The Hound has been beating up the Wall Street bankers, credit managers, the Bush administration and certain members of Congress who went along with the financial meltdown we've been nervous about the past few weeks. Like the rest of you, The Hound's mistress' 401(k) is now a 104(k). She says her early retirement target date is now age 86. But then The Hound did some research.
Boy, are we a bunch of stupids in this country, living on borrowed time --- borrowed money time, that is.
Blame Wall Street? Hah, look in the mirror, rubes. Check out these facts:
1) Today, the average American household has $8,565 in credit-card debt, a figure 15 percent higher than it was in 2000, when President Bush was narrowly elected.
2) Nearly 30 percent of the U.S. national debt --- $2.6 trillion --- is held by foreign governments. The top four? Japan, China, United Kingdom, Brazil. How did the Carnivale country get to own a piece of the U.S. rock?
3) Forty-three percent of U.S. households spend more than they earn annually, therefore living on credit card debt. See No. 1 above.
4) Forty-four percent of American households say they live "pay check to pay check" --- up from 37 percent in 2006.
5) About 42 percent of U.S. households lack enough liquid savings to support themselves for three months.
So the next time you want to blame politicos for the state of your personal economy or even the nation's economy, remember the 1992 Clinton campaign mantra: It's the economy, stupid. In this case, as we approach Election Day 2008, it's plural.
So don't expect Uncle Sugar to bail you out. You have no credit or capital and are close to having no collateral. Welcome to the Third World.