Deficit Spending Is a Spiritual Problem
At one time, I did some editing work for a conservative financial columnist who regularly lamented our nation’s profligate spending.
He pointed out how Barack Obama criticized George Bush for the national debt increasing to $10 trillion—then turned around and nearly doubled it in eight years.
The past four years, former President Donald Trump presided over an even greater increase, with the red ink on our deficit now surpassing $27 trillion.
One senses a pattern here, regardless of who occupies the White House: we can’t live within our means.
Unable to Afford It
In a nutshell, that’s why I don’t think Congress should be passing another stimulus package that will boost the national debt by another $1.9 trillion. Particularly with President Joe Biden proposed a similarly-priced green initiative.
Simply put, we can’t afford it.
Lest someone accuse me of heartlessness or ignoring the less fortunate, I acknowledge those mired in unemployment or under-employment for the past year need a hand up.
But when the first round of $1,200 stimulus payments went to people earning up to $75,000—or $150,000 for a couple—I had a hard time seeing those in the upper half of those ranges as poverty-stricken.
My wife and I make nowhere near the $150,000 mark, but our bills are paid, we own a comfortable home, and we aren’t worried about making our next mortgage payment.
Congress adding another $2,800 to our coffers after the $1,200 we received in January would be nice. Our church would receive $280 of that and the rest would likely wind up in our savings account.
Sooner or later, though, the day of reckoning will arrive on this deficit spending. Generations from now, if the entire house of financial cards collapses, our descendants are likely to ask: “What were they thinking?”
At Christmastime, a relative who lives in much more modest surroundings expressed his opposition to another stimulus payment.
“Where’s this money coming from?” he asked.
Indeed, that’s a question all of us should be asking our representatives and senators. Thus far, no one seems inclined to offer an answer, except to keep on borrowing money (from our grandchildren and great-grandchildren).
In doing so, we are spending ourselves into bankruptcy. We are also making ourselves subject to control by foreign powers—like China—who are only too happy to purchase debt instruments. The pile can only go so high before it collapses.
Proverbs 22:7 puts it this way: “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
At the heart of it, I see our problems as spiritual in nature.
Our out-of-control deficit spending reflects our out-of-control political debates. And our out-of-control behavior behind the recent insurrection in the nation’s capital. And the out-of-control morality that pretends we can legalize marijuana, gambling, and prostitution and never face the consequences.
Without an adjustment in the way we think, we will never change the way we act as we sink trillions and trillions further into debt. We don’t need a financial bailout, but a spiritual one.