Commenter 'Sechel' has it right. In my era, you didn't touch a house unless you had 20% down; no exceptions unless you had a VA loan. Cars would be typically paid off in eighteen months to two years. Second had appliances were common.
Ah yes, a bygone era of responsibility and common sense.
Then again, we didn't send jobs out of the country. We didn't export manufacturing, we didn't import foreign nurses, engineers, etc to drive down labor and wages. No bank would lend out mortgage money with a three percent down payment. Remember the concept of skin in the game?
Maybe we should start exporting bankers, hedge fund managers, entire stock exchanges, etc. Oh wait; I forgot, I live in eastern Massachusetts surrounded by The Coastal Elites who never gave a dam about others and would willingly sell out anyone or any function to have "cheap stuff" and a nice lifestyle.
We need an adiabatic economy. True, it is a very old fashion idea, but it is something to re-evaluate.