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DEBT, DEBT, WHO'S GOT THE DEBT PART II PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jim Jordal   
Friday, 05 December 2008
DEBT, DEBT, WHO’S GOT THE DEBT? (PART 2)

By Jim Jordal

If your brother has become poor, and his hand can't support him among you; then you shall uphold him. As a stranger and a sojourner he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God; that your brother may live among you. You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit. I am Yahweh your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God.

God’s Jubilee provisions for debt, Leviticus 25:35-38 (WEB)

Last week we decided that we’ve all got the debt. The national debt, owed by all and paid by most of us, is now about $10 trillion and due to rise $2 trillion more as the federal government continues attempts to halt the economic slide. State, local, business, and personal debt are at all-time highs, and bankruptcies of all sorts increase weekly. And there seems no end as politicians, economists, and business leaders all urge us to take on more debt as the only solution to our problem.

Is more debt the harbinger of prosperity? It is if you believe Treasury Secretary Paulson, or conservative politicians, or the banks and credit card companies, or even what passes for common wisdom. But is it really necessary to take on ever-increasing interest-bearing debt to finance prosperity and economic growth? Not if you believe what God says.

It all begins with money, which ought to be a blessing that facilitates commerce and simplifies trade. But in the hands of greedy individuals and institutions bent on power and control, it becomes what we might call a necessary curse. You may have noticed in your Bible reading that God never curses money as such, but only excessive love for it (I Tim. 6:6-10) and the use of it to exploit and control people (Rev. 18:9-13). So it’s not money, but what people do with it and what they do to get it that matters.

The U.S. Constitution (Art. 1, Sec. 8) assigns to Congress the power to coin money and regulate its value. Going back to the first Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton, this power has been transferred to private banks, as we learned last week. Following the short but sharp Panic of 1907, the power was vested in the 1913 Federal Reserve System (which is federal in name only, since it is owned and operated by private bankers). The Fed is a bank for bankers and controls the supply of money in the economy through use of its power over bank reserve requirements, open market operations (buying and selling government bonds), and control over interest rates.

So what Congress in essence has done is to turn the constitutional power to create money and determine its value over to a private banking system. Supposedly, the Fed is independent enough of the political process to be able to "lean against the prevailing economic winds" as a Fed chairman once said. But in actuality it reflects in its operations, not the needs of the people, but the desires of special interests like bankers, large corporations, and the wealthy.

The present economic debacle was fueled by easy credit leading to an explosion of debt. We entered a period of idolatrous consumption and wasteful spending at all levels of the American economy. This debt arose as former Fed chief Alan Greenspan loosened the reins of credit control over a period of several decades, saying on one occasion something to the effect that "who was he to stand in the way of progress and prosperity." So what should have been a blessing of low interest rates enabling the poor to escape from poverty and the middle class to prosper became instead an engine of excess and instability.

The desired flexible money supply (a good thing) has become instead an instrument of oppression, control, and economic instability. That’s why God forbids the collecting of interest on debt: Interest transfers money from the people who pay for things to those who own things. The rich have the money to lend, and the poor must borrow to stay afloat, so the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Last Updated ( Friday, 05 December 2008 )