Americans are spenders. We take on too much debt—to finance a new home, a car, an education, or by racking up miscellaneous debt on our credit cards.
We are, in fact, encouraged to spend as much as we are encouraged to save, sometimes by different businesses within the same financial services company. A company can have an investment management arm working to educate American workers on the benefits of saving, while it also has a large consumer credit card and mortgage business.
The U.S. government also plays a big role in encouraging America’s spending frenzy, sometimes in not so subtle ways. In December 2006, President George W. Bush said that the best thing Americans could do for the country was “to go shopping.”