When none of this brings the promised happiness and fulfillment, we turn to drink, or pills, or counselors, or divorce court and seek significance in new things and relationships on what quickly becomes a personal boulevard of broken dreams.
We can't say we haven't been warned about this endless pursuit of stuff. The writer of Ecclesiastes wrote, "Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. ŠAs goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them?" (Ecclesiastes 5:10-11)
When wants and needs are confused, desires become entitlements and politicians are afraid to tell people what they need to hear. Instead they tell them what they want to hear. Anger and envy result, as well as frustration with a political system that was not designed to indulge its citizens in their lusts or subsidize their greed.
Who will tell us that unending and expanding prosperity with home values constantly rising and a citizenry always able to afford them is a fantasy that is bound to end in heartache for those who buy into it?
The economy isn't bad. We are bad for believing that more is better and the most is best. We have an abundance of things, but a deficit of character. The economy is a false god, a golden calf. When this false god doesn't deliver, we complain to politicians who are happy to accept our faith in them to give us what we want - if we will only pledge to them our allegiance at election time.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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