Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne wonder why people don't save anymore, but instead get into debt. To answer this vexing problem they turn to Tim Hartford of the Financial Times. Just so you'll think $337,499-a-year Renee and $331,701-a-year Steve [see the IRS 990s here] are one of us, Renee introduces this segment with: "We owe it to ourselves to consider all the debt we piled on ourselves." Then Steve and Renee do a little back and forth yucking it up:
Inskeep: "...back in the early 1980s Americans saved more than 11% of their income; last year on average Americans saved one half of one percent."
Montange (chuckling): "Steve, uh, that's no savings..."
Inskeep: "Well, basically; although perhaps some people are wondering how'd they manage to save half percent..."
Hartford comes on to make the case that what is fueling high debt among Americans is the availability of loans - which hints at, though never names the deregulation and rise of predatory lending from credit card companies. But Inskeep is more interested in putting the problem on the people in debt. He asks, "Is there something about the availability of credit itself that causes people to go off the rails and make bad decisions?"
Of course it never even occurs to buckrakers like Inskeep and Montagne that a lot of folks turn to credit because their real incomes are shrinking. Let's see what leftist propaganda I can find to support this wild idea? I've got it, how about the Marine Corp Times!
Here's a little information for you two clowns from the five figure crowd like myself. In 1993 I was making about $23,000 a year as a social worker and my second son had just been born. Employer based family health insurance was costing our little fambly about $3000 a year in premiums and rent was running about $500 a month. Let's just say things were kind of tight. Now that the kids are growing up our family income is closer to $60,000, but health insurance is over $7000 a year, gas costs have tripled, public school fees and clothing are more expensive, and the price of food is shooting up (and we just can't wait to spend, spend, spend on college).
Do you 1/3 of a million dollar dimwits at NPR get it? Yes, some people make bad decisions in this crass consumer culture that you worship on NPR, but many of us go into serious debt to fix the broken car, get braces for the kids, repair the leaking roof, buy decent food, pay for heat, etc. Yeah, we just go off the rails for all these luxuries; crazy ain't it?