President Obama asserted on Monday that “we are not a nation of deadbeats.” He spoke with an authority that was missing when he said that he believed in American exceptionalism like “the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” Is he right about U.S. debt, or is he lying to himself because “deadbeat” Americans are following the example of their leader?

Brett Arends reports the ugly truth for MarketWatch:

Far from paying our bills, the current generation of Americans — or some of them — have set records for default which probably have no parallel in the history of the human race. During the last five years, U.S. individuals have walked away from a staggering $585 billion in mortgages, credit card debts and other personal loans. That works out at about $6,000 per household. …

[F]or all the chest-thumping about how Americans are repairing their balance sheets and how we aren’t a nation of deadbeats, in the last five years Americans have walked away from $3 in debt for every $2 they’ve paid off.

Is it any wonder individual Americans don’t take their own debt seriously when their president shows up on David Letterman and says $16 trillion in debt isn’t “a long-term problem”? Advocates of the recent “fiscal cliff” deal tout their serious “cuts” — that still balloon deficits and debt by trillions. As the Heritage Foundation notes, publicly held federal debt is projected to exceed 100 percent of U.S. GDP by 2024, and yet each “compromise” to come out of each congressional crisis involves more debt. …


About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

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