The whole mortgage crisis and the credit crunch are awfully complex. People talk of good debt turned bad, of banks that aren't intetested in foreclosing on homes, of spending billions of taxpayer dollars to help failing businesses. Who knew who Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were before all this started? And who among them knew they were government agencies?
A lot of the problems apparently came from very sophisticated financial commodities. Some problems were more simple: people weren't able to pay their debt. A story on National Public Radio noted that the current total indebtedness of the American people is now at the level of the Gross National Product. The only other recorded time that happened? Just before the Great Depression.
My hope is that this crisis will get our attention. We've gotten awfully comfortable with debt as a culture, with myself as an example. I, for one, intend to maintain relative financial simplicity. To start living more strictly within my means, even if that means - gasp - lowering my standard of living a little.
Some of you think that's a really obvious choice. I think it's an oddly foreign concept to my generation. Maybe this is our chance to get our priorities straight.