Rushsums it up:
Victor Davis Hanson today has a nice post at National Review Online, and I've been trying to say this for the past couple of days in an attempt to explain what really irritates people, and it's irritated me for a long time, too. Let me set it up by asking how many times in your lifetime have you heard politicians and pundits complain that the US personal savings rate is horrible? You know, you need to save more, you're not saving enough, even though you're putting money away in a Keogh plan or a SEP Keogh or a 401(k) or whatever, most Americans are investors now, even their pension plans where they work. And yet we still hear this lament that people aren't saving enough. We had Senator Hollins, "Too much consuming going on out there. Not enough saving going on out there." All right, okay, so people save money. Now, here is Victor Davis Hanson's take on this: "The common theme is the hard-working American who tried to save is being punished by those who used his set-asides to unduly enrich themselves, aided by revolving-door politicians who now wanted cash donations from, and later good jobs on, Wall Street." [Emphasis mine]
In the sudden rush to blame the crooks in DC and on Wall Street, we should first take a long look in the mirror. For two decades, we — as in we Americans — expected to buy homes, flip them, and walk away with thousands — without much thought about what might happen to the johnny-come-lately at the bottom of the pyramid when the game was finally up and housing prices cooled or crashed. Walking away from a mortgage on a house with negative equity was "smart;" putting someone in one who had no ability to come up with a down payment, monthly payments, taxes, and maintenance was "fair"; borrowing unduly against equity for cash expenditures was "understandable."
I personally didn't do any of these things, and I'm betting neither did Dad29. Actually I can't think of a single person I know among all our friends and family who did these things (except for my hairdresser who was pretty good at flipping condos).
But I get the point. We've all benefited (until now) from an economy that apparently was based partly on fraud, greed, and deception. And now we're all going to pay the piper.