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Is America a money pit?

Posted: Monday, May 2, 2016 | Alphonso Ashworth | Politics

If Americans could get away with managing their financial lives in the same manner as our federal, state, and local governments, we would never fill in our personal money pits.

The term “money pit” refers to any situation that will never give back a positive return on what has been poured into it. Unfortunately, some of our political leaders believe they can fix this hole by

A: Slowing down how much they spend, or
B: Passing the shovel to the next generation.

Our national debt has skyrocketed to $19 trillion — that’s 19 followed by 12 zeros, people. By the time our present president leaves office and a new one is sworn in, that number will top $21 trillion. As a young whippersnapper coming of age in the 1970s, I thought $1 million was more money than I could ever spend. But it would take $100 million to make $1 trillion. Notice I skipped billions. My head started to explode once I began wrapping my mind around all of those zeros and commas.

Once the government starts digging, a money pit can grow in many different sizes and depths. Sometimes the costs are given names; “pork projects” and “necessary expenditures” are a couple that come to mind. But whatever they’re called, it is just a nice way of saying, “Quid pro quo — You scratch my back, and I will scratch yours.”

The problem is the government only pretends to scratch your itch.

Some of the costs are cleverly disguised as needful things like education reform, healthcare reform, welfare reform, infrastructure (rebuilding bridges and roads), community revitalization projects, or national security (eavesdropping on the citizens or building a wall on the southern border). Of course there are certain tasks that only the government can uniquely provide. But according to the rules, established by some pencil-pushing bureaucrat, a money pit must be expanded as the need becomes greater.

By the way, according to the Svengalis who make the rules, a money pit can never be closed or shut down.

I don’t make the rules. I am merely a messenger.

Other nations take advantage of this loophole as well. They sometimes position themselves at the bottom, siphoning out what they can, while we suckers (I mean taxpayers) feverishly dump more in. As I understand it, some of their profits may return as political campaign contributions.

Are you getting the magnitude of this sinkhole yet?

We all face challenges when it comes to managing our resources. Our money pits may be financial; they may be in the form of family issues or how we live our daily lives. The old saying, “You get back what you put in,” applies to almost everything we set out to do: Exercising, eating, and, of course, having a relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Let’s read what the Bible has to say about planning and investing wisely.

In order to build, we must first start with a solid foundation (a pit, so to speak). Luke writes, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation (the pit), and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?” (14:28-30)

As for investing, a tree can only produce good fruit when it is properly nurtured.

Paul writes, “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come, no collections will have to be made” (1 Corinthians 16:2).

As Christians, we are commanded to be in the world but not of the world — a difficult balance to find when we use our own understanding as our guide. Walking through this life can be treacherous, comparable to walking a high wire without a safety net. The key is to carry God’s Word as your rod of instruction. Only then will you recognize whether what’s at the other end is a need or a want.

Be a watchman on the wall and have no fear, because as He promised, His Spirit will teach you and help you avoid all “pits.”