Debt tsunami

Perhaps it’s a waste of time to debate the merits of Obamacare, Cap and Trade, or the latest stimulus measures. None may matter due to one overriding reason: they will all be deluged in the tsunami to come. They’re all empty promises.

The tsunami will slam ashore once the crisis occurs over the national debt. This is the key political issue of our time (at least economically) that frames all others, and yet it is largely ignored. People are hoping against hope. Some politicians and citizens are wary, but the borrowing and spending continues unabated. Remember putting three pieces of bubble gum in your mouth and blowing a bubble the size of your head as a kid? It was awesome watching it grow and grow… until it popped all over your face and hair.

There’s no way to know if the tsunami will hit in a month, a year, or ten years. We can only speculate what will initiate it: the end of foreign debt buying, a Fed shell game uncovered, a series of major bank failures, a sudden submarining of confidence in the dollar… who knows. I know one thing: it’s coming, unless our Lord comes first. It’s coming for the same reason that a street drunk ends up in the gutter after a bender and for the same reason that punching a brick wall hurts your hand. It may hit more like a hurricane than a sudden wave, but nothing will be the same after the tsunami. There is no legitimate way to pay off the debt and the deficits are escalating. It is what it is. At this point, I don’t think there’s any way to escape the island. All the escape boats have been set adrift.

I have no idea how much damage the tsunami will do, but I think a few things are inescapable: (a) the standard of living is going to be much lower for years, perhaps a generation, and (b) some government programs may survive, but they’re going to handle fewer people with far less benefits in real purchasing power, and (c) A lot of people are going to be hurting. War, hunger, and anarchy wouldn’t be a surprise, nor would successful secession movements. More likely are the rise of multi-generational families under one roof, mending clothes, an emphasis on local communities, more crime, fewer imports, poorer health care, used cars, back yard garden plots, less travel, oil shortages, people working until they die, and hopefully fewer animal rights supporters and environmentalists (chic causes during prosperity give way to survival during lean times). This is just off the top of my head. You can follow the logic and come up with your own predictions.

Yes, everything will change in the tsunami’s wake, but Christians will do well to remember what C.S. Lewis noted back in 1939 as England fell into a cataclysmic war:

The war creates no absolutely new situation: it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. Human culture has always had to exist under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself. … We are mistaken when we compare war with “normal life”. Life has never been normal. Even those periods which we think most tranquil, like the nineteenth century, turn out, on closer inspection, to be full of cries, alarms, difficulties, emergencies. -C.S. Lewis, “Learning in War-Time”

God is still a very present help in trouble. Eternity is still forever.

Note: I have created a new category for posts on the economy and the coming tsunami.

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