Just recently, Rex Nutting penned an opinion piece for MarketWatch entitled “Consumer Debt Is Not A Ticking Time Bomb.” His primary point is that low per-capita debt ratios and debt-to-dpi ratios show the consumer is quite healthy and won’t be the primary subject of the next crisis. To wit:
“However, most Americans are better off now than they were 10-years ago, or even a few years ago. The finances of American households are strong.
But, that’s not what a lot of people think. More than a decade after a massive credit orgy by households brought down the U.S. and global economies, lots of people are convinced that households are still borrowing so much money that it will inevitably crash the economy.
Those critics see a consumer debt bomb growing again. But they are wrong.”
I do agree with Rex on his point that the U.S. consumer won’t be the sole cause of the next crisis. It will be a combination of household and corporate debt combined with underfunded pensions, which will collide in the next crisis.
However, there is a household debt problem which is hidden by the way governmental statistics are calculated.
Indebted To The American Dream
The idea of “maintaining a certain standard of living” has become a foundation in our society today.Americans, in general, have come to believe they are “entitled” to a certain type of house, car, and general lifestyle which includes NOT just the basic necessities of living such as food, running water, and electricity, but also the latest mobile phone, computer, and high-speed internet connection. (Really, what would be the point of living if you didn’t have access to Facebook every two minutes?)
But, like most economic data, you have to dig behind the numbers to reveal the true story.
So let’s do that, shall we?
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…