Golden Chains: 5 Ways America's Wealth Undermines Our Character
2) We've grown wasteful as a nation.
Not long ago, I did a HuffPostLive panel about the money the government spends on PBS. The biggest defense offered for spending 3 1/2 billion dollars over the next decade on a television station when hundreds of commercial channels exist? "It's such a small amount of money." On the one hand, that may be a small amount of money compared to some of the bigger expenditures we make. However, it's also higher than the yearly gross domestic product of whole nations like Belize, Tonga, and Grenada. In other words, we're going to spend more on Big Bird in the next decade than those entire countries will produce this year.
The scary thing is that most of us are okay with expenditures like this. Of course, when you spend a few billion here and a few billion there, it can add up in a hurry. Incidentally, that would have been a semi-funny, albeit geeky joke 20 years ago, but today, it's not. That's because the American people have grown so jaded about spending billions of dollars. On a smaller level, there are whole industries -- cell phones, TV, automobiles -- that rely on Americans disposing of perfectly good, still functional products in order to get more fashionable models. While it's nice to have enough money to do that, it also tells you a lot about how most Americans think. They believe they have plenty of money, they expect the cash flow to continue, and they don't see a need to hold back on spending a significant amount of money for even minor improvements.