My brother shared with me yesterday that he has been paying a lot of attention to the raging debate about whether or not the federal debt ceiling should be raised. I commented on the matter back on May 18 of this year, so I thought it might be good to repost my earlier comments below. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.
According to an Associated Press story featured in yesterday’s Columbus Dispatch, “the government has maxed out its credit card.” More specifically, the article reports, if our government does not raise its own debt limit, the U.S. could begin defaulting on debt payments as early as August.
This is pretty big news. In our nearly 235-year history as a country, we have defaulted on our debt payments a grand total of zero times.
I highly doubt that we will, in fact, default on our loans. Congress can “eliminate” the crunch by legislating a higher debt ceiling.
Why place “eliminate” in quotes? Simply because raising the debt limit does absolutely nothing to solve the underlying problem. Our credit rating would take a sharp downhill turn if we defaulted on our debt, but ratings agencies and investors will eventually devalue our debt anyway unless our budget gets back under control.
Getting our budget back under control is going to require Congress to say “No” to some things.
Are we honest enough to admit that we, like the government, find it difficult to say “No”? Sometimes it’s harder to utter this two-letter word than to spout off “antidisestablishmentarianism.”
Even when we do say “No,” we often are uneasy about it. A friend said it well in a Facebook post yesterday: “I wish that I could develop the ability to say no to people without feeling guilty afterward :/”
It’s helpful for us to remember that people have lots of plans for our lives, many good, some not so good. God, however, is the One to whom we have to answer for the way we spend our time (1 Corinthians 3:11–15; 2 Corinthians 5:10). If we assume that people’s desires for us are as binding as God’s commands, we’ll run ourselves ragged (as a commenter on my friend’s post noted) and probably do some very unwise things.
It takes maturity to reach the point where we can say, “I’m OK with someone being frustrated with me because I know I’ve done what God wanted me to do.”
That’s the sort of attitude that could be worth billions of dollars.
— Beau StanleyFollow @beaustanley
(EDITOR’S NOTE—Photo: Jeffrey Hamilton/Lifesize/Thinkstock)