The evil of many is the consolation of fools
Recently, I drove by the upscale crime-free neighborhood of Coral Gables, Fla., where the home my wife and I bought 50 years ago still stands. I recall the purchase price was around $15,000; we paid $600 down and $127 a month. My wife was a homemaker who cared for our three small children while I went to work. The home, now priced at $300,000-plus, has been improved.
What has changed in 50 years? Why do most young couples find it practically impossible to buy a home in which to raise children? What has deprived our young people of the opportunities we enjoyed?
One obvious answer is the economic situation. The rate of U.S. production and growth has diminished, government is gargantuan and we have $20 trillions of Treasury debt. The printing of poorly-backed currency has caused devaluation of the dollar and inflation; our purchasing capacity is diminished. It now takes two household incomes to provide basic household expenses and education. The idea of “disposable income” is becoming negligible for most.
The other answer is cultural change. As traditional economic principles and ethics were rejected in the 1960s and 70s, so were social and cultural traditions. The great wealth produced by the U.S. in the mid-20th Century caused everyone to buy more stuff. Material things and toys for adults and children took the place of conversation, reading and learning. All households soon owned multiple TVs, cars, computers, cell phones and now iPads. Drugs, pornography, violence, teen sex and unwed motherhood became normal. "Hooking-up" and abortions of convenience are acceptable. We are in societal breakdown.
Can we console ourselves by saying the whole world is in trouble? No. An old Spanish proverb says: “The evil [or ills] of many is the consolation of fools.” Should we take joy in the fact that France, Italy and Spain are suffering? Of course not. Speaking strictly of economics, we still have the advantage over smaller economies; the comparative international value of the dollar still exceeds the buying power of these European states. This offers no comfort because we live in a global economy where all of humanity is both economically and spiritually intertwined.
Europe suffered devastating world wars; they overcame physical and economic ruin through struggle and thrift. Then they turned fatally to socialism and its resulting ills. Now they are trying once again to get their houses in order. Instead of learning from the European experience, we are being railroaded toward the very socialist state that Europe is in the process of dismantling. The only way to avoid this train wreck in the U.S. is to vote for a change in leadership, beginning with the 2014 elections.
M. A. Pirez-Fabar