How to Save America and Yourself: Get out of Debt, Stay out of Debt

 

I’ve added a link that tells you what our current national debt totals.  The number is staggering and nearly incomprehensible.  Don’t believe me?   Think about this, when I wrote this article the national debt was the better part of nine and one half trillion dollars.  What does that mean?  9.5 Trillion?  I have no real way to imagine that, do you?  I had to go looking for a way to comprehend a number that big.

 Consider this:  A million seconds ago is about 12 days ago.  A billion seconds ago is about 31 years ago.  A trillion seconds ago is about 31,688 years ago.

Our minds really don’t have a frame of reference for the size of our national debt.  I don’t think the USA is going to be wiped out militarily I think we are going to be wiped out economically.  Our economic implosion will set in motion a move to standardize national currencies into a world currency and global financial structure that will be most unpleasant for the USA. Our national debt is a death warrant that we ourselves have signed and, unless we stop living beyond our means ,we will, in time, be wiped out economically. 

What do we do about all this?  We need a new way of thinking about ourselves and our personal lives as well as our national life.  The solution is very clear.  Don’t spend more then you make.  We’ve heard it all before as Live within Your Means. It’s just as simple, and difficult, as that.  You can’t have everything you want.  You don’t deserve everything you want.  If you had no debt payments would you be hanging on with white knuckles right now as the price of gas threatens your world?  Is a new car, an alimony payment and that one certain house worth the lump in your chest as you consider the cuts you now must make?  What’s wrong?  What happened? 

This is a time to revisit our national priorities, it really is, and it starts in our house with a budget that my wife and I agree on.  The budget is flexible, it’s unbelievably helpful, and it still allows us some goodies but we plan for them.  It allows for some personal spending money out of every paycheck.  It’s adjustable for crazy increases in gas and food and it covers all the bases.  If you need some help with a budget check out the Dave Ramsey Link in this Blog.  We have been working with Dave Ramsey’s Principles for years now and it’s made a huge difference in our life.  A Budget is simply a set of priorities for your spending.  You don’t go hungry; you don’t forgo clothing when you need it.  The budget will take the scales from your eyes and seeing your finances clearly, may be frightening, but it’s the first step in getting out of self imposed slavery to the almighty dollar and a self you can no longer afford.  That’s the state of far too many of us; we are enslaved by the dollar and dealing with how we think our lifestyle should be instead of dealing with how it actually is. 

A good life is one free of fear from all that debt.  A good life is one with good and loving relationships and a life dedicated to telling the truth about what’s really important.  It’s about loving people and God and striving to leave the world a little better then we found it.   Our credit cards and debt controls far too much of our life and it corrupts our instincts and makes us lesser people then we could be.  In the great depression of the 1930,s it was government that jumped in with all kinds of programs to save the day.  The government of today is in debt to the tune of 9.5 trillion bucks, how much help will they be in a financial crash?  Our politicians want to spend a trillion bucks on global warming and god knows how much on universal health care.  Why is it so hard for us as Americans to admit that we can’t afford the government we have today to say nothing of the one to come with universal health care and who knows what additional programs.  We don’t say “I can’t afford that” in our personal life so I guess it’s natural that we can’t say it as a nation either.  Is it pride?  Arrogance?  Stupidity?  What?

Even if you can’t have everything you want you can still have a wonderful life.  I think it was St. Augustine who said that “the consequences of our acts will be what they will be: why would we wish to be deceived?” Living within your means makes you more of a realist and it sharply reduces the stress in your life because the pretending is over.  The gains you begin to make in getting out of the money mess become a very empowering experience. To vanquish debt is worth 10 platinum Master Cards and you even get to sleep at night.  It’s a feeling like no other and it’s the best way to live well.

The price of gas and food are forcing people to wake up from the delusions and denial about how we live our lives today.  What is it going to take for the United States Congress to come to the same conclusion?  What will have to happen?  This is time to tighten our belts and prepare for a rocky road ahead and to” just say no”, to more spending, personal or national, unless we need something and can truly afford it.  It’s time to thank the Chinese for the loans, and pay them back, and to send our personal credit cards back to Visa and Master Card.  

Whatever the future holds for our country and ourselves it’s time to step up to the plate and live responsibly, as sober, clear eyed realists, in admittedly perilous times.  This time of financial trouble can be an opportunity to turn back to God and sound values, to say nothing of family, friends, and our communities.  Let’s try showing up for some of our problems and see if we get a better than if we wave a Discover card at our problems.  Who knows, we might end up much better off if we do.

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