Every year, long before the last of the Halloween candy has been eaten, the drumbeat of holiday consumerism ushers in a long, wasteful, expensive march to New Year’s. Now Holiday 2002 is finally over, and apparently it’s just as well, because it turns out the season was a “failure.” This information comes not from our friends, our family, or even our clergy, but from CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, and Alan Greenspan. American “family values” are great — so long as American families value consuming ’til it hurts.
Recently, the Washington Post business section ran a story trumpeting the fact that the Gross Domestic Product for the third quarter of 2002 exceeded expectations. On the other side of the page was an item announcing that personal bankruptcies had reached an all-time high. Had anyone bothered to connect the dots, they would have concluded that propping up the economy requires financial pain and crippling debt for millions of American families. And that means our economy is in even deeper trouble than we thought: If my neighbor across the street has to declare bankruptcy in or... Read more