The burden of debt on this nation is overwhelming! The United States' government is staring at the need to raise the debt ceiling again above $14 trillion. All but several of the 50 states have budget deficits of billions of dollars. Why did the wealthiest nation in the world come to be in this condition?
When I was in high school, I drew a debate assignment to be the "pro" or "for" on the subject of American foreign aid. I felt I had the lucky draw because research quickly showed the incredible amount of money the U.S. had given to many foreign nations. We were the lender then, not the debtor.
As the old saying goes, "What a difference a day makes!" In the span of those few decades since, America has gone from being the lender to being the most indebted nation on the face of the earth. The U.S. debt, a growing share of the total economy, is unsustainable. We are heading quickly to a crisis!
Chinese President Hu Jintao visited the United States recently, discussing the trade and currency disputes between our two countries. China has risen to become the second largest economy, surpassed only by the U.S. China is also America's largest lender, holding $896 billion in U.S. treasury bonds.
Many states in the US have made deep spending cuts over the last two years, but they are still staring at huge budget gaps. All but four states need to close budget shortfalls. New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo has a $10 billion state budget deficit to solve. Some news sources say the governor could shut down state government in April, if the lawmakers don't approve his budget cuts. North Carolina borrowed $2.56 billion from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits. A payment of $104 million is due in September. State budget shortfalls are projected to continue next year and beyond.
Then there's consumer debt, which totaled $2.4 trillion in 2010. This includes credit card debt as well as various loans for cars, student loans, etc. The average credit card debt per household with credit card debt is $15,788 according to creditcards.com. The total U.S. revolving debt total is $805.5 billion as of November 2010, according to the Federal Reserve Statistical Release G.19 Consumer Credit report. http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/g19/Current/. We could look at delinquency and default rates, but I won't bore you with statistics.
The college graduate today begins life having, on average, about $20,000 of debt. One can only imagine what it is for those on the high side of the average. What a way to begin life! How long will it take them to pay it off?
Proverbs 22:7 says: "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." Millions of Americans are slaves. So, too, are our many cities and states and our whole nation. We have become the slave of the lender.
Why all of this debt? What happened to America and the United Kingdom and many other once prosperous English-speaking nations? Our nations went from riches to poverty in a brief span of time. I say "poverty" because, except for having borrowed trillions of dollars, we would be in poverty.
There is a reason for this mountain of debt. In Deuteronomy 28 God promises to bless the nation for obedience to His laws, saying that nation will lend to many nations, but not borrow (v. 12). But God warns that the nation which disobeys shall have curses (v. 15), and the stranger or foreigner will lend to it and he will be the head (v. 44). Is that not exactly what has happened?