Ezra points out the world's scariest chart, in which household debt rockets higher than the rise in US GDP, 2000 to present, to the tune of $3 trillion dollars. It's like our own private Iraq!
That's tremendous, and it shows just how much of the recent "good times" have been a function of the increased availability of debt, credit, refinancing, and a variety of other financial instruments that helped us feel rich today even as we courted a reckoning tomorrow. Essentially, we've been operating a procrastination economy, in which we refused to actually face up to the amount of work needed to restore broad-based wage increases and real prosperity. Credit has been the mechanism we've used to put it off. But now it's all piled up, and the job is much, much larger.
But here's a question. Is this just a matter of frighteningly intense laziness and denial, or is it a matter of the structural impossibility of restoring broad-based wage increases and real prosperity? Or even just a matter of no longer being able to enjoy fake prosperity and narrowly-based wage increases without a mountain of household debt?