Living beyond our Means

There are many theories out there about how we ended up in the economic situation that we are in. This is a very bad situation and it has affected many people and it is looking like it is going to get worse before it gets better. Now I am not an economist but I too have a theory of how we got into this mess and I can sum it up with one word, GREED!
Americans have been living beyond their means for a long time now and I will call it what it is, sinful. We need to be good stewards of the gifts that God has given us and that does not include getting into more debt then we can handle. Yes the mortgage crisis lead to part of this but no one forced your hand to sign the loan application. As I wrote yesterday we need to start taking personal responsibility for our actions and that would include getting into debt. Americans today have more personal debt than any other time in history. By the way I am including myself in this as well.
During this past election cycle here in Massachusetts there was a statewide question on the ballot to roll back the state sales tax from 6.25% to 3%. Thankfully the question did not pass. If it had it was estimated that the Town of Southbridge would loose approximately $9.5 million in state aid. Okay my question is this, why is the Town of Southbridge, or any Town for that matter, relying on aid from the state? It was reported in today’s Boston Globe that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts stands to loose money in Federal aid in the coming years as well. I ask the same question, why are we relying on Federal Aid? We are living beyond our means.
I believe is local control and that problems should be solved at the lowest possible level. With this in mind, when the Town starts the budget process it should not include any possible funding from any other source other than the revenue that the Town brings in, if we cannot live on that then we are living beyond our means. I, like most of you, get a paycheck each week. That is all the money I have for the week and when it runs out, it is gone. I cannot look to anyone else for money to get me over the hump; government should be run the same way.
Governments at all levels gather funds through taxes, property tax, meals tax, sales tax, income tax and the like. Each level of Government should exist on what funds are gathered at that level if not then cuts will need to be made. I realize this is pie in the sky but I believe if we want to get back on track we need to do this.
There has been much discussion the last few days about taxes and tax cuts. The highest earners in the country pay the least amount of taxes, so the argument goes. Taxes are never fair and taxes are a necessary part of life. I support a flat tax with no deductions for anyone, this way everyone pays their fair share. Just for example let us say the income tax rate is 15%. At the end of the year you would pay 15% of your income in taxes regardless of how much you make. No deductions for anything. I floated this idea on Facebook the other day and someone said that churches and other charities would stop getting money. Well I do not want people donating to my church because of the tax break; I want people giving to my church because they have an obligation to give money to the church. A Biblical obligation!
National debt is the highest it has ever been. Massachusetts is facing a $2 billion budget deficit and it is projected to get worse. We need to start living within our means, it will be difficult at the start, and of course I am not saying we should do this over night it needs to be phased in. That was my objection to the tax roll back question that it was too much too fast.
We need, at a personal level, to be good stewards of all that we have. We should not be living beyond our means, we should avoid personal debt at all reasonable costs, and we should pay down all credit cards and avoid using them to live on. We should look at streamlining our lives and consolidating things. Begin saving money and spending less. And we need to remember to be attentive to our spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting, worship, tithing and serving. We need to live a more simple life and get back to basics and stop living beyond our means.

1 Comment

  1. amen fr. i'm loving this post…I also beleave that there should be a law that every town be require to put 0.5% of what they take in,in taxes, into savings that can not be touched unless the town voters agree on it..we just don't know how to save any money in this country..that includes all of us..

Comments are closed.

error: Content is protected !!