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IDEMA: In debt we trust, and God will not be bailing us out

• Apr 18, 2018 at 3:00 PM

On March 23, Congress approved a $1.3 trillion budget to avert another government shutdown. The president signed it into law.

The bill was more than 2,000 pages long. Do you think anybody read it? Certainly not the president, who says he does not read. That would be like reading "War and Peace" two times.

This bill takes us deeper and deeper into debt. As a fiscal and deficit hawk, I am disgusted.

The president raised the issue of our national debt a few times in his campaign. He has been silent on this issue since the election. I cannot remember Hillary Clinton ever mentioning the size of our national debt or a plan to pay it down. Both parties have abandoned any semblance of fiscal responsibility.

Congress also recently passed and the president again signed into law a huge tax cut, which primarily favors corporations and the very rich. The estimate is that the loss of revenue will take us another $1.5 trillion into debt.

The national debt is now accelerating at a faster rate than previous administrations. $21 trillion for our national debt is rapidly approaching, and projections are for trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see. So much for GOP fiscal responsibility! But the Democrats' hands are not clean, either, when it comes to piling up debt.

Do you think debt will ever be a campaign issue? We are approaching the midterm elections, and I will be interested to see if any candidate will address our debt and come up with a solution, e.g., balancing our budget, stopping generational theft, cutting spending or raising revenue, etc.

Our money says on it, "In God We Trust." The truth is that we do not trust in a deity to bail us out, but rather we trust in debt to stay afloat. The Christian Evangelicals love Trump because of his choices of judges and his anti-abortion stance (whether he truly believes in that stance is another matter). But where are these Christians when it comes to debt?

The Pentagon says debt is the greatest threat to our national security. Debt is a moral issue that the church should address and warn us about. Why is the church silent on this particular moral issue? Maybe the church is afraid of the American public then questioning the church's tax-free status!

Here are some startling facts:

— Our credit card debt is over $905 billion.

— Our mortgage debt is $8.74 trillion.

— Student loan debt is $1.36 trillion.

— The Gibson Guitar Co. is in danger of going under, being crushed by debt. Elvis used a Gibson, as did Eric Clapton on the Beatles' iconic song, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," having been invited by George Harrison to play the solo.

— Toys R Us went bust, burdened by unmanageable debt.

— Jared Kushner at the height of the real estate boom bought a building in New York with the address "666." He owed more than a billion dollars after this purchase. He was desperately trying to get loans to bail him out during the election campaign, which he succeeded in obtaining. This transaction is now being investigated by the special prosecutor. Kushner should have paid attention to the address.

In 2007, an important movie was released, "In Debt We Trust." The subtitle was "America Before the Bubble Bursts." How prophetic! Then the national debt was $8 trillion and alarm bells were sounding. Also, the film showed that we were in a real estate bubble, which turned out to be true a year later.

We are in another bubble right now, along with a stock market binge. Our economy is standing on quicksand — debt.

One version of the Lord's Prayer in English states, "forgive us our debts." You can interpret that verse in terms of sin or economics. Actually, they go together. Too much debt is a sin, and God is not going to bail us out of this one. We have to do it ourselves, but will we?

— By the Rev. Henry Idema, Tribune community columnist

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