When 26-year-old Megan graduated from the university with her Master’s in International Affairs, she had big career aspirations. But after two years of job hunting, she finds herself working as the manager of a women’s retail store and living with her parents just so she can make ends meet. Not exactly the life Megan imagined when she was studying long hours in the library and working that part-time job to pay her way through school. And sadly, Megan’s story is not uncommon.
The younger generation entering the work-force is facing a harsh reality check. That is, 36 percent of America’s young adults are living under their parents’ roofs living paycheck to paycheck with no prospects in sight. For the first time in our nation’s history, young people face a future that threatens to be less financially secure than that of their parents. Only 44 percent of Americans – fewer than ever before – believe that today’s youth will have more prosperous lives than their parents.
No matter how much politicians try to spin the narrative on our $17 trillion national debt crisis, they cannot hide the real financial struggles under which our nation is crumbling. Washington must reduce our deficit by cutting spending, reforming entitlements and ensuring the debt ceiling is not increased without significant spending reductions that don’t use budgetary gimmicks or raise taxes on American families.
The most valuable lessons on sound, responsible spending and prosperity are found in the Bible. Christian families know this. That is why they make tough pocketbook choices every single day. They know you can’t just get another credit card when you’ve already maxed out the ones you have. They get that you can’t take a vacation when you need to make the mortgage payment instead.
Consider how Congress could improve the fiscal crisis if it only upheld these ten basic Biblical principles:
1. Repayment of debt is mandatory.
“Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.” (Ecclesiastes 5:5)
2. Debt presumes upon the future.
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” (James 4:13-14)
3. Debt enslaves the debtor.
“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” (Proverbs 22:7)
4. Failure to repay is considered stealing.
“The wicked borrows and does not repay, But the righteous shows mercy and gives.” (Psalm 37:21) “If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.” (Numbers 30:2)
5. Debt symbolizes a lack of contentment.
“[A]s sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. (2 Corinthians 6:10) “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8) “And He said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in abound of things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15)
6. Interest on debt: A waste of resources.
“So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” (John 6:12)
7. Ignoring debt is dangerous.
“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8)
8. Debt prevents us from receiving God’s full blessings.
“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore, if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own.” (Luke 16:10-12)
9. We are to strive to leave our children a solid foundation on which to build.
“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.” (Proverbs 13:22) “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8)
10. The end result, debtors bring on themselves their own demise.
“The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail. Moreover, all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statues which He commanded you.” (Deuteronomy 28: 43-45)
Guided by these principles and ideals, the nation can come back from the brink of fiscal peril. But to do this, Washington must lay aside the greed, envy, corruption, sloth, and lawlessness that play a fundamental role in the debt crisis. If we take a bold approach to cutting spending and reforming our budget crisis, the nation will prosper again. If not, then it will be today’s young people who are left holding the bag.