Sunday, August 14, 2005

All Wrong Again on Gen Debt

"Babies of the boomers are going bust," laments the Cox News Service . Great, they're finally getting it, I think hopefully. Think again. Once more it's a story about "spoiled" kids spending too much: "It's part consumer culture brainwashing, part entitlement."

Consumption patterns are simply an insufficient and wrongheaded explanation for the inferior economic standing of young people. People are graduating with $20,000+ in student loan debt and real income that's stagnant or declining compared with 30 years ago. I'd like to believe that solving the problems of Generation Debt was as easy as telling people to cut up their credit cards, but it just ain't so.

In a way, this story itself is the product of consumer culture brainwashing. Just as most people, when they hear the word "save," actually think of spending a (reduced) amount on some product, the Cox News Service finds itself unable to conceive of a debt problem that's not caused by spending too much discretionary income. Where did our nation's prosperity go? We charged too many Jamba Juices. Oops.

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