Why Joseph Should Be in Charge of the Economy
All politicians should be forced to read Genesis 41 before taking office. So should Federal Reserve chairmen. The economic famine that grips the nation was avoidable—if those in charge had the humility to learn from Joseph.
Pharaoh had had a dream of seven fat, healthy cows being eaten by seven scrawny, sickly cows. None of his wise men or soothsayers could tell him what the dream meant. But Joseph could.
This humble slave told Pharaoh that Egypt would enjoy seven years of great abundance followed by seven years of famine. More importantly, he told Pharaoh what he should do: Save during the good years so the people would have food during the lean.
You probably know the story. But our modern politicians and economic wise men have missed the whole point: You actually need to save for the lean years!
During America’s good years—when secretaries and engineers alike quit their jobs to become real-estate agents, when bankers were rock stars, and seemingly limitless money let janitors buy half-million-dollar homes—our leaders should have been telling the nation to stop borrowing and start saving. At the least, the government should have put its own house in order.
But no. Even amid the best years of the last decade, not once did the government run a budget surplus. During President Bush’s last term, America ran the highest deficits in history. Hardly a single voice urged people to live within their means.
Instead, the Fed encouraged people to eat their grain—and not only that, but to borrow food from their neighbors and other nations and eat that as well!
Now the famine is here, and America is resorting to radical, harebrained shenanigans to keep the economy going. The people need food, so the government is handing out funny money as fast as it can. The national debt is growing like a nuclear mushroom cloud.
The Time of Reckoning
But where is the money coming from?, one may ask. I thought America was broke. It is the greatest scam in history. The money is either fake—created out of thin air—and thus will eventually destroy the value of the dollar, or it is borrowed, which means it has to be repaid out of future consumption.
And repaying that debt will not be easy. Foreigners are catching on. It used to be that the Japanese or Germans would lend America money for 30 years—content that the interest earned would be worth the risk. Not anymore. Today, most lenders only lend short-term. The risk of not getting their money back is too high. For America, that means that the trillions we are borrowing to keep the economy from collapsing will have to be paid back next year, or over the next few years, rather than in decades. America is about to be exposed.
Making matters worse, the trillions of “stimulus” dollars haven’t done much of anything to fix the economy. Much has been squandered—spent on things that have nothing to do with creating growth. Yet over the next few years, America will have to take all that money back out of the economy to pay off the loans—plus interest. Where is the money going to come from? How will the economy be saved then? Through more fake money?
And now, in an astounding, almost laughable turn of events, the Federal Reserve and its chairman, Ben Bernanke, say they are ready to assume the role of financial regulator for the big banks and stock markets. They didn’t see the economic catastrophe coming, and they don’t know how to fix it, but America is supposed to trust them with new, powerful regulatory control. In actuality, the Federal Reserve was possibly the one agency most responsible for the crisis in the first place. It was the bankers’ banker that made so much easy money available to people who couldn’t afford it in the first place.
But for the first time, the Federal Reserve faces scrutiny; both internationally and nationally, its reputation is in tatters. Even now there is a proposal in Congress to audit the Fed. More than 222 co-sponsors have signed on. At present, the Democratic leadership is blocking the bill.
So far the Federal Reserve seems to be misjudging the depth of opposition growing against it. People want to know where the money is going, why a private group of bankers has the sole right to create the nation’s money, and why the government has to pay interest on its own money created by the Federal Reserve.
“I don’t think the American people want Congress running monetary policy,” said Ben Bernanke on pbs’s NewsHour. “And I think that’s very, very critical for people to understand.”
Bernanke is half right. It would be terrible to give Congress control of the printing presses. Congress has proven totally incapable of balancing a budget. But leaving monetary policy in the hands of a private bank, run by private individuals, with virtually zero accountability except to their undisclosed shareholders, is probably just as irresponsible.
America’s system is broken. The trashed economy proves it.
Had We Heeded Joseph
Heeding Joseph’s advice would have prevented much of this mess. Had America promoted savings instead of spending, and hard work and thrift as opposed to immediate gratification and borrowing, a bubble wouldn’t have formed in the first place. And if for some reason disaster did strike, or if some unforeseeable event did occur, the nation would have abundant savings to fall back on. Instead, America has an enormous pyramid of debt.
Pharaoh was smart enough to take Joseph’s advice. As the famine took hold, the economies of neighboring nations were destroyed. But Egypt became incredibly wealthy. The surrounding nations were forced to bring their flocks and herds and whatever other wealth they had into Egypt to exchange for food.
Egypt went into the crisis from a position of strength. And it was Joseph’s advice that turned Egypt into a superpower. As a result, Pharaoh promoted Joseph to second in command of all Egypt. He was held in such high esteem that Joseph’s Israelite family was given the choicest agricultural land in Egypt (Goshen) to live on.
Unfortunately, America is heading into this crisis from a position of virtual bankruptcy. America is about to become subservient to the nations that stored up food for the famine.
The good news is that God wants you to prosper, even during severe economic depressions. In the Bible, Joseph was synonymous with “prosperity.” “And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and … the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand” (Genesis 39:2-3). If God could prosper Joseph when he was a slave, and even when he was unjustly thrown in jail, He can prosper you no matter your condition.
But God prospered Joseph for a reason. He prospered him because Joseph understood and followed God’s laws.
Joseph’s Role in the Future?
Believe it or not, this whole world could soon have the opportunity to benefit from Joseph’s economic management.
Longtime readers of this publication know that, thankfully, America’s—and the world’s—economic situation is not hopeless. Humanly, of course, it is. But God will soon personally intervene in the affairs of this world and save humanity from itself, ushering in a new world of peace, and prosperity for everyone (Micah 4:1-4).
In his booklet The Wonderful World Tomorrow—What It Will Be Like, Herbert W. Armstrong described this future time, when God’s laws on economics will be put into practice worldwide. “[Joseph’s] specialty was dealing with the economy—with prosperity. And what he did, he did God’s way. It seems evident, therefore, that Joseph will be made director of the world’s economy—its agriculture, its industry, its technology, and its commerce—as well as its money and monetary system. These systems will be on the international level, the same in every nation.
“Undoubtedly Joseph will develop a large and perfectly efficient organization of immortals made perfect, with and under him in this vast administration. This will be an administration that will eliminate famine, starvation, poverty. There will be no poverty-stricken slums. There will be universal prosperity!”
Universal prosperity! True utopia. This is the future that is prophesied to follow the coming lean years. This is where the true hope lies for America and the world.
To read a thorough explanation of the Bible’s description of this soon-coming new world and how it will be implemented, request a free copy of Herbert W. Armstrong’s booklet The Wonderful World Tomorrow—What It Will Be Like.