Would Einstein Think Us Insane?
by Kevin Probst
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Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity was “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” We have now completed three years under the Obama administration and no one on his staff is asking, “Are you better off now than you were three years ago?” In February of 2009 President Obama spoke on the TODAY show. “ … If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.” 2 ½ years later Obama was singing an altogether different tune. In November of 2011 he said, “We’re going to have an America where everybody has opportunity. And that’s going to take some time…”
Under the Obama administration the national debt has grown to $15.2 trillion. That is more than our entire national economic output. In 2008, 67% of American youth voted for Obama. Today, 3 million of them are unemployed. In a few months we will see if they satisfy Einstein’s definition of insanity.
While Americans are fed a steady stream of poppycock from the press, they may be missing the most important issue. Millions are concerned about Iran’s ability and determination to make an atomic weapon. Newt Gingrich recently said the greatest threat to America is an EMP (Electric Magnetic Pulse) attack. Daily we have our fear of terrorism stoked by some isolated incident that happens in a foreign city far away. But the real threat to our national security is our own national debt. A nation that can’t pay its bills is a nation that is making itself vulnerable to other nations posturing as our friends. How long can our nation claim sovereignty when its purse strings are being controlled by another?
If you’ve read this far into this article you may have already forgotten the $15.2 trillion figure. We tend to forget quickly what we can’t understand. What is $15.2 trillion? What is $1 trillion for that matter? Are there a trillion grains of sugar in a wheelbarrow? Are there a trillion grains of sand in a dump trunk?
If you gave away a million dollars every day since the birth of Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago you would only have given away about 75% of a trillion dollars. A trillion dollar bills stacked on top of each other would stretch 68 thousand miles. That would be 8 trips around the world.
But our national debt is $15.2 trillion. How can you visualize this massive about of money? If we had 15 trillion dollars bills and began to lay them down end to end we could stretch them from the sun to the planet Saturn! If we began paying down the principle of our debt by submitting $100 million/day it would take us 394 years to pay it off.
Hans Lippershey invented the telescope over 400 years ago. It wasn’t long before scientist were looking into space and attempting to approximate the number of stars they were seeing. Some claimed to see a thousand stars, others made seemingly outrageous claims of seeing be at least 10,000 stars in space. Today we know that there are 100 billion stars in our galaxy. 100 billion represents only 1% of our national debt.
Jerry Robinson, author of Bankruptcy of Our Nation, laments the $500 billion we must pay on interest payments. In one year we have spend more on interest payments that we have spent on the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Transportation, Department of Energy, Department of Justice, Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Treasury, Department of Labor and the Small Business Administration COMBINED! Since 1988 our Congress has spent over $8 trillion in interest payments which is enough to buy an elite sports car for every taxpayer in America.
So what must be done? President Obama presented his idea to the Washington think tank, the Brookings Institution, in December of 2009. The nation must “spend its way out of this recession.” Now, assuming most of us are not insane, what would you do if your family was facing a bankruptcy? If you were about to have your home foreclosed and your car repossessed, what sort of family financial plan would you formulate? We don’t need Dave Ramsey for this one. We would stop spending money and start saving money so we could pay down our debt. As practical as that seems, the federal government refuses to adopt that plan. It seems they are leaning toward insanity when they find themselves drowning in the ocean of debt and they decide diving deeper will save them.
Jesus told a parable about a wise man. He built his house up. His counterpart, a foolish man, built his house on sand. The economic morass in which we find ourselves isn’t totally the fault of the present administration. The American economy finds itself on a sandy foundation because we stacked a pile of bad economic decisions atop each other over a period of many decades. It resulted from politicians who were more interested in building a bridge to nowhere in order to get reelected than they were about an economy they would leave to the next generation. It’s about going deeply into debt to live high on the hog and passing that bill onto our children.
Christ never condemned the wealthy but he had a lot to say about how we are to handle money. He taught 38 parables and 16 of those had something to do with money. He said, "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24) The Apostle Paul gave good advice to his younger protégé, Timothy; “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” Christ is condemning those who love money more than they love God. His harsh words are for those who have set up a money idol and they've relegated God to the back burner of their lives.
The dark clouds gathering on the horizon are very discouraging. The Psalmist gave a warning for all those who ignore God; “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” (Psalm 9:17) But there is a ray of hope that pierces through that dark cloud; “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
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