This subject was the main factor in the collapse of the Roman Empire. We are living beyond our means and you can thank easy access to credit for that one. Really, a lot of the inflated costs are from this, college, cars, houses, furniture, phones and even healthcare (insurance is essentially hybrid financing). Poor people don't own spending too much. I see hardworking people doing it all the time, theres not any income level in which this stops. But, that's another problem too. Welfare was mentioned so here's another way to look at that, it can go together with this. I hate people abusing it and really the notion of it except out of extreme necessity. I have learned to accept it for 1 reason. The people that live off these things are not going to work - ever. They are not going to get motivated to help themselves, they will not accept responsibility for their lives but they are going to eat and they are going to do whatever nonsense they want to do. So you can either take a few bucks from your taxes and keep them under the rug and have no problems or keep the couple bucks and have desperate people stealing your crap and lowering your overall quality of life. I have accepted it as a very small price to pay for better quality of life. It's not right but it is what it is. The system is more for me than it is for them.