The second act of reprocessing the middle class begins after college. Our “middle class” young people, now shackled with over twenty grand in debt from college loans, feel “fortunate” to land a job paying thirty to fifty grand a year. Others that aren’t so lucky have to take part-time jobs or jobs well below their potential. It is at this point that the vultures begin to circle and prey on humanity’s greatest weakness — you can have it all now and pay for it later in small incremental payments known as interest. There aren’t any animate creatures on earth with enough discipline to forgo a meal offered today rather than wait until tomorrow. The human creation of debt and credit was a very costly invention to the majority and it preys upon a fundamental weakness in our genetic make up.
Those young people fresh out of college that want and are enticed to live the middle class American Dream immediately begin to load themselves up with things and more debt. The first big purchase is a car with low-interest payments. The second big purchase is a house or a condo where the government actually throws out carrots via mortgage payment tax breaks. Along with the house and car comes additional expenses including insurance, maintenance, gas, furniture, big screen TV’s, fancy phones, cable and the internet. The other costs of living like groceries, health insurance, heat, and entertainment further eat into the young person’s meagre annual salary. Keep in mind prices for goods and services in the United States aren’t in decline — inflation especially on gas and groceries is on the rise.
The marketing and advertising blitz permeating from the television, mobile phone, radio, and the internet, combined with the easy access to credit cards and more debt, encourages and enables the young person to acquire even more things than he or she may or may not know they want or need. Beautiful woman, handsome men, our Hollywood heroes and sports icons, all used as bait to round-up the school of fish. The concept of saving or waiting to acquire things is a foreign concept. The American youth isn’t brought up Asia style. The culture defined by the capitalistic machinery is one that is based not only on consumption, but instant consumption. Live for the day and pay the price tomorrow. Some of the youth, either through good parenting or common sense, avoid these traps, but the vast majority go for the bait and get hooked. What else could have driven the American economy in the last two decades — manufacturing? No, the only thing truly driving the United States economy in the last two decades is the easy access to credit and debt.