While there is a germ of truth in your statement that it (economic problems) is a desire to live better than one deserves to. . .there are many shades and hues missing from your summation.
YEs, the American public is to blame. As I posted to Robert, self-control is a quality missing from the American profile while hubris is ascendent.
For years, I have been saying that the level of credit card debt . . . I was blindsided by the mortgage thing, although, as I have what I consider a grasp of the history of the mortgage run up, I should not have been . . . was no different than the 1920s practice of buying stocks on the margin.
Both are the use of fake money . . . both are best captured by the character Wimpy from the Popeye cartoons . . . I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.
However, spendius, what is lacking in your analysis is that for 80% of the working public, real wages have remained flat since 1979 while advertising has been Satan-on-our-screens rather than our shoulders, urging us to buy.