It was not the front page headline of that day's Wall Street Journal, but its message deserves the attention of all Americans who currently enjoy their way of life. In Kelly Evans' small column deep within that paper on February 17, 2011, the title concisely explained what most Americans do not yet understand: "A Standard-of-Living Shock Is the Danger."
The first sentence of the article explained the most pertinent fact: "The threat of inflation is real. It is just a different threat than many realize." That misunderstood threat is being driven by commodity prices, which in turn are driven more by emerging nations than by what the article calls the "rich-but-stagnating industrial nations."
Who are the "rich-but-stagnating" nations? They are nations like the United States! The article points out that the U.S. is not prepared for what all the financial signals indicate may be coming. And what is coming? The last line of the article puts it bluntly: "The real risk is that the U.S. faces a poverty cycle rather than an inflationary one."
A "poverty cycle"? Yes. The real danger facing the U.S. in the coming years is that it may become impossible to maintain its prior standard of living—its former way of life, which most citizens have taken for granted.
Impossible? Just consider: As writer Evans points out, the median income for American men in 2009 was actually lower in real terms (adjusted for inflation) than it was in 1973!
America's standard of living has already declined from its peak, yet the nation is not even remotely prepared for what may come. "Leaders" seem to continue in a state of denial—or, perhaps, in a state of political paralysis, realizing that the unpopularity of genuine solutions makes them untenable in a democratic nation where the voters would reject both the solutions and the elected officials who would propose them.
Are you prepared to endure a "poverty cycle"? The book of Revelation describes a coming time when the prices of needed goods are incredibly high: "When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, 'Come and see.' So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, 'A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine'" (Revelation 6:5–6).
Bible prophecy warns of a time when the fundamental staples just are not available. Consider these scriptures: "Has anything like this happened in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? … the day of the Lord is at hand… the field is wasted, the land mourns, the grain is ruined… the animals groan … the water brooks are dried up" (Joel 1:1–20).
Also: "The earth mourns and fades away… the earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore the curse has devoured the earth" (Isaiah 24:4–6).
What is the underlying cause of this standard-of-living shock? It is that people "have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore the curse has devoured the earth" (Isaiah 24:4–6).
A standard-of-living shock is, indeed, coming—but not because of monetary policy or political wrangling. The root cause will be sin: America's sin and its general unwillingness to seek the God who is the source of real security and abundance—the God who "gives you power to get wealth" (Deuteronomy 8:18).
Of course, if national sin is the cause, then national repentance is the answer! But even if your nation will not repent as a whole, you can personally repent and receive God's protection in the difficult times ahead.
To learn more about what you can do to be part of the solution, and to protect your family from the worst of what is to come, read our free booklet, The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy.