The lizard-queen points to a great commercial in a discussion of consumer debt. Check out the post if only for the commercial. It’s an interesting entry in the category of almost acknowledging enormous national problems in order to sell something.
She endorses the claim (from this dude over here) that rising consumer debt is a product of declining wages among the lower or lower-middle classes. But I don’t think that can be the entire story. There are plenty of households making $200,000 a year (or $75,000) who over-extend themselves and don’t save, though the percentages change as incomes increase. I think it’s a larger problem that debt and imprudence have been de-stigmatized. It’s something of an ugly idea, especially since some people can’t feasibly afford to be debt-free, but I think we have to choose between a situation where people are up to their eyeballs in debt, and one where we respond to people in debt by saying “this is irresponsible.”
I should note that the housing-bubble aside, debt on a house is quite different than other forms of debt, both for the social benefits of home-ownership and as an investment.