An independent’s perspective on politics: Capitalistic greed charged on credit

October 30, 2009

by Lance Traweek

With the culmination of a housing market facing foreclosure, banks going broke, and an unemployment rate reaching critical mass, most Americans can’t even afford to pay the bill to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And who is to blame for the economic pothole we find ourselves stuck in? Unless you’ve gotten your cable disconnected, too, you can probably identify a few of the economic criminals.

A quick review of the mug shots:

Angelo Mozilo, co-founder of Countrywide, offered huge mortgages to borrowers who were unable to pay off their loans.

Phil Gramm, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee from 1995 to 2000, was a leading spokesman in Congress for financial deregulation.

Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve chairman and the former economic guru of the ’90s, was mistaken in believing that financial institutions could regulate themselves.

Bill Clinton decreased housing regulations which, in turn, increased lending in low-income areas. Hank Paulson, treasury secretary in 2006 under the Bush administration, waited too long to fight the financial downturn.

George W. Bush bought time for banks and brokers by essentially doing nothing, which resulted in derailing the economy from its core.

Pointing fingers at politicians, blaming the banks and bullying the bystanders proves to be the stance taken by most media and Americans, but, in reality, we also contributed to the economic debacle with our constant consumption, charged on credit.

According to TIME magazine, household debt in the United States skyrocketed to “more than 130 percent of income in 2007, up from about 60 percent in 1982.”

With that said, it’s ironic how many Americans today disapprove of the stimulus packages. The government’s deficit is merely mirroring the average American consumer’s debt.

Hey, if you want a new gas guzzling SUV, go for it. The bank will give you a loan, and if the bank runs out of money, Uncle Sam will be there to cover your reckless spending. And who will pay for it? Future generations with credit card debt themselves. It’s an ongoing cycle of greed, overconsumption and reckless expenditures.

Wanting the most at the lowest price is the American way. The principles of capitalism are to seek self-profit to strengthen the free market, but money mongers with assets in Wall Street are puppeteering economic instability.

We’ll pay for it later, along with everything else.

Lance Traweek is a junior journalism and political science major from Monroe who serves as managing editor for The Tech Talk.