The Presidential election may be over, but financial problems still facing the United States are staggering. Before the last vote was counted, the US “fiscal cliff” became the major news topic. Debt is the most urgent problem facing the country.
Currently, the US has over 16 trillion dollars of debt, and pays over 250 billion dollars annually in interest. The country spends over one trillion dollars more than it brings in yearly, increasing the debt by that amount every year.
The US may have the greatest dollar amount of national debt, but most countries in the west have high debts. Canada’s debt is almost 600 billion, about one third of US debt per capita. Unchecked, these debts will produce greater havoc than any other threat the west may face.
Riots in Greece, Italy and Ireland responded to governments trying to reverse the trend. Reducing debt hurts. Some individuals suffer great hardship. But the final choice is enforced austerity measures, or financial collapse. Either will trigger harsh times for us, our children, and those yet unborn.
But can we fully blame the governments that face this crisis? Democratic governments simply carry out the will of their citizens. Why shouldn’t governments live on debt? After all, Canadian personal debt continues to rise because many consider it normal to live on credit. Read this man’s story:
I was brought up believing you always lived on credit. If there was room on your line of credit you had buying power. My wife took over our finances 10 years ago and we are now debt free (no mortgage either). We live a modest lifestyle, so when people ask how we did it I start with, "Well, you give up cable/satellite" and the response is always, "We can't do that!" so I walk away. People do not want to give up anything. Walk, bike, bus. Shop for groceries on sale. Dump cable/satellite. Get a talk only cell phone plan. Buy used. Drive a smaller car. Live in a small home. Turn down the heat. Turn up the AC. Stop saying you can't; no one wants to hear you whine!
One voice is opposed to most common financial advice from banks, financiers, and credit card companies that market debt. Nowhere does the Bible suggest debt as a financial tool. It goes further. “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant (or slave!) to the lender,” Proverbs 22:7.
We boast about our freedom in the democratic west, but we drive deeper into financial slavery with every purchase we make. If every citizen determined to become debt free, perhaps our governments would follow their example and avert a pending catastrophe.