December 03, 2013

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If the advent of the welfare state destroyed cultural temperance and the traditional family, the rise of “borrow and spend” economics was the last nail in the coffin for what remains of the ascetic lifestyle. Total household debt in America now stands at nearly $13 trillion”€”nearly back to the level it was before the financial crisis in 2008. Student loan debt is at now over $1 trillion. Over 10% of graduates are delinquent on their payments, thus beginning a downward spiral of lax behavior early in their careers.

Aaron Carter is right at home with this stellar record of economic myopia. If draining your bank account on a 24-hour spend-fest actually helped the economy, folks in bankruptcy would be the wealthiest on the planet. Of course, the opposite is true. But that doesn”€™t stop the ivory-tower cranks from waxing on about debt’s magical ability to deliver us to the land of abundance.

I usually dismiss the “€œblame society”€ scapegoat as an excuse for irresponsibility, but in Aaron Carter’s case it might be apt. Everywhere you look, there are voices telling you to SPEND SPEND SPEND. Modern economic theory’s glorified materialism played a part in his rampant debt accumulation.

Mankind used to be held in check by a lack of easy credit. Thanks to government and its money printing machine, that all changed. Now taking out credit cards by the boatload is considered a healthy practice as long as it boosts the nebulous concept of gross domestic product. Financial health be damned, the Keynes-followers say. Taking out another mortgage to afford that slightly bigger high-definition TV with eight remotes is considered progress.

Thank goodness debtors”€™ prisons hardly exist anymore in the first world. But then it would be considered an earthly nirvana for academic practitioners of the dismal science. You would never see Paul Krugman or his pals hanging around its gallows, though, as indebtedness is only for the low-class stooges.

I reserve the right to change my mind on jailing the highly indebted should Aaron Carter decide to put out another album.



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