Mark Whitehouse reported in the September 25th issue of the Wall Street Journal that the living standards of average Americans will have to be adjusted downward in coming years because a larger share of our national debt is going to debt-service. He writes, “That means Americans will have to work harder to maintain the same living standards—or cut back sharply to pay down the debt.” Catherine Mann, a senior fellow at the Institute for International Economics notes, “Our net international obligations are coming home to roost. It’s as if on our personal MasterCards we have run up large obligations and never had to make personal payments. You can’t believe that is going to last forever.”

I am not a professional economist but such news makes me wonder how we will really handle these things as a nation when the spend-spend-spend spigot is finally turned off. The pay day is coming, maybe sooner than later. Our prosperity is always one really bad cycle from a serious implosion and then the country will either adjust corporately, and grow stronger morally and spiritually, or it will begin to break down in ways that could be alarming over the long term. Let us pray that we learn how to adjust sooner than later. Churches that spend so much on themselves, and their upwardly mobile lifestyles, should take note. The kingdom calls for sacrifice and frugality, not lavish expenditures on empire building.

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  1. Gene Redlin October 5, 2006 at 9:24 am

    I believe this may well be part of whatever God is going to do to bring America, even the whole western world to himself. I just wrote on that here:

  2. Nathan Petty October 5, 2006 at 9:52 am

    I follow economic trends and matters, if for other reason than to guide me in retirement planning. I see no reason for optimism about the economic future of America. On the other hand, I’m not nearly as worried as I used to be about the gloomy financial future.
    An historian (Tacitus perhaps?) opined that a society was lost when the public discovered that their (our) leaders’ continued employment was dependent on opening the public trough to the public’s (our) desires.
    American long ago discarded shared sacrifice as a means to achieve noble goals. As John writes, this narcissistic preoccupation with material wealth (including my interest in retirement planning) infects the church as well.
    The “American” church, with its preoccupation with material wealth and internecine warfare, may not survive the coming turmoil. So much the better, for the true Body will endure, and Christ will be glorified.
    By the way, that last sentence is pretty big talk from someone who has not been consistently faithful. I pray that I will be found faithful in these easy days and the more difficult days that I may see.

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