>When Nancy Pelosi infamously stated “The party is over” in her now-controversial speech on Monday (which I don’t take as exceedingly partisan, by the way), I don’t think that she recognized the truth and scope of her own words. Her words were directed towards “high flying Wall Street operators” and implicitly those whom she deems as greedily profiting with them, namely George W. Bush and his cronies.
Cross-posted from http://dwightgwatson.blogspot.com
Pelosi’s contention was that the economic crisis we currently face was caused by “an anything goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system.” Of course, Pelosi only applied this narrowly to Wall Street and failed to see how those words describe, quite well, the financial choices of the average USAmerican. In effect, Pelosi told USAmericans on “main street,” “It’s not your fault.” I think she was dead wrong, blinded by either ignorance or political cynicism.
Certainly much of the blame for the current crisis can be placed on corporate greed. Much can also be placed on the ill-executed Community Reinvestment Act, which bullied banks into making risky loans in order to move more low-income USAmericans into home-ownership. But, the hard truth that Pelosi failed to see in her statement is that much blame lies with us, the USAmerican people.
For almost a generation we, along with our financial institutions, have consumed and lived beyond our means because of the implicit promise that the government will always be there to bail us out and protect us from suffering the consequences of our unwise decisions. Rather than applying the wisdom of Joseph and storing up the wealth of prosperous times to access when times get lean (Genesis 41), USAmericans have consistently spent everything they make. And when that is not enough to support our lifestyle, we borrow and defer the immense cost of our appetites to the future. We demand more and more while seeking to expend less and less to get it.
What we have come face to face with in USAmerica is not merely an economic crisis; it is a character crisis. The economic crisis is merely a symptom, the natural consequence, of a culture fixated on an unsupportable standard of living. We have gladly embraced comfort and pleasure, naively assuming that the historically unparalleled prosperity that we have enjoyed would continue forever. And now, indeed, the party is over.
The solution to this crisis is not an economic one, such as the “bailout.” A bailout will simply defer the inevitable just a little bit longer, as well as reinforce the belief that the government will be our safety net no matter how high a tight-rope we choose to walk. We need to do FAR more than adjust a few economic policies to solve this crisis. We need to radically change our entire culture. We need to repent of our irresponsible self-centeredness and return to the character that made USAmerica great – hard work, frugality, delayed gratification, personal responsibility – just to name a few. Anything less than this is just a band-aid on a mortal wound.
From the Wall Street Journal: We are told this is a “bailout for Wall Street.” But if Americans are honest with themselves, they will admit that bankers are far from the only cause of our current predicament. The U.S. is living through the aftermath of a classic credit mania, one that all of us enjoyed while it lasted. We don’t remember many protests when home prices were rising by 15% a year, or when interest rates stayed at 1% for a year and real interest rates were negative for far longer.