The debt-based economy has turned the entire nation into a "...company town". Americans are living on borrowing, and when the economy slows down, the repayment of those loans becomes a trap. Eventually, the lenders acquire those few things Americans own that actually have any worth, namely their homes. And it is worth reminding to those readers who claim that our nation is still doing well that private ownership of homes has been in decline for quite some time. Whereas home ownership was the reality for most of our parents and grandparents, a far larger percentage of Americans are now renting. Americans are working their lives out, and at the end, they have little but a few status-icons to show for it. Our rear ends are well decorated with designer jeans, but if you think about it, blue jeans are pretty much what the workers in those older company towns wore into the mines every day. Is there any difference between the blue jeans you wear, made expensive with a designer label, and their blue jeans, made expensive by the company store? Is it not really the same trap at work?