If you read the media at all you are bombarded non-stop by sob stories of people that have been ripped off by scam artists. IWillTeachYoutoBeRich has one such story about Russ Whitney. Nearly every story about the current sub prime loan crisis is biased towards the "victim" borrowers and against the evil corporations that mis-represented their products.
Implicit in all these stories is the assumption that it is someone else's responsibility (usually the Federal Government) to keep borrowers or buyers from doing something financially beyond their means and that once they do something stupid, to bail them out no questions asked.
This is pure socialism that assumes that citizens are incapable of fending for themselves in a free market and are always at the mercy of greedy (and much smarter) businessmen. Of course, we are expected to believe that the government (which runs the Post Office and IRS) are somehow more efficient or benevolent than the average businessman.
Fundamentally, the important point is that as a culture we have changed from a saving society to one that thrives on debt. This transition took place during the FDR administration when the government adopted Keynesian Economic policies and switched peoples mentality from savings to spending.
I have observed the effects of long term socialism on a society first hand in Russia and it is not a pretty sight. The hopes and dreams of the ordinary citizen have been pulled from them leaving not much to live for. Personal responsibility in this country is pretty much going the way of the vinyl record. Most people expect that the government will take care of their retirement, want the government to take care of their health care, and think the best ways to get rich are win the lottery or sue someone.
Chancellor Otto von Bismarck established the first welfare system in the 1880's. He wanted a public so dependant on the Kaiser's government that they could be herded like cattle. FDR and his political descendants have accomplished their goal.
I mentioned the other day that I gave a lecture to students and was there during study hall. 90% of the students were goofing off. Maybe if they would bother to learn, they wouldn't be as darn stupid as the current crop of adults and I wouldn't have to pay more taxes to bail them out of their stupidity.