It’s times of crisis like this one that throw a wrench into all the things we THOUGHT we knew about ordinary life — and check our ability to prepare for the future.
While it’s far too early to know for sure whether this viral event was truly the monster under the bed we’re told we should be afraid of, what we HAVE learned is that we aren’t nearly as prepared for a serious crisis as we would like to think.
If that’s going to change at any point in the future, we are going to have to seriously rethink some things. Joseph’s very practical answer to the Pharoah’s dream gives us a helpful starting point.
The ‘too long-didn’t read’ version (Genesis 41) is Pharoah had a dream and sent for someone to interpret it for him. Joseph told him it was a divine warning of a coming famine, and that the wise course of action would be to leverage the coming times of plenty (by loading the abundant grain into storehouses) to prepare for the famine that was to follow.
Egypt took his warning seriously, applied his solution, and — as a result — the entire nation found itself in a position of strength when the crisis arrived.
How does America stack up against that example? In short — not very well.
We’re seeing stories about mobile hospitals (including ventilators) that had been commissioned under ‘the Governator’ getting scrapped during an economic downturn — while California kept dumping money into white elephants like their train to nowhere.
We’re seeing that Governors that knew (or should have known) that their stockpile of ventilators was depleted after a pandemic during Obama’s presidency did not prioritize restocking them.
We’re seeing that budgets at all three levels — local, State and federal — do NOT have a contingency fund set aside as a hedge against catastrophe, and are relying entirely on their ability to borrow. (That, or handouts from another level of government.)
Individuals and businesses are not doing much better on that score.
What can we learn from this?
We can learn that expanding out spending to match or exceed our income is NOT a sustainable model. However much we might LIKE the idea of spending a windfall on this or that favorite new project, we need to realize the money has to come from somewhere.
Right now, much of our lending is coming from China. And every dollar we borrow from them feeds our interest payments into making their military machine that much stronger. Borrowing from China is NOT a sustainable solution, especially when they have real ambitions of becoming a unipolar world power.
When we see Trillion-dollar plans to radically remake our country, institutions, medical system and economic structure — while they dream up Environmental initiatives to utterly cripple the nation’s economic engine, we are not looking at a sustainable model even in Good times.
Add a military conflict, an economic downturn, or a wildcard like the WuFlu to the mix and the whole thing could topple like a house of cards.
Just ask the good people of Venezuela, Zimbabwe or 1930’s Germany what negative outcomes can be midwifed by periods of such political or economic instability.
We’re at a crossroads right now. This event has served as a financial and systemic ‘stress test’ for all of our institutions.
Are we willing to step up with the financial belt-tightening required for bringing our debt into check, and forgoing some of the comforts and benefits we’ve convinced ourselves we ‘deserve’ from our Government?
What cannot go on forever must eventually stop — that axiom even included living on the national credit card.
Great nations get reduced to being minor powers because of this kind of short-sighted thinking.
When the RIGHT thing and the HARD thing are the SAME thing — are we willing to do what needs to be done?
RELATED: What that same passage tells us about taxes, government overreach (and even slavery!) in our modern context… Kings, Slaves,Taxes — and America
From that piece:
Let’s recap our own history. Until 1861, USA had no personal income tax. After that, it took the 16th Amendment in 1913 make it permanent. The top tax rate back then was 7%. (Canada had no personal income tax until WWI, and that was supposed to be a “temporary measure”. Lesson? Be highly skeptical of “temporary” taxes.)
Egypt, in bondage to Pharaoh paid 20%. Americans in 1913 paid 7%.
So, tell me, Free Citizen … what does your tax bracket look like?