Saturday, September 18, 2021

In Context

Two months ago, Senate Republican Leader McConnell gave notice that Republicans would not be providing any votes to raise the U.S. Federal debt ceiling. With trillions in spending suddenly part of serious regular consideration, Republicans are marking a line.

Senate Majority Leader Schumer quickly rejected the assertion, and Democrats have dismissed any thought of raising the debt on a partisan basis while proceeding to maximize their partisan spending efforts. This week, Schumer cited an economist claiming their proposals “would actually ease inflation pressures, not raise them.” McConnell cited an economist claiming the opposite.

Republicans had already said last year that the $2 trillion Cares Act was a one-time-only-ever vote, and had no intention of spending at that scale ever again. With such high spending amounts somehow becoming the norm, the debt limit is the closest option to attempt to halt further astronomical levels of spending.

Leader Schumer has claimed the debt has been incurred by both sides. He is not wrong. Forcing the debt limit to put a hard stop to any money going out beyond what comes in would make for a sudden fiscal jolt. The Treasury would shift from extraordinary measures for paying the bills to triage of who gets paid and who doesn't. If that included not paying on our debt, it would indeed have “serious negative consequences.”

Schumer's claims fall short by implying that raising the debt limit amounts to meeting our “responsibility to pay our bills.” Debt, by definition, is when monetary amounts are not paid, but deferred until later. Incurring more debt does not pay our bills, it adds to our bills.

Politically, choosing the closest option to force the issue also makes for an easy target. It's easier for Democrats to call for an increase in the debt ceiling than it is for Republicans to list the cuts that would make the debt ceiling increase unnecessary. It's been rare to craft a Federal budget that balances within 10 years, let alone one month. 

Spiritually, we would do well to ask the question, What is God trying to change in America right now? If we didn't change as a result of the virus and fear, might He be hardening both sides to bring about change through other means? What if how we were before was a normal to which He wants us never to return? Have we been grateful to Him for his blessings? Has Congress acknowledged Him and His role in our Nation?

The full faith and credit of the United States is worth nothing if it is not rooted in God, His Word, and His favor on this Nation, just like economics is, has been, and always will be for any other nation. Egypt, once the world superpower, found out the hard way that its money could fail (Genesis 47:15). There is no divine guarantee the value of U.S. money and our promise to pay holds true forever.

The matter for prayer is not how to fix our politics or our money. The matter for prayer is getting our Nation to seek the Lord. He will get our attention. There will be a “then they will know” kind of moment as there are throughout the Scriptures. The question is, How hard-hearted and stiff-necked will our Nation be in resisting Him until that happens?

Father, open the eyes of your Church to see that You can use the things of politics and economics to draw people to Yourself. You set up kings and remove kings. You change the times and seasons. Father, give wisdom to our leaders, give them the knowledge of God, and give them understanding to know You, to know You have desires for this nation, and to desire freedom in You.

“To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king's matter.” (Daniel 2:23)

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