The fiscal cliff
Better start buying gold. As things presently stand (-off) between Congress and President Obama, it looks as though the United States will fall off a 'fiscal cliff' on January 1st. The intense media focus on this latest threat of global economic meltdown is a reference to the statutory tax increases and spending cuts which come into effect on New Year's Day which were designed decrease the US budget deficit and pay down the national debt.
To some, the impending doom is a fulfilment of apocalyptic eschatology: it is God's judgment on guns, greed, gay marriage and Piers Morgan. But what manner of 'fiscal cliff' is it which induces panic at the thought of having to balance a budget and live within one's means? Do not the economics of the kingdom of God demand a collection for the poor among the saints as an expression of their koinonia in Christ? Does not the First Epistle of John exhort individual believers to share their material wealth? Does not the Book of Revelation prophetically address the churches of Smyrna and Laodicea in their corporate giving? Should not the practice of sharing characterise Christians - helping the brother or sister in need - demonstrating the exchatological sign of the transforming power of God's kingdom?
Yet in the entire fiscal ethic of the Old Testament and New, there is not a single mention of selling possessions one does not actually own, or of of giving alms out of the debts of market capitalism. The hope of future heavenly reward should not induce present economic anxiety.
Perhaps the only credible resolution to the big-state tax-and-spend mentality is a good dose of real austerity: let the US jump off the fiscal cliff and drag the rest of the world into the shadows of the ensuing economic darkness. Cliff and the shadows are the only reality - there is nothing new under the sun.