Alex and Rhoda Toth were struggling. With six kids and little income, it was hard to get by. Then they hit the jackpot, literally, and won $13 million in the lottery. They did not live happily ever after. They filed for bankruptcy, twice. When Alex Toth died in 2008, they were so poor that their only electricity at home came from a car battery. Rhoda later pleaded guilty to tax evasion.
Perhaps the most surprising part of the Toths’ story is how common it is. About 1 in 3 lottery winners spends the winnings on cars, trips, luxuries, friends and drugs—and goes bankrupt.
“People who were little, ordinary people, all of a sudden become extraordinary,” said Wealth Financial Group ceo Steve Lewit. “They’re euphoric. They lose all sense of reality. They think they’re invincible and powerful. They think they’re Superman.” But without exerting strength of character, the lottery winner’s euphoric amount of cash abruptly runs out, debts balloon, and creditors come calling.
This describes the United States today, on a grand scale.
“If you won the lottery and were looking to buy a country to live in, the first one the estate agent would show you would be the United States of America,” writes Prisoners of Geography author Tim Marshall. “This temperate North American real estate offers the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to keep the area both secure and well connected. The property houses more navigable rivers than the rest of the world put together—providing picturesque vistas and practical transport opportunities. The planet’s largest contiguous area of farmland and natural resources makes it an excellent investment. At one valuation by William Larson, from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, the estate is worth $23 trillion. And that’s just for the land—the buildings are extra.”
Plus, each year the American economy produces the same amount as the economies of Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, India and Italy combined.
The wealth is enormous—but so are the expenditures: the world’s largest military, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, college debt payoffs, foreign funding, and on and on.
Lottery winners who don’t go bust, save or invest some of their money. Instead, the U.S. has borrowed when times are bad, intending to pay it back when times are good—and when times are good, it keeps borrowing.
U.S. debt is now higher than it was during World War ii, the Great Depression, or the Civil War. Even before it voluntarily destroyed huge parts of its economy with drastic lockdowns, it added to the debt just to meet day-to-day expenses.
Like a desperate lottery winner, the U.S. has resorted to “creative” financial practices to keep the party going. After the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve began creating money from nothing and lending it to state and local governments and banks (“quantitative easing”). It kicked this into even higher gear during covid-19. Creating money from nothing breaks the most fundamental laws of finance, and we won’t get away with it.
We are watching the Toths’ story play out on a national level. And we know how it ends.
How and why did America receive the biggest “lottery win” of all time? Why are we failing so spectacularly to make good on it?
The book of Genesis records God’s promise to Abraham that he would become a “father of many nations” (Genesis 17:5) and that his descendants in these nations would receive “the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine” (Genesis 27:28).
The Jews know they descend from Abraham. But these prophecies cannot apply to the Jews alone. Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy proves that the descendants of Abraham also include the Americans. America’s windfall came because God kept His promise to Abraham! As Abraham Lincoln said of “these fundamental blessings,” “[w]e toiled not in the acquirement or establishment of them.” America didn’t even buy a lottery ticket.
Now we are squandering it and are losing our very nation.
The Prophet Isaiah, writing “for the time to come,” stated of the modern Americans: “Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots: Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made” (Isaiah 2:7-8). By worshiping other gods, even the treasures themselves, we are rejecting the God who gave us our treasures.
Just like a bankrupt, destitute lottery winner, America lacks the character to hold on to its incredible wealth.
God is punishing us, as Isaiah 2 goes on to describe. Why? Because He wants to do more than just give the nation another loan or even another windfall. He wants to correct its character.
God wants to bless the United States, just as He wants to bless all people, with wealth—and with the character to keep it and use it rightly. Once we’ve built the character to properly handle wealth, the whole world will receive a massive windfall—one they will not squander, but go on to greater and greater prosperity.