There is talk all over the news about the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling is the amount the US government is allowed to borrow. If we reach the “ceiling” or limit, we have to stop borrowing so much money and put our house in order. What does putting our house in order mean? I don’t know. It may mean that we stop going to wars we can’t afford as I mentioned in my blog here. It may mean cutting good important programs that we all like and love. It may mean increasing taxes. The details will be debated. Mud will be flung. Everyone will be marked with the scarlet “A” for Atrocious. regardless of the name-calling and finger pointing, the real hard work of getting on a budget starts after you have a limit.
When a family has a budget or limit, they are able to work within that limit and make priority decisions. If you decide not to carry a monthly budget… it will impact your decisions. You will spend less, buy a smaller house, and possible NOT send your kids to private school. If you decide tomapy off ONLY the minimal payment on your credit card and continue to sign up for every card sent your way, there will be consequences to your decisions.
My mom and dad taught me to be Debt-o-phobic. To have a healthy fear of debt. To spend less than I make. To put off purchases that I couldn’t pay cash for. They taught me that if I had a credit card, I should make sure I pay off the balance at the end of the month. My mom and dad were and are not rich. My dad was a public school sixth grade teacher. He was constantly teaching us to “lower” our debt ceiling. He constantly reminded us to fear the potential waste of compounded interest that accrues when you are paying for things you bought last month or last year. He taught us not to Spend Tomorrow’s Money today. My mom did as well. As heart-of-the-earth middle class parents, they taught us the value of simplicity, hard work, and spending wisely.
I bought my first car for $200. I had to make my own insurance payments by working at McDonalds as well as my work as a soccer referee. In indoor soccer, I would sit up on a step ladder for an hour and make $4.25. My dad used this as a reference point for my spending. When our family went out for a dinner that cost $20.00. My dad would remind us that this meal costs us “Almost five hours of sitting on the ladder.” This connection between work, profit, and spending helped me evaluate my purchases and wants vs needs later in life.
As politicians debate whether to “raise the debt ceiling,” common sense would suggest a whole different approach. We need to lower the debt ceiling. We need to get our nation out of the red. Rather than debating raising the debt, we need to create a path to paying off our debt.
The news today confirms that our nation is in trouble, big trouble. The excessive spending, borrowing, and inflating is heading toward a terrible Collision with reality. Check out these clips from news today.
The borrower is enslaved to the lender. -Proverbs
Here is a clip explaining why the US recovery was not real and why the data we are seeing is the inevitable conclusion of borrowing more. Check out www.godonomics.com for more information
Fox News had an article suggesting that Jesus would have strong words to say about the debt debate. Since the article was shot, I’ll quote it before I respond.
Congressman Charles Rangel , D-NY, doesn’t know exactly what Jesus would say about the debt crisis, but he thinks religious leaders should be a part of the conversation. “It is a moral question. So I am surprised that we don’t hear from the rabbis and the priests and the ministers and the imams. This is their business, not just politicians’,” he told Fox News on Sunday. Two days earlier, Congressman Rangel held a news conference where he asked “What would Jesus do about the debt problem?” He called on religious leaders to speak up on the Medicare and Social Security cuts Republicans want to make, which would hit the elderly and the poor the hardest. Rangel insists, “If the sky, the economic sky, was to fall, the very rich in this country would not feel any pain at all.” But when pressed on exactly what that higher power would say about America’s money problems, he replied “I don’t know what Jesus or Moses or anyone would say. But, the issues are so morally clear…we are our brothers’ keepers.” Rangel summed up his argument by saying, “You know all of this is biblical… If you read your Bibles and you read the spiritual scriptures you will see that clearly that Jesus would have something to say about this debate.”
So, we are left with Jesus in a bind. Does Jesus and Moses love the rich or love the poor? Jesus was always brilliant at getting out of questions devised to paint him into a corner. Jesus has a lot to say. As a brilliant scholar of the Old Testament, Jesus quoted the Psalms and Deuteronomy more than anything in his ministry. What principles would he give us to think about this debt debate?
Jesus tells us to care for the poor.
Mark 10:21. Jesus tells the rich man that he lacks one thing…to give extremely generously to the poor. Ezekiel tells us that Sodom and Gomorrah were judged for their inability to help the poor. Ez 16:49 “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.”
Jesus would teach individuals to help the poor rather than outsourcing it to someone or something else.
Luke 10:30-37. The account of the Good Samaritan clearly shows the call for individuals to give generously to the poor, the hurting, and the marginalized. It even calls us to give generously to our enemies. Perhaps the Democrats and Republicans might give to each other’s political coffers. The Bible calls us as individuals to assess, give, and help those in need. It does not ever promote hiring a government mercenary to do the giving for you.
Jesus would warn us that God warned us about Intrusive Government: In 1 Samuel 8, God said we must stay away from a large intrusive government. God clearly told us not to trade liberty for perceived security. He warned us that government takes and takes what was “ours” and makes it “his.”
Jesus would teach us to pull out a calculator. Jesus was a small business owner (a carpenter) who spoke of counting the cost.
Luke 14:25-2. “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?”
Here Jesus tells us exactly where we are as a nation. We are seeing others “mock us” because we made promises to people we can’t afford. We overspent. We borrowed from other nations (Deuteronomy tells us not to do that). We inflated the currency (Proverbs tells us not to do that). We over-taxed others. (1 Samuel 8 tells us not to do that).
Now we find ourselves on the brink of supposed despair. The “Pits of Despair” just outside the fire swamp of the Princess Bride. Rather than “counting the cost” of our tower and our wars as Jesus clearly laid out, we foolishly keep moving forward with the same bad ideas. Even Reheboam had a cabinet meeting with his political advisors and decided to “raise the taxes…” instead of lowering them. The results were tragic for the nation. I wrote on this several months ago.
Jesus would affirm the Rule of Law.
Jesus’s Bible was the Old Testament. He would quote Leviticus 24:22 which says, “You are to have the same law for the alien and the native-born. I am the LORD your God.”
The same law it says. Laws are applied equally. The same for everyone. There are not “rich laws” and “poor laws.” There are not “politician” laws and “citizen” laws. There are not donkey laws and elephant laws. No-No! Jesus would affirm that ours laws should be equal. This blind justice includes the access the poor have to the rule of law for crimes as well as equality in the tax code for everyone. Our current system rewards those who “bribe” the government to coerce others to take money from one group and give to another. Until we return to the rule of law, we will never find peace and freedom. Our tax laws are so uneven and unfair… to the producers. The rich pay a much higher percent than the middle class. Almost 50% of our nation pays zero for their income tax. ZERO. How’s that for a equal, just, and fair law?
Jesus would affirm the immorality of stealing from our children to pay for our spending today.
Jesus said that leading a child astray is so serious, it would be better to have a millstone tied around our neck and thrown into an ocean on judgment day. He might tell us to go to http://www.usdebtclock.org/ and see how we have (James) “presumed upon tomorrow.” He may turn to Proverbs and show us that the wise have money, not debt. The foolish squander their money today. The really foolish squander tomorrow’s money. The immoral spend their children’s and grand-children’s future payroll.
Prov 21:20 (KJB) “There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.”
For more information, check out www.godonomics.com
What would God say to F.D.R? The same thing He would say to you and I. It’s the same thing He’d say to politicians today, and the same thing He’d say to George Bush and Barack Obama… What’s the message?
STOP SPENDING TOMORROW’S MONEY TODAY.
This clip is NOT from the DVD, but a live presentation given at a private school in Cincinnati. The video clip is from the documentary produced by the former US comptroller David Walker. You can watch his movie here in full: www.IOUSA.com
For more information, check out www.godonomics.com. Sign up for the RSS feed. Order the Godnomics APP, or click to the right to order a copy of the 6 session DVD.