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Economic Health Requires Revolutionary Change (Part 2)

Posted Nov 21 2008 10:23am

A new type of pollution is making the air unfit to breathe these days. Carbon-based fuel is no longer our biggest problem. Fear mixed with hate-filled language aimed at the people around us has turned into a toxic mix that is beginning to choke us all.

While everyone seems to be looking for someone else to blame, we’ve forgotten something important. We’ve all contributed to this economic crisis. The results seem like the remake of a bad movie that could have played in ancient times.

The Apostle Paul summed it up clearly in 1 Timothy 6:10: “But if it’s only money these leaders are after, they’ll self-destruct in no time. Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after.” (The Message)

King Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived, also spoke the following words that were recorded in Ecclesiastes 5:10 and still apply to our situation today: “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.” (New American Standard Version)

We’ve all bought things we didn’t need, sometimes with money we didn’t have. Now we’ve learned the hard way that life in “Never Never Land” isn’t quite what we expected. Because we were so willing to sacrifice the future to satisfy the desires of the present, we don’t know where to turn for help now that the future is staring us in the face.

Only God has all the answers. Those of us who believe in Him should pray for His forgiveness and direction and for our ability to hear Him clearly. Even if we hear Him, He won’t provide quick or easy solutions. He doesn’t operate that way when we’ve strayed. Like any good parent, He wants to make sure we’ve learned our lesson so we won’t forget what we’ve done wrong.

It’s time to accept that things will not be the same in the near future, if ever. With that fact in mind, let’s try to work together through the next steps.

After my last post, I had planned to suggest solutions to problems in domestic and foreign policy that affect our health. My previous list of short-term solutions proved too ambitious, and what once seemed intermediate now poses a very present danger. With that in mind, please allow me to revisit some issues from last week.

Several new plans are in the works to address the mortgage problem. Sheila Bair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) showed compassion for homeowners and empathy with lenders in the plan she proposed last Friday. Though Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is not in favor of the plan, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has publicly urged him to support it. On Wednesday the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also announced changes to its Hope for Homeowners program. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., applauded the announcement, but said further steps may be necessary. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac next threw their hats into the ring today, according to Reuters News. Their plan will halt foreclosures from November 26 through January 9, which will give lenders time to rework troubled loans.

No plan has yet been announced to deal with the glut of homes that are already on the market. Until leaders address that problem, credit may still be hard to come by, and the bailout plans under consideration for the auto industry will surely fail.

The bipartisan plan presented in the Senate today by two Democrats and two Republicans would allow automakers to divert the $25 billion that Congress has already allotted them for retooling their plants toward meeting the current crisis. Without retooling, the industry will die because it will fall farther behind foreign automakers who are already reaching the growing market for energy-efficient cars.

Democrats in both houses have demanded that the automakers present a survival plan before they will agree to loan them the additional $25 billion they say is needed to help them get by. Without access to credit, consumers still will not be able to buy the cars that will help automakers generate income to repay the loan.

Automakers say millions of jobs that depend on their survival will be lost if our country’s leaders don’t help them stave off bankruptcy. It’s not fair to penalize hard working people who have no control over any of this mess while we bail out the financial services industry that was at the center of this economic earthquake.

Until someone comes up with a plan to clear excess houses from the market, the automakers are doomed to fail with or without our help. While they develop overdue plans to move toward the future, Congress needs to finish cleaning up the problem that started this whole mess.

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Jacqueline L. Jones is author of Unmasking a Diagnosis: How to get Help for a Confusing Chronic Illness Without Filing for Bankruptcy. The book is available through Lulu.com and will be available early next year through Amazon.com and other online book retailers.


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