The Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association

Debt Ceilings and Space Shuttles
by Jim Josephsen

Any nation today, faithfully obeying and committed to the only True and Living God, would benefit from His promise: the Eternal will open His best treasures from the skies for you, to give you rain to adorn your land [rain to fall in a timely manner to coincide with the growing seasons] and to bless every work of your hands. You shall lend to many nations, but not borrow from any. And the Eternal will make you the head and not the tail and you shall continually rise and not be depressed – if you hearken unto the commandments of God, to observe and to do them (Deuteronomy 28:12-13).

Are these empty words found in a dust covered ancient book written by some drug-induced mystic from some bygone era? Or is there a God, eternal and omniscient, who is well aware of mankind’s behavior and the existence of every nation?

The United States is mired in a battle and if the debt ceiling crisis is not soon resolved, the results will produce suffering at a new level not only for U.S. citizens but for all the world’s economies. Washington is deadlocked, stubborn and irresponsible of its duties to the American public.

According to the U.S. Constitution, Congress has the responsibility to resolve this crisis. Will they? Time will tell, but August 2nd is fast approaching and the world is getting nervous. Asian markets, for example, are gravely concerned.

Consider the history of our current debt ceiling controversy – lest the American public be guilty of ignorance. God, through the prophet Hosea spoke: my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will reject thee. The USA, claiming to be a God-fearing nation, is being rejected, grossly lacking knowledge, not only of God and His righteous ways, but of the truth of its history.

The debt ceiling was first set in September 1917, when Congress authorized the issuance of approximately $7.5 billion in US bonds in addition to $4 billion in certificates of indebtedness; all this done under the Second Liberty Bond Act. From that point on, Washington, through all its Administrations and Congresses has heaped upon its constituents a burden of debt. Congress, like the street corner pusher, has addicted this country to the spirit of debt.

Additional facts of the U.S. debt ceiling reveal that it first went above $1 trillion in 1981, September to be exact. From February 1981 through September 1987, Congress at the urging of President Reagan raised the debt ceiling some 17 times, from $985 billion to $2.8 trillion; nearly tripling the national debt. From April 1993, when the debt ceiling was $4.145 trillion until January 2001, at $5.95 trillion, under the Clinton Administration, the debt ceiling was increased four times.

Then coincidentally with the phenomenal rise of U.S. economic wealth over the past thirty years, the result of inflated and camouflaged fiscal practices, crafted by unjust weights, money markets, hedge funds, business give-aways, tax loop-holes, Wall street investment schemes, politically corrupt deals; with the explosion of new technologies, the growth of foreign trade and the opening of new markets and economies of smaller third world countries, the signing of NAFTA, the increase of immigrants, the federal funding of programs for the needy and housing incentives, the waging of wars and an America’s giddiness in wallowing in gadgets and self-interest, lust and affluence, came the exponential rise in the debt ceiling.

By the fall of 2008, our country was clearly entrenched, set on the course toward economic disaster. The elevated debt ceiling of today is not only the result of the past two years of over-spending. This country’s debt ceiling crisis is the product of previous Presidents and Congresses and a nation which habitually believes in spending, with the intention of someday paying it off.

Under President George W. Bush, the debt ceiling increased seven times, from $5.90 trillion as recorded in January of 2001 when he took office, to $11.315 trillion in October of 2008, an increase of 90%.

As recent as February 2010, the U.S. Congress, under the Obama Administration, has raised the debt ceiling from $12.394 trillion to the current $14.294 trillion.

How will it end? A compromise of increased taxes with a diminishing of public funding? A Congress that is actually willing to curb spending and quit giving out tax favors to the wealthy? Will Federal Grants stop going to immoral behaviors? And the debate rages on. One thing is for certain; the nations of the earth are lending to the United States of America and we consume their products. Consumer lust-driven Americans are becoming more despondent, and the debt piles higher and higher.

Continuing with our evolving reality up until the middle of July 2011, the U.S. space program was second to none. After the embarrassment sustained, the result of the USSR being the first to launch a man into space, NASA never looked back. America went to the moon in 1969, followed by many successful space explorations. Beginning in April 1981, with over 130 space shuttle missions the United States remained well in the forefront of space technology.

On Thursday July 21st, 2011, the space shuttle Atlantis touched down in Florida, ending the 30-year shuttle program. This was the day many in NASA dreaded would come. The fate of this day was set back in 2004, when then President George W. Bush signed a Presidential Degree canceling Federal funds for the U.S. Shuttle Program. The intention then was for the International Space Station to be completed by 2010, at which time the U.S. Space Shuttle program would be retired.

In October 2010, President Obama signed a Private Sector initiative which would honor the mandatory retirement directive issued by Bush, but allow for a scaled-back plan that would rely heavily on the American private sector and business to continue a space exploration program for the United States. Rather than scrapping the entire program and losing out to the Russians and the Chinese, President Obama realized the embarrassment the U.S. would suffer. Placing the program in the hands of the private sector would be one minor way to aid the economy while taking away from the federal burden.

As was evident then, the vision of the United States in space exploration was becoming too costly. Both Presidents Bush and Obama realized the United States cannot afford to foot the bill. For now the only way Americans can get into space, mainly to contribute to the International Space Station program, is to pay the Russians approximately $60 billion per person to travel on their spacecraft. The nation we once competed against and beat in the race to the moon; the nation that was beneath us is now our gracious savior when it comes to space travel.

Oh the bitter ironies of life and a country disobedient to God!

Debt beyond control with no end in sight; the United States can very well bring the economies of the world crashing down if we go into default. Even if the debt ceiling crisis is resolved this time, the debate will come up again; guaranteed!

While many economists and fiscal pundits predict dire financial times, many are quick to point back to 1995 and 1996, at a time called the original “debt ceiling crisis.” Back then, it was a problem but the country managed. The financial markets were hurt (for a time) as the government was shut down temporarily. But after some political juggling, the country resumed activity. No harm; no foul.

This time however, the consequences may not be so composed. According to the Center of American Progress, the budgetary consequences could be more far-reaching and catastrophic, forcing the immediate cessation of more than 40% of government activities, including social security, military operations and other social programs. Of course, Congress’ paychecks would still be issued!

The threat to our national security would escalate. Civil unrest would follow months down the road as our economy would slow dramatically and the value of our dollar would plummet. The difference this time over the mid-1990s is clearly the fact that our debt has grown from $5.5 trillion to $14.294 trillion – and we are talking about trillions. That kind of debt is unsustainable. That kind of debt spells disaster. History witnesses of the affects of hyper-inflation and a nation in economic peril because of too much debt.

Debt ceilings and space shuttles made the headlines in the third week of July 2011. Will future generations look back and comment, “Oh that was just the natural consequence of a nation that outlived its usefulness; simple national cause and effect.” Or should it be said, much to the chagrin and embarrassment, bred by the ignorance of conservatives and Christians alike, “The collapse of the United States was the direct result of God’s intervention and His wrath upon a disobedient and pathetic nation.”

God said: He will smite his people; He will destroy those who dishonor and disobey Him.

God said he would bless the nation that is faithful and obedient to Him.

Now notice what He said of the nation that spits in His face. The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high and thou shall come down very low. He shall lend to thee and thou shall not lend to him; he shall be the head and thou shall be the tail. Moreover all these curses [read Deuteronomy 28] shall come upon thee and shall pursue thee and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because you harkened not to keep the commandments of the Lord (Deuteronomy 28:43-45).

Debt ceilings and space shuttles -- just two more indications of a nation no longer blessed by God; a nation soon to be smitten. Only a sincere change of heart and behavior among the American people and politicians by showing obedience toward God can resolve the debt ceiling crisis and bring the United States back to prominence. At this point in our history, before God considers ever aiding the United States, He requires we the people to do something first.

Breaking News Stories
Go here for the latest news stories on this subject. –news story added 9 September 2011
Further reading:
Our Commentary
The Bills Are Now Due –by Jim Josephsen
Wall Street Journal says: Load the Pantry –by Mark Armstrong
Economic Collapse – Planned Disaster –by Jim Josephsen
Change Coming to America –by Jim Josephsen
Counting the Costs –by Mark Armstrong
"Act Now" –by Mark Armstrong
Europe’s Impending Calamity –by Michael Burkert
Bankruptcy in Japan and the Rise of Militarism –by Michael Burkert
A Greek Calamity –by Mark Armstrong
Small Business Saturday –by Jim Josephsen
“Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste” –by Mark Armstrong
Federal Debt: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Second Liberty Bond Act.