What's the impact of the 2009 financial crisis on American culture?

I was recently asked this question by a reader of my blog -- and thought it was such a good question that I'd ask all of you.

My initial answer -- "I don't know" was accurate but insufficient.  I think that this past year is going to be perceived as having a significant impact on our culture. Below are some random thoughts on the question in the title of this post:

  • The crisis was self inflicted and could not be externalized that easily. It's a little like a smoker who develops a bad cough.
  • The crisis was not bad enough to cause real crisis in the streets -- or more specifically, the crisis wasn't so bad as to unite people in an emotion of grief, frustration, anger.
  • The Madoff story gives both an externalized bad guy and a mechanism for uniting people emotionally. 
  • People who were conservative with debt are the ones that worked through this period the easiest. 
  • Our way out of the crisis includes the issuance of massive amounts of country debt -- the repayment of which remains a question.
  • I like the idea of Pres. Obama and Gov. Schwarzenegger as the best bond salesman in the history of the world.