At one time House Speaker John Boehner argued that the debt crisis our country faces is a moral problem. It is strange, therefore, that on Wednesday, February 12th, against the majority on his own party, he pushed through a bill to suspend the debt ceiling. There will be no debt ceiling, nothing to stop the unrestrained borrowing, until March of 2015. This will conveniently push the problem beyond the next election.
John Boehner was right that the debt crisis is a moral issue. In Proverbs 13:22, Solomon wrote, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” If that is true, what does it imply about the man who doesn’t leave his descendants anything? Obviously, he’s not a good man. Let’s take that one step further. What would this imply about the man who, instead of leaving his grandchildren an inheritance, leaves them a whole slew of debt – more debt than they could ever repay? That man must be downright evil. But isn’t that exactly what we’re doing as a country? Someday, our grandchildren will rise up and call us not only wicked, but irresponsible.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew insisted that the debt ceiling must be raised by February 27, or the nation would risk a technical default. Apparently the debt ceiling, formerly set at $17.2 trillion, is not enough. I can’t even get my mind around numbers that big.
What I can understand is when our national debt is divided into the number of citizens. Now, I can see my share. By the way, that share is $54,465 for every citizen. That is how much of the National Debt my nine year old owes, and my fifteen year old, and my seventeen year old. That’s still not counting my wife’s and my share. Our family share is well over $272,325. Each of my grandkids owes that much too, whether they are old enough to have a job or still too young to attend school.
That makes me pretty nervous. I don’t make very much as a poor preacher. I will never be able to pay back my family’s share this side of the grave. All that debt will be transferred to my children and grandchildren. That is immoral. That is evil. That is wicked. As a country, we’re willing to do it so we can have the benefit of more government now than we can afford. That is pure selfishness.
Everyone, it seems, knows we can’t keep on this way, but few seem to want it changed. Yes, we all want the benefits of cheap atomic power, but not if you have to put the reactor in my back yard. Yes, we want the budget cut, but not if it involves cutting any of my benefits. Don’t worry. Our grandkids can figure it out. Unfortunately, our congress can’t find anything to cut in our bloated budget, and our President refuses to even consider the possibility.
When he was first elected, President Obama formed the National Commission of Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to study the issue, but both he and congress dismissed their recommendations out of hand. Yet, the commission for a while did bring attention to the crisis. Erskine Bowles, chairman of the commission and former Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton, told congress in March, “I’m really concerned. I think we face the most predictable economic crisis in history. . . The fiscal path we are on today is simply not sustainable. This debt and these deficits that we are incurring on an annual basis are like a cancer, and they are truly going to destroy this country from within unless we have the common sense to do something about it.”
That’s just the problem. Quoting Tim Wildman of the American Family Association, “Liberal politicians are absolute tax-and-spend addicts. They cannot control themselves. They are checked only by conservatives, and when there are not enough conservatives to stop them, they act like children in a candy store with no adult around.” Oh, where are the adults in Congress?
Tim Wildman further says, “It could be that a lot of liberal politicians know that what Erskine Bowles is saying is true. But these politicians figure they are not going to be around anyway when America’s financial system comes tumbling down so why go through the pain and angst of telling people they can’t have everything they’ve always had, compliments of the American taxpayer.” Obviously they figure just that since they always push it down beyond the next election.
This is dereliction of duty. This is immoral. We must stop voting over and over again for the very ones who got us into this mess. Yes, that includes Republicans who can’t learn to say no to unrestrained use of the national credit card.
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Rev. Daniel Packer has been a pastor for twenty five years (Currently he serves as pastor of the Orrington Center Church in Orrington, Maine). He is an active proponent of Biblical morality. His e-mail address is email@example.com.