As we come down to the final hours before the nation plunges over the “fiscal cliff” we see a Congress frozen in gridlock. They’re apparently unable to respond to the looming fiscal crisis set to occur with the start of 2013.
As I expected, it dominated the Sunday morning news programs on this last weekend of 2012. The networks did their usual superb job of trotting out Senators, Representatives and economists. They collectively wrung their hands and lamented the inability of Congress to solve a huge problem that affects nearly all Americans.
It seems a last-minute, temporary fix might involve some sort of extension of the Bush-era tax cuts. It could also include an extension of unemployment benefits that will run out for millions of Americans as the new year begins. Pundits and politicians agree that addressing the huge spending cuts, known as sequestration, is simply a bridge too far for now.
But there was little real discussion of the central problem. There is still no solution for the monstrous deficit. Now at more than $16 trillion, it grows without end. Periodically the shows would cut to screens showing the “debt clock,” where the digital figures change more rapidly than those of a digital stopwatch.
On CBS’ Face the Nation, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn pointed out the stark reality: Washington is addicted to spending. He said, “We have to ask how we fix the long-term problem, which is that we are bankrupt. The government is twice the size it was just six years ago, and nobody is addressing this.”
There it is: the 800-pound gorilla of a $16 trillion national debt. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are simply unwilling to face it. They know it’s there and wish it would just walk out. But it won’t. As was pointed out in one moment of candor, politicians respond to the will of their constituents and their party affiliations—not the best interests of the nation. They therefore find themselves paralyzed, unable to make the tough decisions needed.
It’s the ultimate game of “chicken.” If not stopped, it will almost surely plunge the nation back into recession. We have only to watch what is happening in Greece and other European nations to see the consequences of unrestrained government spending.
But as millions watch and worry about the outcome of it all, God’s Word foretells a time when the U.S. and the entire world will enjoy prosperity. It won’t be built on decades of deficit spending. As Micah 4:4 states, “Everyone will sit under his own vine and fig tree.” Nations will prosper by following God’s laws—not by driving themselves into mountains of national debt.