I agree greed is universal and not at all new and not "entirely attributable to brain washing" but I do believe that America has taken it to a new level in recent years though.

My friend in England's husband owns a car repair shop in a resort region of northern England. He has seen one Hummer in the 6 years since I have known her.

I think we have an incredible sense of entitlement in this country that really blows my mind and I certainly do think advertisement and 24 hour news stations have contributed to that.
That whole "American Way" thing.
President Bush urged us to "stimulate the economy" by going out and shopping.

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...it's about learning how to dance in the rain."