Gas prices are averaging over $4 a gallon nation wide. This summer promises to reach over $5 as economic uncertainty, continual federal printing, and economic uncertainty push the value of the dollar down. As the dollar goes down, gas goes up because it take more less valuable dollars to buy the same gas. What should we do? Don’t assume it will magically get better. Prepare for the new reality. As Joseph prepared for seven lean years by stocking away 20 percent of his money into margin and savings, so you and I need to squeeze our budgets and spending really hard to prepare for what’s coming: interest rates will be going up, prices of gas will be going up, and food prices will be going up. If you don’t have a budget, start one now. If you have no savings, better begin work on a $1000 emergency fund. Don’t think that doing the same think you’ve always done will prepare you for challenges ahead.
As you read through the Bible, you find yourself almost screaming at the characters, “Stop disobeying God, remember how it led you to slavery last time. Stop before it’s too late….” You see it as Abraham lies about his wife… Twice. Moses loses his temper -time and time again. Then there is the constant dripping of Israelite complaint, all through the book of Numbers. You see it in Judges, as the nation goes through the same enslaving cycle over… and over… and over again. You see it as you read through the book of Kings: Good king then bad king–good king and then another bad king. Each time God comes out, blows the whistle, and says, “Alright, one more lap around the wilderness boys. Maybe now, you’ll learn your lesson. It’s like most of the Bible is stuck in Bill Murray’s Groundhog’s Day repeating the same mistakes over and over and over again.
They run a lap and then go back to the same old patterns. The whistle blows sharply again, “One more lap around the wilderness.” Again and again they keep doing the same old things, getting the same old results.
As Proverbs 26:11 “As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.”
This pattern applies to the alcoholic face down in his own vomit. It applies to the addict who keeps trying to escape reality through a quick fix. It is seen in the daily return to idols of status, performance, or appearance, over God to form our very identity. This pattern is also true when it comes to economics. The big difference is that an entire nation of harmless by-standers can be covered and mired in the folly that is regurgitated out of Keynesian Political leaders.
The economy went out drinking in the late 90’s–on pets.com and tech bubbles. They were out all night thinking that overspending, low interest rates, and borrowing from other nations taste great. But they were in denial, by not realizing that what tastes great today, can be “less filling” tomorrow. As the market attempted to experience the “morning after” in 2000, George Bush and Alan Greenspan decided to help sober up “mainstreet” and Wall Street, by passing out more liquor. Remember those wonderful stimulus checks that didn’t work, or the artificially HISTORIC low interest rates that would balloon in five years. Remember Dick Cheney saying, “We don’t care about deficits.” (If not, search youtube for the video “I.O.U.S.A.” for evidence on how bad the deficit is from David Walker the US accountant).
And then we hit the wall. We had the potential to sober up through the pain of the 2008 call to reality. The stock market sank, the market shook, and the cracks were showing. And what did our national leaders do? What did the change America voted for, look like? It looked like a dog returning to his vomit. Ben Bernanke had taken over for Alan Greenspan, and Obama had taken over for Bush; but they still operated out of the same playbook.
“Let’s see, turn to page 3– Inflate the currency by printing money. Page four– Borrow lots of money from China. Page 5–Use the National Credit Card to pass on deficits to our grandchildren. Page 6– Encourage consumers who have no money to keep spending. Page 7– Bail out companies that need to go out of business because of campaign donations. Page 8– Pray that it works long enough to get through the next election.
This is Short Term Thinking. (Vomit licking, foolish economic policy). God says a wise economy means 1) Sound Money –throughout Proverbs, He calls for honest weights. 2) Spending Less Than You Make, lest you become enslaved. 3) Leaving Freedom and Prosperity to the next generation, rather than a big fat bill from last generation’s trip to the pub.
God says, “The wise man sees danger and takes refuge, but the fool keeps going and suffers for it.”
And here we are. The fools keep going and we are suffering for it. Unemployment remains high. Gold hits historic highs weekly while oil keeps climbing. The S and P downgraded the economic outlook of America to negatice last week. The Economy lost 283,000 jobs last summer. Now, we think the public sector can stimulate the economy, by fabricating another “jobs bill.” Perhaps this time we will be ready to sober up. This time we will take the painful steps to a national 12 step program. It will be hard! It will be painful! It will not be easy! But delaying the pain only inflates the pain bubble that will burst. And God will compassionately and sternly say to us, “One more lap around the wilderness.”
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