08/24/2007 06:15 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Just Getting By

Courtesy of The Henry Rollins Show

Advertisers and companies who attempt to set the trends for the American consumer are slowly but surely separating good people from their hard-earned money by changing the perception of what "getting by" looks like.

Getting by used to mean that when you didn't have much money, you were careful with it so you could...get by. The new version of "getting by" looks like pretty large living to me and has for many proven to be a costly and potentially dangerous trip into financial insatiability. I wonder how many people can really afford to run up those cell phone hours, drive a new car, take a vacation when they don't even work full-time and buy a home when they can't even pay their rent. It's this one that the banks really sank their teeth into. Offering sub-prime loans that even the poorest Americans were sure they could afford. Through a non-stop advertising assault by banks and lenders, many Americans got it in their heads that they couldn't get by without a house. The president says there's more people buying houses in America than ever before. He leaves out the part about the rise in foreclosures though.

I've seen so many ad campaigns that promise a life of relative leisure and contentment that can be yours, should be yours, and will be yours by just calling this number, what are you waiting for?! If you can just ease a little more into credit debt, you can have it, for awhile. How ironic that people I know who actually have money live way below their means and those who have very little money seem to be hell-bent on having even less. My bottom line is this: There are lot of people in America who will insist that when they drove that new car down that gentle slope laden with warning signs to the abyss -- they were just getting by.

-- Henry Rollins