We couldn't keep our wallets in our pants. Must be China's fault:
China, some economists say, lulled American consumers, and their leaders, into complacency about their spendthrift ways.We couldn't keep our equity in our houses on account of having to refill our wallets. De devil made us do it! China's fault, obviously.
Look, however many economists were asleep, including Ben Bernanke, although he at least was having a nightmare or two, financing consumption out of your capital is a bad idea. Sure, let's reverse mortgage the whole goddamn country! Whee! Except a reverse mortgage is predicated on the borrower dying.
It's especially a bad idea when that capital asset is (a) in a wild price bubble (efficient market, my ass) and (b) the place you take shelter from the elements. When the Learning Channel is running multi-hour blocks of "Flip That House", the pyramid scheme is pretty obviously just about over.
But, hey, the President's just a renter, so what does he care? We should have all had such foresight.