Oracles of 1999

Okay. You want to read some seriously groan-worthy predictions?

How about this article written in August of 1999. Ten years ago. It starts out "For the first time in 25 years, the US Government plans to reduce the size of the national debt," and goes on to explain that if only the Democrats and Republicans "could stop squabbling" over record budget surplus and agree on "a number of complex issues that will need to be worked out" America could pay off its national debt at this rate:

Okay, wipe your eyes. I know, it isn't really that funny, considering the actual size of the national debt today.

Did you know our official debt clock ran out? Completely ran out of digits. They have to order a new model so we can watch as America racks up debt into the quadrillions.

Let me be the first to admit I know nothing about national–or international–fiscal policy.  I don't know who we owe or how much or what happens if we don't pay. But apparently Congress didn't know much about it back in 1999, either.

I don't care if there were unforseen circumstances–if crops failed, dot-cot bubbles burst, or some religious fanatic decided to fly four airplanes into our heartland.

Ever heard of saving for a rainy day?

Isn't that budget 101? Isn't paying off debt and saving a reserve one of the first things a young adult learns to do with his money? And America ain't that young anymore. 

The whole debt thing has me stumped, honestly. I don't understand how in a country as wealthy as ours–how in a world as bountiful as this, anyone is in debt, anyone starves, anyone goes without.

And don't start in about overpopulation–I don't buy it. You can show me all your figures and I can show you mine, but nothing you can say will convince me there are too many people on the earth today. You might be able to convince me there are too many ignorant, apathetic or just plain selfish people on the earth, but not too many people. 

There is enough land and there are enough resources–but somehow we're stuck in this tug of war over who gets what and how much and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Brings to mind the story of the loaves and the fishes. Over the years many skeptics have explained away the miracle–that the  Carpenter from Nazareth didn't make food out of nothing to feed the multitude–explaining that his charismatic personality was enough, that his teachings were inspiring enough, that the example of the young boy willing to share his lunch with five thousand people was enough to shame everyone else into doing the same.

Does it really matter? Whether you believe in a God of miracles or you believe in the generosity of the human spirit–this crowd of five thousand went from starving  to abundance with twelve baskets of fragments left over!

Call it whatever you like. Miracle or mass altruism–lets all sit down on the sea shore together and try to replicate it in the twenty-first century. 


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