Americans: Get prepared for “standard-of-living shock”

You don’t see it until you get to the “C” section of the Wall Street Journal, but Kelly Evans’ “Ahead of the Tape” feature really grabbed my attention: “A Standard-of-Living Shock Is the Danger” (note: article is behind a pay wall).

The first sentence explains the most important fact: “The threat of inflation is real. It is just a different threat than many realize.”  That misunderstood threat is being driven by commodity prices, which, in turn, are driven more by emerging nations than by, as the article describes them, “rich-but-stagnating industrial nations” like the U.S.  The real danger is from standard-of-living shock, in which maintaining our current way of life becomes impossible.  To emphasize the point, Ms. Evans points out that median income for American men in 2009 was actually lower in real terms than it was in 1973.

As the article points out, America — meaning, its citizens: you and me — is not prepared for what all the technical signals out there indicate may be coming.  And what is coming? The last line of the article gives the sobering answer:

“The real risk is that the U.S. faces a poverty cycle rather than an inflationary one.”

Chilling, huh?  I truly don’t think our culture is even remotely prepared for such a possibility.  And our “leaders” seem to continue in either a state of denial or, perhaps, in a state of political paralysis, where the unpopularity of possible solutions make them “vote killers” and thus off the table for consideration.

Of course, the book of Revelation talks about a time when the prices of needed goods are incredibly high:

“When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, ‘Come and see.’ So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine'” (Revelation 6:5-6).

Also, as Dr. Douglas Winnail pointed out in our 2005 Tomorrow’s World article, “Coming: Resource Wars!” Bible prophecy warns of times when the fundamentals just aren’t available.  Consider these scriptures, referenced in the article:

“Has anything like this happened in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?… the day of the Lord is at hand… the field is wasted, the land mourns, the grain is ruined… the animals groan… the water brooks are dried up” (Joel 1:1–20).

“The earth mourns and fades away… the earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore the curse has devoured the earth” (Isaiah 24:4–6).

Notice the real cause: “[T]hey have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.”  (Read the whole article. Written five years ago, it is still frighteningly relevant.)

A standard-of-living shock is, indeed, coming, but not because of monetary policy or political wrangling.  The root cause will be sin: our nation’s sin and our general unwillingness to seek the God who is the source of real security and abundance — the God who “gives you power to get wealth” (Deut. 8:18).

And if national sin is the real cause, then national repentance is the only answer.

2 thoughts on “Americans: Get prepared for “standard-of-living shock”

  1. Hi Mr. Smith,

    I don’t know why I’m “liking” this one, save to say thanks for the forewarning. I really ought to look up the article in The Plain Truth in which the author gave a fictionalized “future history” of world events, including America’s “slow slide into national bankruptcy”. If I find it, I’ll let you know.

    On a tangent which I hope will help: The “everlasting covenant” that Isaiah mentions – which the whole world is breaking – surely can’t be the “Old Covenant”, for that was made specificaly with Israel and ended when Israel’s Husband died (cf. another prophecy in Isaiah). It can’t be the “New Covenant”, surely, for that has only been made with the Church at present. So what “covenant” do you think is meant? I’m not trying to ask a trick question here; I’d like to see if you’re thinking in the same direction I am. The Ten Commandments, surely are meant, for Moses calls them “His covenant” in Deuteronomy – but does the “everlasting covenant” stop there? What about the rest that the Ark of the Covenant represents symbolically?

  2. “Prepare to reduce your standard of living.” — One of the “four mandates” mentioned in a special issue of the old WCG Good News magazine, back around 1987.

    Some of us have been warned for a long time.

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