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08/19/2005 Archived Entry: "Gold and debt"

I'M FINALLY REALLY READING, rather than just skimming, Silver's excellent post on gold this morning. I followed the link to the first article and found the statement, "The really scary thing is that the majority of Americans are net debtors (symptoms of inflation and the bias against savings created by Social Security and the tax code)."

As often as I hear that "Americans are net debtors" (and haven't we all heard it a million times?) I never fail to be startled and appalled. I mean, when you stop and think about it, really think about it, only very, very foolish people become net debtors and remain that way for long. If I understand properly, being net debtors means that most Americans not only owe more than they make every year, but actually owe more than the value of everything they've acquired in life.

Sure, somebody might go into "negative worth" to build a business or make a promising investment. But to live that way? Any of our grandparents could have told us who such people are: wastrels, spendthrifts, ne'er-do-wells, profligates, dissipators, good-time Charlies, and prodigals. In short, not the best people to have for neighbors. Have we really become a whole country of high-rollers who live only for today, believing luck (or the government) will take care of us tomorrow?

I've often described myself as poor. But when I read that above-quoted statement today, I realized that although I make little and live simply, I'm probably actually rich compared with millions of pepole who live "better" than I do. How 'bout that? I'm not poor at all. Compared with the guy who's taken all the equity out of his house and spent the money on vacations, fancy gadgets, and an ever-depreciating $30,000 vehicle, I'm wealthy! Thanks for the day-brightening thought, Silver.

Posted by Claire @ 02:13 PM CST

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