My Two Cents

Why did we borrow so much?

Chris Farrell Jan 16, 2009

It’s easy to beat up on people for borrowing too much.

Problem is, much of the commentary I’m reading seems misplaced. Most people didn’t borrow to emulate Imelda Marcos and buy as many shoes as possible. It wasn’t materialism and instant gratification run amuck.

No, they borrowed to move to a safer neighborhood with better schools, to send their children to college. In a sense, much–although not all–of the borrowing boom reflects private efforts to overcome public policy failures, especially when it comes to education. But the private cost–borrowed money–was too much for the average household.

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