I'm sorry I was using facts and numbers to come up with my assertions. You can go here and see a chart of household debt as a percentage of disposable income. http://bonddad.blogspot.com/2008/04/were-nowhere-near-bottom-in-housing.html By and large people have been dropping out of the middle class. You give us Bill Gates, but thats just one guy. For every Gates (I won't even get into how he made his money), theres a thousand people dropping into a lower income bracket. Wages have been stagnate for the last 8 years, but inflation has not. Probably had something to do with Greenspan paying people to take money. Buying stuff is not free trade. Heres a definition. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_trade You seem to be confusing it with modernization. Thats why we have more "stuff". That and massive amounts of debt. I'll parrot the "Liberals" when they're right and backed up with actual economic data. I don't agree with them on gun control, etc., but I'm well past the point where I identify with the Republicans who don't have my economic interests at heart. I also try to look at things objectively, not the "feel" I have in my gut. You should try it some time. You'll find some interesting things. Like even the Fed things we're in "doom and gloom" recession.