David Brooks -- Bobos in Paradise and On Paradise Drive -- has written an editorial about the destructive qualities of the last 30 years of "financial decadence," that is, irresponsible amounts of debt.
Of course, the collapse of the housing bubble has this topic is on everyone's mind. This was a boom fueled almost entirely by stratospheric amounts of debt, credit both easy and weird, and also by our collective, nostalgic, frequently misplaced faith in the inherent value of "owning" one's own home.
This bubble is even worse than the stock bubble of the 90s -- when a stock bubble collapses, it leaves people broke and sometimes out of work. But when a housing finance bubble collapses it leaves people broke, homeless, deeply in debt, and eventually out of work as well. It turns neighborhoods into ghost towns of suburban blight.
But, oddly, Mr. Bobo doesn't even mention the housing bubble as a symptom of financial decadence -- perhaps because it would seem to undermine other socially conservative ideas he likes to champion? After all, how does he think his beloved Bobos (his word for the nouveau yuppie, a portmanteau of bourgeois and bohemian) got their sprawling mansions on Paradise Drive? Paying cash?