Americans Are Taking On Debt As If Tomorrow Will Never Come

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If you overlook some risks and forget about long-term consequences, spending money as you please seems a quite tempting idea. For instance, instead of calculating what sort of mortgage payment you can actually afford, why not try to purchase your $600,000 dream home? You only live once, right? And, since you already crossed that line, why not taking a sizable loan to buy yourself a brand new $60,000 SUV instead of driving around your dumpy old car for another year or two? Wouldn’t that be awesome? While you are at it, why don’t you go shopping and max out all your credit cards to get everything you always wanted? Don’t think about the credit card interest, just go there and do it. Well, if all of this sounds good but probably too crazy for you, it’s because it is. However, many Americans haven’t been thinking much about long-term consequences these days.
With a federal government that spends money as it grows on trees when it comes to money management, our society is lacking role models. Our government debt is currently sitting at 28 trillion dollars and yet all our leaders think about is spending more and more money. Americans have now officially more debt than ever before. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a major increase in credit card spending and home purchases caused U.S. household debt to jump by $313 billion, or 2.1%, in the last quarter, marking the largest increase in consumer debt in seven and a half years.
Economists are worried we might be repeating the same disruptive spending behavior we did in the past. After being showered with trillions upon trillions of dollars by the federal government, you would imagine that Americans would be in pretty good financial shape these days, right? Sadly… that’s not the case. Most of that money only contributed to making the gap between the wealthy and, well… “the rest of us,” even larger. According to a new study from Oxford Economics, Americans added nearly $4 trillion to their savings during the health crisis recession, but most of the gains went to the wealthy. The study estimates that consumer spending in the coming months and years will be strongest at the top and significantly lower at the bottom 99%.
Rising inflation will play a major role in the deterioration of our finances and the collapse of our spending. Americans are already seeing living expenses go up while the price of consumer goods keeps on hitting new record highs. Finding an affordable home to buy has become simply impossible, and with rent prices soaring, more than 12 million families are still in danger of being evicted. The federal moratorium has ended, but after major backlash, the new administration decided to come to the rescue and issued a targeted moratorium in areas hardest hit by the virus outbreak. The move replaced the CDC nationwide evictions freeze that expired last Saturday, but major legal questions still remain.
Despite affirming to have asked for legal advice from constitutional scholars to determine whether the CDC had the legal authority to issue a new evictions action, the President passed the new action without Congress authorization. He said that even if the courts invalidate this new moratorium, it will buy some time for his administration to get aid more money for rental relief. However, the federal government allocated $46 billion in rental assistance just a couple of months ago. The question remaining is: where did all that money go? It doesn’t add up.
Even more worrying is the fact that the President of the United States ignored the U.S. Constitution to get more money using the eviction crisis as justification. It is safe to say that if he actually gets more money, most part of these dollars won’t end up assisting those who need it the most. Without a question, the eviction crisis should be averted. Is the President choosing the right approach to prevent it? Absolutely no. Sadly, his approach is typical of how most Americans deal with things. Most of us tend to act impulsively, without considering the impacts our actions might have in the long run. We throw money up in the air expecting it to fix all of our problems as if tomorrow will never come, but “tomorrow” always arrives eventually, and when it finally does, we will have to face a painful reckoning. Unfortunately, our “tomorrow” looks darker and more chaotic most people would dare to imagine.

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Epic Economist

Epic Economist

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