This Present Economic Darkness

According to an article on CNNMoney, what is killing our economy is people saving too much. All you selfish people hording all your cash rather than rushing out to spend it on cars, houses and plasma TV— well, you are just being un-American! Understand that the “savings rate” is calculated by totaling up after-tax income and then subtracting spending. That means you are using your money to pay down debt, that is considered savings (which makes sense). According to some experts, that is what is wrong with our country!

CNN quoted economist Mark Zandi as saying that the jump in the savings rate since last summer is “the difference between an economy that is growing and one that is struggling mightily.” So if you really want to help the country, then get back out there and “spend money that you don’t have on things you don’t need for people who already have everything” to borrow a really good line from Tony Campolo.

What the article didn’t discuss was how it was spending money we didn't have to buy things we couldn't afford was basically how we got into this present economic darkness in the first place! And the economic stimulus plan that everyone seems to believe we need (and can’t agree on what it should look like) is basically spending money we don’t have in an effort to get us out of this mess.

I don’t pretend to understand the economic crisis, but I do believe that spending money that you don’t have is not a good idea. Paul says, “Don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along” (Romans 13:8, The Message). Paul isn’t saying that we are never to responsibly use credit. (If we are never to owe anything, then a mortgage is sinful and the only people buying house would be drug lords). Paul is not against all debt.  But Paul is against our American tradition of wanting stuff so badly that we can’t wait until we can afford it. The person who is truly content will never incur debt trying to get more and more stuff (see Philippians 4:12-13).

What is the way out of this present economic crisis? Start with prayer. Then resolve to do a better job living within your means. And finally give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! We need to realize that most people in the world would love to have our economic woes!  Even at its worst, our standard of living is much better than most people in the world will ever experience!  Maybe we need to think about that a bit more!