In Tough Times, Americans Rediscover a Forgotten VirtueCOLLEEN CARROLL CAMPBELL
"Thrift," said the Roman philosopher Seneca, "comes too late when you find it at the bottom of your purse." The truth behind that age-old adage is painfully obvious to millions of Americans today.
Reeling from high gas prices, home foreclosures and plans for a taxpayer-financed $700-billion bailout of faltering financial institutions, many of us are chafing at the thrift that has been thrust upon us. The prospect of paying someone else's debts is particularly irksome for Americans who did nothing to contribute to the mortgage crisis that has convulsed our economy.
Instead, we're looking at gawky hybrids and economy cars even smaller than my 14-year-old Toyota Corolla. We're dreaming about great gas mileage instead of leather seats and sunroofs. And we're finding, to our dismay, that car dealers are on to our kind. In a reversal from just a few years ago, SUVs and bulkier sedans now boast rock-bottom prices, and gas-sipping compacts that were a steal a few years ago now fetch big bucks.
America's new thriftiness trend extends beyond buying choices. A new U.S. Census Bureau report released this week found that the number of parents, siblings and other relatives who live with adult heads of households grew 42 percent from 2000 to 2007. The greatest growth -- 67 percent -- came in the number of parents living with adult children. That's surely not an ideal arrangement for some parents, but in tight economic times, you do what you have to do. You lean on family.
Colleen Carroll Campbell. "In Tough Times, Americans Rediscover a Forgotten Virtue." St. Louis Post-Dispatch. (September 25, 2008).
Reprinted with permission of the author, Colleen Carroll Campbell.
Colleen Carroll Campbell is an author, television and radio host and St. Louis-based fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. She is the author of The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy. Colleen Carroll Campbell writes for a wide variety of national publications, speaks to audiences across America, and hosts her own television show, "Faith & Culture," on EWTN, the world's largest religious media network. Her website is here.
Copyright © 2008 Colleen Carroll Campbell
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