by Moody Adams "Polonius wouldn’t have gotten very far in America today," says Kim Khan. He's the Shakespeare character in Hamlet who warned, "neither a borrower, nor a lender be."
Americans are $2 trillion dollars in debt. They owe $18,654 per household not including mortgage debt; up 41% over 1998. Personal bankruptcies have doubled in the past 10 year. Near 43% of American families spend more than they earn each year. Average households carry some $8,000 in credit card debt.
American consumers owed a grand total of $1.9773 trillion in October 2003 The number is up more than 41% from the $1.3999 trillion consumers owed in 1998.
Why are we Americans having so much debt and financial trouble?
First, we have more things to buy than any people in history.
Second, we have the greatest marketing in history. The Madison Avenue boys know how to make us buy products.
Third, we have easier credit than any people in history. Fast cash payday lenders loan 15 million people ever month, at an annual percentage rate (APR) of 300–400 percent, have also played a role. They seductively offer fast cash — at absurd interest rates — to 15 million people every month.
Fourth, gambling is seducing us out of our money. A household with income under $13,000 spends, on average, $645 a year on lottery tickets, about 9 percent of all income. Government, the people’s protector, is teaching them they don’t have to work, just buy a lottery ticket.
Fifth, this generation has not only removed the Ten Commandments from public display, but from its hearts—namely the commandment against covetousness. Scripture warns in Proverbs 22:7, “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
The church can play a major role in helping people out of the debt trap. They can preach against covetousness, teach financial programs like Crown Ministry, urge the financial world to enforce usury laws, stop targeting students with credit card offers and even set up a short-term loan program to replace the payday lenders.