Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Are we the richest country on earth?
Per capita, Americans make the most money per year than any other country in the world. But, we have a very low savings rate and we borrow money from credit card companies, mortgage companies, and banks to maintain our lifestyle. So, where does that leave us? I don't know enough to write a treatise on the subject but it seems to me that if we're constantly leveraging our assets to create a cash flow to keep up with the Joneses, that this is not a sound principle. Gone are the days when people aspired to own their own homes free and clear although there are some good arguments to be made for the advantages of using the tax-break for mortgages. Also, there are other ways to gauge wealth and riches. Are Americans healthy and happy? Do we find spiritual fulfillment? So, I don't know that we are but it seems to me that we should all take stock of where we are in all areas of our lives to find a balance. And, in the midst of personal decisions, the government is creating an inflationary situation which never helps. So, perhaps we are the richest country in the world still but I think that on a personal and institutional level this question is worth considering.