In his article “The Great Seduction” (NY Times June 2008), David Brooks claims that “our most rampant decadence today is financial decadence” (1). What he means by this is that America is falling apart in terms of money. Early America’s ideals of hard work and saving for the future are gone. Most of society is in debt and has no hope for repaying it. I agree with Brooks’ ideals because a large portion of Americans are spending more money than they are saving. Not only are many Americans spending more than saving, but this group of people is spending money that they don’t have.
According to Brooks, credit card debt skyrocketed to $692 billion in 2001, and “by last year, it was up to $937 billion” (1). A large portion of society, usually consisting of those of those who are more at risk or more vulnerable to being roped into scams and what not, are burying themselves alive in debts they cannot afford pay off. Brooks says there are two classes here, one has “tax deferred savings plans, as well as an army of financial advisors” (1). These are usually the more educated, more wealthy Americans, who can afford these luxuries such as financial advisors.
They focus on saving, making their money last. “On the other hand, there is the lottery class, people with little access to 401 K’s or financial planning, but plenty of access to pay day lenders, credit cards, and lottery agents” (2), Brooks says. I agree with Brooks when he writes that “state governments have played a role” (2). They encourage the advertisement of this facade of striking it rich by means o f random selection. You, along with thousands, millions of people can pay a fee to get your name entered into a lottery system where you could potentially win it big.
How contradictory is this of our very own government, “the guardian of order, telling people that they don’t have to work hard to build for the future? ” (2) Furthermore our representatives in congress and in the white house have spent a pile of cash working towards promises that won’t become realities until it is the next generation’s duty to deal with. Am I the only one that feels as though our own government shouldn’t be the one encouraging ideals that contradict frugality and hard work so boldly?
Another huge issue that Brooks’ emphasizes is that many americans, mainly those in the “lottery class” as described before, consider it perfectly to be up to your eyes in debt before turning thirty. Obviously any oblivious member of society can get roped into the credit card scam in seconds and be heavily hit by debts in the following months. “Instead of targeting the financially astute, who pay off their debts, they’ve found it that they can make money off the young and vulnerable” (2).
The young people of america’s universities are in the sights of the smiling, friendly team of credit card company employees, hunting for their next victim. Though it does seem at first glance we are in trouble as a nation as far as economics are concerned, there is hope. If Obama gets elected, many new campaigns for jobs will be created. He plans on tax breaks for US companies that will make new jobs and keep old ones. He plans on a special tax for millionaires, as well as programs that trains millions of Americans to get the skills they need to get hired. Also, obama plans on creating new rules nationwide to keep kids in school longer.
Laws currently exist in about 15 states, however in many children can drop out at 16 or 17 years old. Obama also want to create a push in the energy field. He wants to push towards the up and coming natural gas, as well as many other forms of energy, which open up a new field of positions and ultimately jobs. As far as the republican side of the spectrum for the presidential race, Romney plans on taxing the higher income households more as well. It’s certainly going to take a lot of hard work and commitment, but I beleive together as a nation we can pull ourselves out of this money pit.