Debt—the Moral Issue
America lost its battle with debt when it lost its sense of the moral issue that underpins financial probity. The same goes for Europe. Both are currently caught in a looming crisis of unimaginable proportions that will shatter whole national economies and soon cause a system failure of global proportions. At its heart, the problem is a moral one.
With the United States being the world’s largest single economy and the world’s now largest debtor nation, Christian and capitalist by culture and ideology, peddler of U.S.-style democracy to the rest of the world, one could naively think that its leaders would logically desire to strive for the moral high ground when it comes to handling national debt.
To the contrary, it is the godless Communist nation of China that, as British historian Paul Johnson correctly observes, being “officially atheist, is currently setting a better moral example regarding debt than an openly religious, capitalist America” (Forbes.com, June 6).
Johnson points to the historic beginning of America’s current debt woes. As has been the case, sadly, throughout history, it had its genesis in war, the American Civil War, which created a debt of $2.2 billion, raised to $22 billion in the wake of World War i, and blowing out to $260 billion in World War ii.
The sheer nature and extent of the current U.S. debt, exceeding $14 trillion and rising by the second, is a grand testimony to the total lack of any inkling of moral authority in the U.S. administration when it comes to handling the country’s financial affairs.
Paul Johnson points back to a more moral generation of U.S. leadership, that of President Andrew Jackson, who “succeeded in paying off the U.S. public debt—an amazing achievement, unique in the history of Western nations” (ibid.).
So what happened between Jackson’s great achievement of 1835—balancing the books, achieving complete solvency for the United States, having paid down its national debt securing a surplus of federal funds in the Treasury, thus enabling America to become a truly free and independent nation, owing no nation anything—and today’s uncontrollable national financial disaster?
It has largely to do with the degree of fiscal morality demonstrated (or not) by those leaders who followed him, especially in peace time.
Johnson quotes Robert V. Remini, Andrew Jackson’s biographer, as stating that the elimination of America’s national debt at the time happened for the singular reason that President Jackson “was determined to make it happen, and he did everything within his constitutional power to bring it about” (The Life of Andrew Jackson).
Does this not beg the question as to what has been lacking in postwar American leadership? Simply put, it has lacked the moral fortitude to exert the willing determination to meet the country’s obligations to pay its debts. Since the American Civil War, debt has become a way of life for America.
The American dream of the 20th century has been built on a foundation of sand—the unstable foundation of debt accumulation—to the point that some time in the very near future the nation’s debt will begin to exceed its gross national product. America will very soon be technically broke and at the beck and call of the foreign interests that largely own its debt—foreign interests whose national goals are at complete odds with those of America.
Since the founding of the Trumpet magazine, we have warned of this looming crisis being but a recipe for national disaster. Our earlier editions contain many an article by the late Tim Thompson on this theme, as have more recent issues conveyed the accelerating risk of America defaulting on its debts in articles by columnist Robert Morley.
As Paul Johnson states (op. cit.),
There is nothing wrong with borrowing money. It’s a natural part of the capitalist system …. But if you borrow, three conditions need to be in place for your actions to be righteous:
- The money borrowed should be of reasonable size commensurate with your resources and prospects. - From the outset a program of repayment should be in place. - The repayment plan should have priority over any other commitment, especially any personal spending plans.
These obligations on the borrower are based on biblical truths. But, what about the righteous obligations of the lender? Your Bible spells them out very clearly in respect of those who would lend to their fellow countrymen within the nations of Israel (read our book The United States and Britain in Prophecy for the truth on the identity of those nations today).
The conditions to lending to one’s own ethnic kin within the nations of Israel are clearly stated in such scriptures as Exodus 22:25; Deuteronomy 23:19; 24:10-13 and 15:1. The application of usury is forbidden. Psalm 15:5 states the reward for abiding by these conditions.
In respect of lending to foreign nations, whereas God forbids the charging of interest on loans within the community of Israelite nations, He permits those nations to charge interest on loans to foreign nations and enterprises (Deuteronomy 15:3, 6).
Had the nations of Israel followed these conditions from the inception of their sovereign economies, we would have had no subprime mortgage fiasco, would not be indebted to alien nations, and would be facing no global financial and economic crisis. God would simply have seen to it that all nations, globally, would have continued to benefit from the blessings bestowed upon Abraham’s progeny through Isaac, Jacob and Joseph (Genesis 18:18).
But the nations of Israel refused to obey their God. They allowed self-will to dominate their economies, and self-will brings with it a self-seeking “reward,” at another’s expense. As Paul Johnson writes, “greed dulls the senses.” Hence the Ponzi schemes, the grand corruption, fraud and corporate crime at the highest levels of America’s deeply corrupted system of politics, commerce, banking and industry.
The results will be profoundly prophetic.
What could have been, if only we had really meant and practiced that which we so hypocritically print on our banknotes—“In God we trust”—is prophesied in Deuteronomy 28:12: “The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure … to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.”
But, because we have rebelled against our Maker and His immutable laws—laws which if we had only obeyed them would have guaranteed perpetuation of the prosperity of our nations—we are rapidly reaping the great curses on our economic and social order that God proclaimed from the beginning: “The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail” (Deuteronomy 28:43-44).
Andrew Jackson understood the moral obligation that a borrower has to place a premium on the payment of debt as a priority over any other commitment, especially any pet political projects. That is a principle, underpinned by the statutes of God, to which the current U.S. administration seems innately blind. The results are proving catastrophic for America and will prove devastating in terms of the global order and system of economy.
As Herbert Armstrong once declared, “I believe that some event is going to happen suddenly, just like out of a blue sky, that is going to shock the whole world, and is going to cause the nations in Europe to realize they must unite! … I think I can see what may be the very event that is going to trigger it, and that is the economic situation in the world” (public address, July 7, 1984).
Yet as we continually point out to our readers, the looming global disorder that will result from the imminent collapse of the global financial system, possibly triggered by America’s impending default on its debts in the wake of a contagion of default currently threatening Europe, is but a great harbinger of hope to all humankind!
As Mr. Armstrong observed fully 27 years ago, it seems this will be the very event that will set in train a domino effect of rapidly fulfilled Bible prophecy leading to the realization of the only hope available to man to rescue him from global annihilation—the return of the Savior of mankind to this Earth to bring everlasting peace, prosperity and the opportunity for all to choose to fulfill their incredible human potential!
You need to read our book The Incredible Human Potential, without delay. It will turn your mind to this awesome future that will so soon overtake us all! It will give you a vision that will enable you to survive the tough times ahead, maintaining a real hope in the future that will be possessed by few amid the great crisis of confidence this accelerating global collapse is bringing in its wake.
That book will also show you how to become part of the grand solution to not only the saving of humankind from total disaster, but its perpetuation on into a far more wondrous universe than one can ever imagine!