For those who remember the days of recession, high unemployment and high inflation in the 1970s, the state of the American economy in 1999 is remarkable. We are enjoying the longest peacetime recovery in U.S. history, a record low unemployment rate (4.3 percent in May), and few signs of inflation, despite rapid expansion of output and jobs. The strength of the U.S.
Everyone seems to agree that America's moral fabric is being undermined by the unwise proliferation of consumer credit. We readily believe those who claim that easy credit fuels rampant hedonism and leads many to bankruptcy. Wistfully, we compare ourselves to ancestors who supposedly controlled their spending and never went into debt. We believe that our present affluence is a bubble that will surely burst.