The current U.S. debt is approximately $19,928,000,000,000.00 (19.928 trillion dollars). That amounts to about $61,000.00 debt per citizen. Counting taxpayers only, the debt is $165,000.00 for each one. You will be “shocked–shocked” to learn that the debt continues to go higher every day. Go to the U.S. debt clock on the Internet for detailed information. (Be sure to fortify yourself with a stiff drink before you do so.)
But does the debt matter? I remember a few years ago when there was discussion over whether the debt ceiling limit should be raised, as it always is raised. Apparently a few in Congress wanted to not raise the limit, the idea being that as long as we keep raising the limit, we are going to keep borrowing and thus getting ourselves in deeper financial difficulties. I was listening to the radio, and one of the parasites at National Public Radio, her voice dripping condescension, told us how irresponsible the deficit scolds were. It simply didn’t even occur as a faint possibility to this intelligent, articulate, highly educated, highly paid member of the elite running this country, that there was the tiniest, tiniest chance that continuing to go horrifically in debt might have terrible consequences for the country in the long or the short run.
But maybe the parasite was right! Maybe deficits don’t matter. Just keep going deeper in debt, and it won’t matter. “We only owe it to ourselves,” as we often hear. Are we good for the debt? If you loan an honorable person $10,000.00, and he needs to borrow an additional $5,000.00, you may well loan him the additional $5,000.00, as long as you are confident that he really will begin to pay you back soon. But if you loan a dishonorable person $10,000.00, and he wants to borrow an additional $5,000.00, you may instead decide that you made a mistake in loaning him the original $10,000.00, and that it is time to say “No more.” Better to lose $10,000.00 than $15,000.00.
The U.S. is not honorable. We will not pay the money back. We are not good for the 19.928 trillion in dollar bills. It was foolish to run up the debt, and bad consequences will come eventually. Default? Hyperinflation? Collapse of the dollar? Riots in the street? Starvation? A disunion of the country, as we split into smaller units? (That last one would be a good consequence, however, not a bad one–but even that might well include many bad things happening.)
Reasonable estimates indicate that the federal debt will increase by about a trillion dollars a year in the near future. And that is under the current president who is considered a conservative and a selfish grinch by the left-wing media. It doesn’t matter which party holds power as president or as Congress. We are just going to keep on spending.
What are the chances that we can stop adding to the debt? The chances are zero.
We don’t really believe that the debt matters. We will go on until reality steps in and says you have to stop. Most people, whether of the elite or of the ordinary people, are just like the NPR parasite mentioned above. “We can keep on doing this. The consequences won’t be bad.”
We all like to spend. Especially we like to spend other people’s money.
And we don’t mind spending a lot of taxpayer money for things that should cost almost nothing. Two examples.
1/The Department of Education has about 4,400 employees and spends a yearly budget of $68,000,000,000.00. That is about $15,454,545.00 per employee. Are the American people getting their money’s worth out of this expenditure? Can our children read, add, subtract, divide, and multiply? Are they safe in school? Are they learning to think?
The state of Indiana is spending about $9,566.00 per student for its public education. (That is money BEYOND that spent by the Department of Education.) Do you think we are getting our money’s worth? If you were a parent and you wanted to teach your child to read, add, subtract, divide, and multiply, do you think you could get that job done with a budget of $9,566.00 per child? Could you do that at home in a few hours a day, with no travel expenses, no enormous buildings, maybe for a few hundred dollars a year to pay for educational materials? I think you could–especially if you really cared about wanting your child to learn. It’s your kid. If you don’t care, who will?
2/The Department of Energy has about 93,094 employees, with an annual budget of about $27,900,000,000.00. That’s about $300,000.00 per employee. To do what? If I want to buy gasoline, I can drive to the service station and buy gasoline. The free market provides what I need at competitive prices. The $27,900,000,000.00 the taxpayers pony up for the Department of Education is a dead loss. Moreover, the 93,094 employees could be working at real jobs where they produce something we all want. Instead, they are parasites, producing only misery for the rest of us.
We all want free stuff. We want Social Security, we want Medicare, we want our children educated at public expense. So who is going to tell the federal government, “Stop spending money you don’t have!”? Who? The church? Where members give one-quarter of the tithe God requires? Nonsense. The church is where the problem started.
Who will step forward and say we have to live within our means?
Nobody. Financial reform will not come from any of us.
The only thing which will teach us is reality. If reality gives us a two by four up the side of the head, we might begin to wonder if maybe enormous debt was not such a wonderful idea after all. But only reality will get our attention. We will only change if and when we absolutely have to do so.
Maybe the NPR parasite had it right. Just keep going into debt, and all will be well. I don’t think so, though. I think reality is organized a different way. Enormous debt is dangerous for individuals and families, and it is dangerous for governments and nations. Such is my theory.
Is there any realistic hope that the problem with debt can be fixed prior to some potentially dangerous default? Well, maybe not a “realistic” hope, but there might be hope of a sort. Our nation’s financial problem started with the irresponsibility of the church. If the church suddenly were to move gradually but steadily toward responsibility, so might the nation. God deals with us covenantally, but also mercifully. Educate your children at your own expense. Pay your bills promptly. Tithe to a Bible-believing church. Vote to protect your neighbor’s money rather than to steal it and redistribute it.
Even if these small personal reforms have no large effect on the nation as a whole, they are good things to do and are pleasing to God. That is far more important, for us as individuals made in the image of God, than whether or not a bankrupt, thieving, murdering empire can be reformed.