise far more spending discipline...is this even possible in this spendthrift culture?
Debt has a rational place in a capitalist economy but it must be used judiciously or individuals, families and the country may fall over the precipice of excess.
"Americans lived in a 'Made-off' and Ponzi bubble economy for a decade or even longer. Madoff is the mirror of the American economy and of its over-leveraged agents: a house of cards of leverage over leverage by households, financial firms and corporations that has now collapsed in a heap."
Here's more from the NY Times this morning:
High and Low Finance - Facing the Reality That the Money Is Gone-
"...As a society, we are not as rich as we thought we were. The Federal Reserve now estimates that American households as a group are poorer than they were four years ago, even before adjusting for inflation. That had not happened in any four-year period since the Fed began making those estimates more than half a century ago.
It is not an easy reality to adjust to. But simply assuming that we deserve to live as if it had not happened will only make things worse."