Only those know to swim parallel to the shore can escape the destructive rip-tide of debt and speculative risk pulling everyone to insecurity and impoverishment.
Longtime correspondent Kevin K. recently shared an extremely insightful analogy of our financial peril. Those of you who swim or body-surf in the ocean are familiar with rip-tides–strong currents shaped by the contours of inlets and bays that pull unwary swimmers rapidly out to sea.
The only way to escape the rip-tide is to swim parallel to the shore. This succeeds because the rip-tide is like a narrow river; once the swimmer moves out of the strong flow, the current’s deadly pull quickly subsides.Those with experience of rip-tides know that it is futile to swim against the tide–those who try will only exhaust themselves, and be carried away despite their exertions.
Kevin described the economic and cultural rip-tide of the postwar years 1945 – 1985 as positive: anyone caught in this great tide of prosperity would be carried into secure jobs, homeownership, opportunities for attending college–all the critical elements of middle-class prosperity that were widely available to the majority of households.
This tide of prosperity was powered by the GI Bill that paid higher education costs for 20+ million veterans of World War II and Korea and later, of the Vietnam war, abundant factory and office jobs that offered relatively high pay to those with little education, and dirt-cheap (by today’s standards) college. (CUNY, the public university in New York, was free until the late 1970s.)
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