Our Frugal Forebears (?)

From Yeager(1974) in the Southern Economic Journal, 41(1): 96-102:  “Concern has been expressed that the burden of consumer indebtedness is becoming so excessive as to constitute a threat to the stability of the economy.”  To which he adds later, “One interpretation of the information developed thus far is that American consumers have reached a ‘saturation point’ in the amount of debt they wish to carry or are able to carry, relative to disposable income.  This saturation point was apparently reached in the mid-sixties….”  Actually the latter point is true by many measures of household indebtedness–the real growth in household debt was in the post-War period and since then we’ve seen largely a change in the composition of debt but not the overall debt burden.