In this podcast, Dr. David Jeremiah pieces together a mosaic of instabilities forming a global “Economic Armageddon,” as he calls it, beginning with America. He presents economic facts, not the alarmist opinions thriving on talk shows, but the facts alone describe a fragile economic world, a healthy outlook from God’s viewpoint:
Trust in your money and down you go! But the godly flourish like leaves in spring. Proverbs 11:28 (NLT)
Americans seem detached from the economic peril underway, which has little to do with political affiliation and everything to do with American greed. For example, few realize that 40% of the Fed’s income merely pays the interest on the national debt,1 and still the $13 trillion in loans is not reduced. So the national debt mushrooms every budget year, nearly unnoticed as it was this year when another $1 trillion in red ink was added to the deficit.
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These deficits are mind-numbing, but minuscule compared to the explosive costs set to begin next year when the leading edge of 80 million Baby-Boomers start grabbing benefits. Today Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid benefits devour 30% of government spending (exceeding our wartime military spending). The Baby Boomers will sap $106.8 trillion in unfunded benefits at current tax levels, according to the government’s own Altogether, it will require $383,000 per person (including children) to pay the bills, beyond the reach of tax increases. There simply is not enough money in the American economy to cover our monstrous spending.
Debt of that magnitude means bankruptcy in the real world, but America is insulated from the poverty afflicting most of the world. Perhaps our security is rooted in military power, but history says economic failure, not military, topples empires. The Romans could not pay their military because rampant inflation rendered their currency useless. Inflation poses a similar threat in America, after the Fed printed $1 trillion cash to rescue banks, home mortgages, and General Motors. Now China, Russia and other questionable foreign countries finance more than 50% of our annual debt, which cannot be good news for the national security.
Dr. Jeremiah explains all these factors and more to justify the “Economic Armageddon” label, but if he seems too negative, there are greater problems to consider which he did not raise:
- Will American voters make the painful choices towards financial solvency without the motivation of catastrophic failure? It is political suicide to cut benefits like Social Security, or to raise taxes significantly.
- Where is the galvanizing will to avoid catastrophe? Americans are deeply divided politically, with increasing uncertainty in our election results.
- Where is the sacrificial spirit required to endure economic hardship for a greater cause? American culture is steeped in the ethics of individualism, which does not promote self-sacrifice.
- China and India are becoming large energy consumers, creating spiraling energy costs which must cause greater deficits and shrinking revenues for taxation.
- State budgets are drowning in more deficits not added to Jeremiah’s calculations. Ohio has $8 billion and California faces $50 billion shortfalls.
It seems that catastrophic, economic failure is the only likely outcome for these growing problems. A growing number of politicians and pundits are raising the alarm, but all the proposed solutions overlook the disunity and unwillingness to suffer so pervasive among Boomers and their progeny. Glen Beck is a popular example of the ill-fated effort to change American culture with passionate words, but how many democrats (or republicans) will follow Glen Beck’s leadership? Leaders from other political camps face the same, divided country, and their willingness to cooperate is far off, if they ever care to.
The demonstrations and riots that spread across California universities last year seem more realistic than cooperation. It was all triggered when tuition was raised to $5,000 (still half what Ohioans pay) because people get hot when benefits get cut, no matter how justified the cutbacks are.
Christians are different, or should be. Not only are they in the best position to weather economic turmoil, but they can provide comfort and relief to others “having no hope and without God in the world.” (Eph. 2:12) Solid biblical convictions and proven character must be already in-place before hardship strikes, or Christians will be be thrown into the same panic, confusion and despair.
Writing to brothers and sisters living in far greater distress, Paul says:
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.
Ephesians 1:18-19 (NASB)
The “surpassing greatness of His power toward us” makes a very real difference in our allegiance, authority, and especially our stability in a world of instability, as Paul goes on to explain:
[power] which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:20-21 (NASB)
- Dr. Jeremiah says the federal government pulls in $904 billion each year through income taxes, but $383 billion pays the interest on our national debt, so deficit spending will probably continue. [↩]
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