The boost in the foreclosure rate to close to 2.5 percent shows the raw side of a market correction made worse by shabby lending practices that lured some people to buy homes they could not afford. Some families will experience the heartbreak of losing those homes, but also some families who had been priced out of the market now can reach for that dream. Thanks to improved federal regulations, they stand a better chance of holding onto it.
Yes, there is bad news. The stock market is down and the housing market likely won't begin to bounce back this year. The federal deficit is expected to hit $400 billion this year. Worse yet, Washington has promised Social Security and Medicare benefits without paying for them. As a result, according to former Comptroller General David Walker, every American owns a $175,000 share of Uncle Sam's unfunded liabilities.
Health care costs have soared -- and that has made it more expensive for businesses to operate and governments to provide services. It doesn't matter that people with cancer and other serious illnesses stand a better chance of beating the disease, and enjoy a higher quality of life. Americans expect health care costs to rise more slowly, even if they are getting considerably more effective care. And it doesn't help when some adults have to work two part-time jobs to make ends meet, but don't qualify for health care insurance at either.
Do I worry about where this country is headed? Who doesn't? But what concerns me is that Americans keep expecting more goodies from their government -- with someone else always paying for it.
The other thing that worries me: We have no idea how good we have it.
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