Monday, June 16, 2008


David Brooks, formerly of the National Review and now ensconced on the Opinion page at the New York Times, has produced yet another silly piece, this time on the decline of Amurcan values with respect to debt. Once upon a time, good Amurcans lived debt free, saving up for goods and services, paying cash, and living below our means. We didn't gamble, go to loan sharks or otherwise get ourselves in to financial trouble.

Uh, what world does he live in? Not only was the United States a debtor nation through most of the 19th century, but we regularly defaulted on the debt. British banks were forced to eat huge losses and, when the United States made good on some of those losses, the government was never able to recover the money from those who had incurred the debt. (The land on which Stanford University sits was very nearly confiscated to pay off the railroad debts incurred by Leland Stanford.)

Indeed the present debt crisis is very much like earlier ones, where rich people get bailed out and poor people pay for it. It's as Amurcan as apple pie.


Nanette Elfstocking said...

Very interesting. Is there a book on this topic that you can recommend?


(along parallel lines, the US became an industrial powerhouse in the shelter of high protective tariffs — regardless of what it preaches now to developing countries.)

Anonymous said...

As bad-apple pie, you mean. :)

Nancy Irving