From the April 2018 Trumpet Print Edition

California: America’s poverty capital

California has a poverty crisis. Between 2014 and 2016, 1 in 5 Californians lived in poverty, according to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, published last September. This statistic adjusts for the fact that food, clothing, shelter and utilities are more expensive in California than in many other states and shows that real poverty is 5.9 percent higher than the state’s official poverty rate. This means that California has almost 8 million people living below the poverty line and has the highest poverty rate of all 50 states.

The state has 12 percent of the U.S. population, yet it accounts for roughly 30 percent of the nation’s welfare recipients. This does not factor in illegal immigrants, many of whom are also in poverty.

To fight this crisis, California spent $44 billion on welfare programs in 2017—twice the national average. Yet this spending seems to have made California’s poverty worse. The state government gives away a disproportionately large share of its welfare money in no-strings-attached cash payments.

The Bible tells us that “if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). By giving cash handouts to those below a certain income level, California’s government is giving able-bodied people an incentive to eat without working, which is against God’s law.

U.S. will borrow nearly $1 trillion in 2018

On January 31, the United States Treasury Department released its budget projections for 2018, outlining a plan to borrow an astonishing $955 billion to cover the costs of its programs. This represents the largest deficit in six years, and equates to an 84 percent increase over 2017, when the deficit was $519 billion.

As the Trumpet has repeatedly pointed out, $20 trillion in national debt is a threat to American national security. U.S. debt now exceeds its annual economic output, which equated to $19.4 trillion last year.

America now owes more than it makes in a year, but it still plans to run up the debt even more. By the end of the decade, the U.S. could owe nearly $800 billion a year in interest paymentsalone.

Deuteronomy 28 states that the nation that breaks God’s laws will find itself a debtor nation rather than a lender.

Young people delay adulthood

Scientists may be in the process of redefining the word “adulthood.” Why? Because children aren’t growing up. Traditional definitions of adulthood have begun at age 19, but the Telegraph reported on January 19 that some scientists have concluded that “[a]dulthood does not begin until 24 … because young people are continuing their education for longer and delaying marriage and parenthood.”

The American Psychiatric Association has gone as far as defining adolescence as a period extending from puberty up to age 34. In other words, adolescence today is three times longer than it was just a few generations ago.

The Bible tells us to put away childish things when we come of age. “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11). More than ever, society needs men and women who are emotionally, mentally and spiritually mature.

China infiltrating American classrooms

China’s policymakers are infiltrating American colleges with Communist propaganda through the Confucius Institute.

“[T]he Confucius Institute’s goals are a little less wholesome and edifying than they sound—and this is by the Chinese government’s own account,” wrote Politico. “A 2011 speech by a standing member of the politburo in Beijing laid out the case: ‘The Confucius Institute is an appealing brand for expanding our culture abroad,’ Li Changchun said. ‘It has made an important contribution toward improving our soft power. The ‘Confucius’ brand has a natural attractiveness. Using the excuse of teaching Chinese language, everything looks reasonable and logical’” (January 16).

There are now more than 100 Confucius Institute programs on college campuses across the United States. The Communist Party of China is attempting to use these institutes to influence a new generation of U.S. policymakers toward a more pro-China direction. In addition to teaching about Confucianism and communism, these institutes also teach oncoming generations of American leaders to be more accommodating of China’s human rights abuses.

The Prophet Isaiah specifically corrected the nation of Israel for forsaking God’s law and running after Eastern philosophies: “O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers” (Isaiah 2:5-6).