With all the exciting news coming out of Europe in light of Slovakia’s entrenched position against further financial enabling for Greece, I had planned on spending some time considering the implications. Also, we need to keep our eyes on Richard Sulik, head of the Freedom and Solidarity Party in this plucky country. Though they are not the strongest by a long shot, the stance they’re taking is the right one, and perhaps the only one that can free Europe from their self-imposed financial tyranny. But I read a different story this morning that really caught my attention. Slovakia’s story will develop more in the next day or two, giving us more fodder to ponder. For today, let’s look within the shores of the U.S.
The story that grabbed my attention today was also from The Telegraph. It’s interesting, and understandable, to see the frustration of US taxpayers in light of the abuses of politicians and the economic powerhouses of our country. The system has defrauded the American people. It’s a form of thievery cloaked in beneficence. But now, to some degree, the lie is being exposed for what it is. And, ultimately, it’s an institutionalized form of monetary slavery through inflation, taxation and debt.
We talked about inflation and taxation recently. But much of the protest in this article focuses on debt. One comment by a clearly frustrated mother was of particular interest. Her quote should speak volumes to us. “I have kids who have college degrees who should be starting a good life. They can’t find jobs and they are in debt. This is wrong.” I couldn’t agree with her more. However, most definitely not in the way she would expect.
First, her kids just graduated and should be starting a good life? A college education can be a good thing. It’s hardly necessary in today’s world where people are hired more on their merit than on the letters after their names. Furthermore, our institutes of higher learning have some serious flaws. Rather than being designed to train people for the job or field they’re pursuing, degrees have fluff built in and agendas imposed by corporations that help support them. Don’t get me wrong. I certainly don’t want an uneducated doctor cutting me open. But, on the other hand, the training of so many doctors is funded so heavily by big pharmacy companies that they really don’t know any other type of medicine than simply throwing prescriptions at problems.
I digress a bit. I don’t know what kind of college education these kids have. It could be that they needed the education for the field they’re entering. However, what we do know is that they presumed upon the system, expecting to obtain a level of employment that would allow them to pay off their student debt. Of course, it could be that they didn’t really consider the implications, just did it because it’s the way it’s done. The result is that college graduates join the unemployed with debt before they even get a chance to really begin to be productive to society. In other words, they remain a drain on society. Every one of us that can’t find work becomes a drain on society, until/unless we find a way to become productive.
This mother blames Wall Street for her children’s inability to land jobs. Now, there may be some truth to this. Some will argue that it’s because of politics. Some would blame the Fed. Others blame Wall Street. Frankly, I think dividing them into separate categories is akin to saying water is different than steam. In other words, they’re all manifestations of the same problem. Our system is not free. It’s controlled, manipulated and debased by the powers that be. And those powers pull the strings in Washington, NY and every place that Federal Reserve Notes are printed. So, to the degree that her children can’t get jobs, there is some legitimacy to her complaint. Those powers have destroyed our economy. For those who understand the fundamentals well, they’ve seen this coming and many have tried to warn the people. For the rest of us, whose grasp of economics tends to be more oriented from paycheck to paycheck, we’re just beginning to see the symptoms, I’m afraid.
A main problem with her tirade is that she throws her children’s debt out there like Wall Street is to blame. I’m curious, did someone from Wall Street hold a gun to their heads and make them sign student loans? Of course, there are programs available for students to borrow far more than they should. It’s irresponsible on both sides, lender and borrower alike. But nobody is forced to borrow. Oh, we can use excuses. But what if you were in the same circumstances 500 years ago? What if there were no student loans? What if you had to just train and work? Then what would you do? You’d just do it, of course.
This is where our younger generations need to just grow up. Of course, this is also where our older generations need to teach our children more responsibly. We’ve bought into the lie that they need a formal education at an institute of higher learning in order to get a decent job, even if that means having to work said job for ten years just to pay off the debt of the education. For an advanced degree, this could mean over 20 years of enslavement to your education in the form of schooling and paying off debt. For others, like these children, it could mean that they’re enslaved to debt even longer because of their inability to get work in order to pay off debt.
Make no mistake about it, debt is a form of slavery. “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender,” (Proverbs 22:7). This is a simple rule of life. There is the ability to rise above it. But it takes prudence, wisdom and, quite often, special grace from God (some erroneously call it luck). But, while we do not have the ability to change the circumstances of our birth, we do have the ability to avoid debt. It is not necessary. We can obtain educations through reading and hands on experience. We can rent, saving as we go so that we can purchase a house one day.
I’m experiencing this kind of slavery today. I have student debt. I have a home loan. And, I feel the weight of my chains. Sometimes they are incredibly heavy, weighing me down with each day as I strive to plod along. But I was not forced to make these decisions. I chose to buy a house. I chose to take a loan for my education. I could have gone slower and worked more while in school, but decided to take more classes, work less and take a loan instead. In hindsight it was probably not the wisest choice. But, you know what? It was the choice I made and now I have to live with that yoke until I pay it off. I can’t blame the President. I can’t blame congress. I can’t blame the Fed, taxes or Wall Street. I signed the papers knowing full well that I would have to pay the loan back. It’s my burden to bear. By the grace of God I’ll be able to pay it off sooner rather than later. But my struggle to pay off such debt is not going to be fixed by attempting to cast the blame for my own actions on others. Marc Faber makes the same point from a different angle.
Let’s teach our children a bit about being responsible adults. Of course, we need to be responsible adults first. Then, let’s avoid enabling them to buy into the victim mentality that so permeates our culture. This is exacerbated by the entitlement mentality that has grown into an epidemic in our society. The twain make terrible bed fellows, feeding upon one another, growing and crippling all who succumb to their lies. Make sure you’re children know that they’re responsible for their debt. Nobody owes them anything. If they choose to take on debt for their education then they need to have a plan mapped out to pay it off. This irresponsible blame-shifting needs to stop. Too many think that they have riches coming to them simply because they deserve it by some right of birth. For some reason, being born American seems synonymous with entitlement to wealth to many people. Lies piled on lies, bolstered by debt and buffeted by too few jobs to support the lies has resulted in disillusionment. It’s time to wake up. Our dream has been a fantasy. If we don’t shake ourselves into reality soon we’ll wake up to a nightmare.
Let’s teach our children to be oriented toward being productive. This entitlement mentality squashes the entrepreneur in everyone. Why be creative when you deserve riches anyways? It’s a silly mentality, but permeates our culture so insidiously. The younger generations need to be taught to look for needs they can fill. Find what people need but aren’t getting enough of and make it. Find something they need done and can’t do for themselves and do it. Purpose in your heart to fill the needs of the culture you’re in. Go find another culture where you can fill a need. Or, if you’re smart enough, create a need that you can fill, adding another dynamic to the culture. But, for heaven’s sake, quit your bellyaching and blame-shifting and take responsibility for your own actions and future. That’s what built the greatness of America’s tenacious ingenuity of past decades. That’s what it’s going to take to crawl out of the rubble and ruin that’s collapsing around us.
I have a caveat though. It is entirely possible that the monetary/economic/fiscal policies of the US will continue to make this more and more difficult. Usually there’s a way to rise in spite of this. But the days of being able to just work hard and get ahead don’t appear to be returning soon. With this in mind, consider your options. It may be that what you’re best at isn’t needed where you are, but there is need in another state. It may be that you’ll need to learn something new. But it’s also possible that another country needs your skills and can pay you quite well for your efforts. If this is the case, don’t think that it’s unpatriotic to leave the shores of the US in order to work and provide for your family elsewhere. You owe your country nothing more than to pursue that for which the founders fought and died for – freedom and the right to pursue happiness. If you can’t do it here, find a place you can.
One last thought. We must be careful not to equate happiness with joy. Happiness is based primarily on what’s “happening.” It’s focused on our circumstances. Of course, it affects us a great deal. But it’s not the same as joy. Joy is found in the core of who we are. We can be in miserable circumstances and yet still find joy. This is no place more apparent than in our relationship with Jesus. Knowing that our eternity is secure in God almighty brings a joy that transcends our circumstances, overruling them regardless of their misery. For those in Christ, death is a precious promise that we will be in the presence of King Jesus. Therefore, whether in life or in death, we can find joy in striving to serve Him for His glory. This brings a purpose to life that far outshines our status on this earth, whether prince or pauper.
Another JoeFor what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?
1 Thessalonians 2:19