Things that go Bump in the Night

The growth in [U.S.] federal debt is a bipartisan effort. The public still trusts the government. Voters say they don’t trust the government, but they do. They trust the government sufficiently to become creditors to the government. They pay into Social Security and Medicare. They really do believe they are going to get paid. They retire at age 62. They do so because they trust the Social Security and Medicare systems.

This trust is going to be betrayed. When that happens, there is going to be a reconsideration of what constitutes legitimate civil government.

The millennials may favor socialism. They don’t know what socialism is. They don’t believe that socialism produces something like the Venezuelan economy. They think they can get something free from the government at the expense of the rich. They believed this for 150 years. It has never worked.

The voters are going to figure out at some point that they cannot trust either political party. For as long as the federal checks keep coming, they go along with the deception. They want to be deceived. Self-deception is at the foundation of politics all over the West.

The Democrats will campaign on this platform in 2020: an increase in taxation of the rich and increased benefits from the federal government for people under age 62. They have always promised this. But the rich never wind up paying their supposed fair share of the tax burden. Therefore, lenders come in to do it for them. The lenders are going to lose. Our grandchildren will see to it. Our children will probably see to it.


Lying prices are the basis of all Western economies. The voters want this. They elect politicians who continue to lie to them, especially with respect to debts and liabilities. Those are become dependent upon the federal government for their lifestyles will learn to rue the day. In the meantime, the debt increases, the freebies from the government increase, the rhetoric of the socialists increases, the rhetoric of party leaders increases, and very little changes at the center. It’s all smoke and mirrors. It really is a Punch and Judy show.[1]

Christians have to realise that grand government promises never amount to anything. A promise is not a performance. Like the bubbles in a bath, they inevitably go down the gurgler with the dirty water. This always leads to the disillusionment that comes from broken political promises: always painful for the foolish trusting voters, but it’s what they really need.

Governments make promises they can’t fulfill. They treat us like we’re fools, and in the main we actually are, because we keep voting for them, and they keep doing it. The Romans wanted bread and circuses from their governments. They got them, for a while. But then the deceit, corruption and instability of the system got the better of them, and like Humpty Dumpty, it all came crashing down. The Empire collapsed.

Is it much different today? Not really.

Christians have to begin to think “ahead of the game.” If things cannot continue as they are, they will come to a halt. And if they come to a halt, what then?

This could lead to a number of social crises. It will be a huge challenge for believers and the church, but a huge opportunity as well. It will be a huge opportunity for Christians in the church to take personal responsibility for some of the mess we are in, and to lead the way out of it.

This will be slow, painful and essential. It will be less painful for those who prepare for it. How can we prepare?

Firstly, begin to set aside some monies for hard times. Would you have cash reserves if there were a severe economic downturn?  How would your household budget survive, if you had 6 months out of work?

Secondly, what are you doing to ensure that at your place of employment, you are considered one of the most essential employees? Would your boss decide he really needs you, when he has to engage in cost cutting, just to stay in business? Make every effort to position yourself for survival, by accepting the tasks no one else really wants, and succeed at getting them done.

If you are self-employed, treat your customers or clients as if they were gold. You will need their business in years to come. The time to ensure you are winning them, is now. How do you do this? With a willing attitude, good service and competitive pricing. Always provide what you said you’d provide, when you said you’d do it. You want them coming back to you in tough times.

Thirdly, get out of debt, wherever possible. Restrict credit card use to the things you really do need, that you can pay for without interest, and work hard now, at paying off all other debts.

Look at these graphs of household debt in the last decade, from four representative countries around the West.[2]

Americans learned their lesson.

Canadians did not.

Germans really learned their lesson.

Australians did not.

Fourth, adopt an austerity philosophy. If you could get by without a new car or other high ticket item for another couple of years, start saving for it, now. It will be cheaper in two years from now, and if you buy it 2nd hand, you avoid all that loss of depreciation. There is hardly a soul on the planet who actually needs a brand new car, as opposed to one two years old. Depreciation is a killer on new cars.

All of these are sensible, defensive strategies for believers to engage in. But there are positive, aggressive strategies, too. When Christians understand the opportunities these economic crises can and will lead to in the church, they can embark together on opportunities for Christian charitable service, firstly for believers, then for the general community. (My 13 part series on this, “The Bible and Welfare,” is available on this site.) Paul speaks of this priority:

So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith (Gal.6:10).


Things really are going to go bump in the night. Government promises to provide are going to prove empty, at some point. Disillusioned people who thought otherwise, are going to need a lot of help.

Who can provide? This will mean there are lots of opportunities for Christians to show that the gospel truly is good news.

This will require the time, money and inconvenience of Christian individuals, families, and churches, because you can’t get something for nothing. Are you ready to participate? You’ll surely be needed. Start clearing the decks for action. The big waves will be coming, soon.

[1] Gary North (, “The Silver Lining of a Growing Federal Debt,” 11/1/2019.

[2] Gary North (, “Consumer Debt: Not an American Monopoly,” 23/1/2019.