The government reported Thursday that household debt in the third quarter fell for the first time ever. Meanwhile, net worth dropped by the largest amount on record based on data going back to 1951.While the fact that household worth has dropped isn't surprising, given the way homes have continued to drop in value, I am a bit curious about the decrease in credit use. I would have assumed that as people lost jobs or had their employment drop to part time, they would be more likely to pay for necessities like food and gas with credit. It appears that this is not the case, primarily because lenders are beginning to take a closer look at how much they're lending, and to whom.
As in previous articles discussing the use of credit by Americans, this one also communicates a barely disguised dismay at the fact that Americans are "spending less". This is because the economy as we know it is highly reliant on our purchase of assorted doo-dads of greater or lesser value, which are designed to wear out quickly so that we are forced to purchase replacement doo-dads.
As I've said before, this notion that Americans need to spend more to keep the economy moving is highly suspect! Why would our government and/or knowledgeable economists want Americans to use money that they don't have? It seems as if (as we're currently experiencing), building an economy on 'credit' creates a house of cards---if just a few cards at the bottom of the house are knocked out, we all come tumbling down. It's as if the people who make decisions at the very top of our economic structure want us to be a nation of serfs, ever more dependent on our 'feudal lords', the credit companies.
That is no life for me. I will continue to save money, spend it on needs (and some wants, within reason), and eventually gain financial independence from lifelong serfdom in the Land of Easy Credit.