Friday, March 4, 2011

Excellent lining for your bird's cage (The New York Times)

The New York Times said this about the nation's $14 trillion debt:

"It's all obfuscating nonsense, of course, a scare tactic employed for political ends. A country with a deficit is not necessarily any more broke than a family with a mortgage or a college loan."

Wow. Really?

Mortgages are a fact of life for most people and one form of debt that can be used wisely. Most mortgages are on property that appreciates. College loans aren't in the same category, but not all together out of the realm of a "helpful" debt. In either case, the wisdom of using debt is connected to appreciation and how fast one can pay it off. Virtually any household with a mortgage or college loan is working diligently to pay it off as all debt is a form of slavery (Proverbs 22:7).

The New York Times really compares our nation's ballooning national debt with a household having a mortgage or college loan? The national debt is growing exponentially, we're not paying it off.

Who reads such a trash publication?


Jeff said...

Nothing like a little denial...

I like how Dave Ramsey describes our national debt. The numbers he gives are the right ratios, but his numbers put it into a way that is a little easier for the average person to understand, rather than thinking about the trillions of dollars that we're dealing with. He says this:

John Q. Public & Suzie America are a family who make $58,000 a year, spend $75,000 a year, and have $375,000 in credit card debt. And, they're making a big deal out of the fact that they've cut their annual spending back to $72,000.

Jim said...


[1] Don't neglect the word "necessarily" in reading the NYT's sentence. The point the NYT makes is technically correct with the "necessarily" in there. The question is, is the national debt created by investment-type opportunities that have payoffs in the future.

[2] Regarding indebtedness as slavery - come, now, let's not read the Bible anachronistically:
in the past you could literally be sold into slavery if you could not repay a debt (Mt 18.25) or you could literally be thrown into debtors prison (Mt 18.30).

That is why the Bible refers to debt as slavery. Because it was.

Given the abolition of slavery and prison for debt in the U.S. -- and the ability to declare bankruptcy -- the metaphorical way in which modern debt is equated with "slavery" by financial gurus has little to do with what Solomon, Jesus, or Paul talk about in identifying debt with slavery.

I should add that I don't like debt. The point is about reading, and applying, biblical injunctions accurately.

Reepicheep said...

When Scripture (Solomon, in particular in Proverbs) speaks of the borrower being a slave to the lender it simply means you are under a kind of control to the lender. Scripture doesn't call debt a sin, but a generally negative thing.

I believe I have accurately read and applied the verse, but thanks for your take Jim.

jeff said...

I have very strong feelings about debt. I'm a Dave Ramsey junkie.

I do equate it to slavery. Think about work to get paid, only to turn around and give all your money to somebody else. Danielle & I have seen a big difference in our lives since we paid off all our debt (not the house yet...that'll come someday). I never truly understood Prov 22:7 until we were free from the bondage of debt.

True, the Bible doesn't explicitly call debt a sin, but I don't recall ever seeing borrowing mentioned in a positive way in the Bible at all. To me, that's a good reason to not get into it.

The US needs to do something about our debt before we're owned by other interests.

Woody Woodward said...

My only comment, what do you expect coming from this garbage, left wing “News Paper?” For the life of me, can’t understand why any objective thinking person would even read it?