I have been thinking of late how this country of ours has changed since the end of the second world war.
The year was nineteen forty six and troops were coming home from a long fought conflict that took the lives of thousands of innocent souls. It was also the beginning of the baby boomers....from 1946 thru 1964,they would have an impact on every aspect of life, and will for some time to come.
There was a tremendous build up of demand for consumer goods of all types, since the focus was no longer on war production, but now, consumer goods. New families were forming and producing children, which in turn put a demand on housing as well as every conceivable consumer product that a young and growing family needed.
We had to play catch up as a nation retooled for the consumer age. Production jobs were plentiful for our growing nation as we purchased more and more products that we were starved for.
At that point in time wives stayed home and handled family chores and raised the children, one, two, perhaps three or more. When they entered school, facilities were unprepared for the eager number of students entering the educational system and it had an impact on the entire country.
As consumerism rose, one paycheck would not suffice so mother joined the work force, as prices began rising, things began getting a bit tight economically for many households.....along came the credit card. Now we no longer had to WAIT to purchase what we wanted now, we could have it ALL, the house in the burbs, two cars, all the "toys", almost anything that that little plastic card could purchase. Hell, even those houses in the suburbs were worth three times what we paid for them.....let's just dip into the equity and keep spending....it will NEVER end!
Well, the market for cheap labor went to other parts of the world, good paying manufacturing jobs were lost, the housing market collapsed, pensions as we knew them evaporated, health costs began rising, yet we continued to spend.
Now we find sixty one percent of households living from paycheck to paycheck, and the average balance on charge accounts is what, twelve thousand dollars?
Salaries have been basically flat for a number of years while the cost of services and consumer goods continue to rise. The powers that be suggest that unemployment has gone down, but how many of Americans have stopped looking OR are working one or two jobs that offer no benefits!
As I review the multiple candidates that are running for the presidency, not ONE has any type of viable solutions that would pass the "choked" house and senate.
We have become a nation of frustrated individuals with what we see playing out before our eyes yet, have we in fact created our own "monsters" by over spending in our own families AND on a local, national, and international level.
Well, as the old farmer once said in describing the situation we currently find ourselves in...."the chickens have come home to roost."
Have we learned from the past? Can we carry that knowledge over to the next generation, OR we we continue to struggle?
A basic economical premise is.......you cannot spend more than you make....it eventually catches up with you, the individual, the family, the city, the state, the country....difficult lessons to learn, BUT, learn we MUST, or there will be no hope left.
The wise man learns from his past mistakes, the fool does not!