Three Cheers…The UK Is Broke!

Scanning the headlines, one easily becomes lost in trivia that passes for news. The meaningless vanity of Hollywood’s Oscar dog-and-pony-show tops the recent list. However, one important news item that caught my eye was actually “bad news” that left me cheering.

George Osborne, Great Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, made the politically incorrect but courageous announcement that his beloved country is broke.

“The British Government has run out of money because all the money was spent in the good years,” the Chancellor said in The Telegraph as he sent early warning signals ahead of the upcoming budget presentation to Parliament.

As I read those simple words that a four-year-old could understand, I was, well…. gob smacked! To you, Chancellor Osborne, I say, “Three cheers!”

Hip, Hip, Hooray! (#1)

Why am I so giddy over this seemingly horrible news? And why is this simple statement so important to you, dear reader? Let me count the ways.

First, the Chancellor of the Exchequer is a high-ranking position in the British Cabinet, on par with the Secretary of the Treasury in the U.S. This person reports directly to the Prime Minister. Mr. Osborne’s words were not the opinion of a media pundit or an Ivory Tower economist; this was an assessment from the person in charge of what has historically been called the “budget box.” The Chancellor of the Exchequer knows exactly what’s in the box; in this case—nothing.

Second, these plainspoken words are entirely appropriate for such a time as this. The first step in solving any problem is to admit that you have one. This level of honesty brings about hope that solutions can now be honestly addressed as well.

Finally, if you were making financial decisions at home, aware that you have no money, you could weigh your options and move with urgency to change your financial condition. The Chancellor’s admission that his government doesn’t have two pence to rub together similarly calls for immediate action.

But Mr. Osborne wasn’t finished. He not only identified the problem; he offered the solution. Responding to severe financial pressure to do something to boost economic growth amid fears that the U.K. is slipping back into recession, the Chancellor called for bold action:

“The money and the investment and the jobs need to come from the private sector. In other words, what we are not going to do in this Budget is borrow more money to either increase spending or cut taxes.”

Hip! Hip! Hooray! (#2)

Sanity may be returning to ranks of the British government.

Mr. Osborne’s assessment was echoed by Liberal Democrat Jeremy Browne, Britain’s foreign minister. He recently wrote in the Daily Telegraph that Britain’s once-dominant world market share is now in free fall compared to the soaring economies of Asia and South America. “This situation has been becoming more acute for years. It is now staring us in the face. So we need to take action.”

Mr. Browne called for immediate reform of government pensions, welfare and defense spending to prevent Britain’s bureaucracies from “collapsing under the weight of their own debt. Just because the spending was sometimes on worthy causes does not in itself mean it was affordable.”

While it seems that both sides of the political aisle in Britain believe that private sector activity is needed to grow the economy and create jobs, they disagree on how that is accomplished. Mr. Osborne’s critics seized the opportunity to accuse him of being insensitive and washing his hands of the responsibility to use the government’s resources to spur private sector growth.

The Chancellor’s stark appraisal of his country’s condition was also a shot across the bow of other European Union members. Mr. Osborne made it clear that he understands the limitations of Britain’s options. When you’re broke, you can’t bail out others who are broke. He stated that Britain would not be giving any extra funds to the International Monetary Fund to bailout other bankrupt EU countries.

Hip! Hip! Hooray! (#3)

So why is this important to you?

You and I live in a country where our government is in denial.

In 1992, Crown’s late cofounder, Larry Burkett, authored a best-selling book,The Coming Economic Earthquake.  Along with his warning that excessive spending and debt would carry the U.S. past a point of no return, Larry identified a dangerous weakness in America’s leaders:

“The one thing you can be certain of is that no one in the power structure of Washington will admit to any problems until the evidence is so overwhelming that it is obvious to all. It’s like we’re headed down the Niagara River in a powerless boat, and they still insist, ‘There is no problem. The sound you hear in the distance is not a waterfall. We promise!’”

The U.S. has been out of money for a very long time. Since World War II we’ve borrowed every year except eight to operate the federal government. We’ve been unable to admit we have a deadly addiction to spending more than we have.

But unlike the courageous Mr. Osborne, our leaders say we must continue spending money we don’t have to “stimulate the economy.” This can only be done by borrowing or turning on the printing presses. Many incorrectly view government—not the private sector—as the ultimate solution. This foolish thinking will one day cripple our economy.

The U.S. will soon face the same acute pain described by Jeremy Browne. Our day of reckoning will come when our creditors refuse to buy more government bonds. Then we’ll be left with only the printing presses, which will bring on hyperinflation. It’s bitter medicine, but the sooner the better. The more delay, the greater the pain.

Let us pray for more global leaders like George Osborne, both in Europe and the U.S., who will be willing to speak up and say that we can’t bail out others when we ourselves have nothing. Whether in the Queen’s English or good old American slang, “we’re broke” speaks volumes to those who need to hear it.

But why wait? Let’s get our personal houses in order starting right now. Even as our elected officials remain in denial and continue to sell us the “extend and pretend” approach, you can prepare for the troubled times ahead.

You won’t be able to say nobody warned you.

Chuck Bentley

P.S. Are you getting your house in order? Share your story in the comments below to encourage others by your example.

If you’d like information on how to get started, everything you need to know from a biblical and practical standpoint to prepare for the worst, get The S.A.L.T. Plan: How to Prepare for an Economic Crisis of Biblical Proportions.

About Chuck Bentley

CEO, Crown Mininstries
This entry was posted in Handwriting on the Wall. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Three Cheers…The UK Is Broke!

  1. joelolivencia says:

    “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32 (NKJV)

  2. hope64 says:

    Here’s our story: Married 23 years, had an average income of about $35K in all those years. We have 4 boys – two are teenagers – two are sill in grammar school. Six months after we married we dedicated ourselves to living WITHIN our means. We have zero debt, own our cars, and our home completely. We just bought our new home recently – with cash. It CAN be done! God has provided for us in ways that continue to amaze me daily. “Be not weary in well-doing!” Don’t compare yourselves to others. Pray about EVERYTHING! Stay in the race. Don’t give up.

  3. Jo Turner says:

    That’s why I liked Larry Burkett..he told it like it was! A good article Chuck. I’ve done some things to get our house in order. First of all, we do give and that’s very important. I paid off our house. It is small, but, at least we don’t have a mortgage or rent. I don’t use credit cards because I don’t trust myself to pay them off every month, and I don’t want to pay interest on top of interest. I rarely buy has a clothing bank with alot of nice clothes that members have donated..and they’re FREE! We don’t take expensive vacations. I have a chunk of money from my paychecks directly deposited into an online savings account to be used for car repairs, emergencies so I don’t have to resort to credit cards. I know I’m not saving enough and I don’t want to get complacent and rely on money because I want to trust in God first, but at least I have taken some steps to make it easier in financial hard times. Thanks Crown for your wonderful resources!

  4. JES says:

    Another great article full of wisdom. Thank you Chuck. I am working on getting my house in order and seeing the progress. I am in my mid 30’s and single. 2 years ago I had payements on a house, 2 cars, a boat, and 6k in card debt. I was barely getting by. Why do all that?, like Hope said, dont compare yourself to others, well I was. With the help of Crown and the Bible I started to find insight. I sold my boat, now my friends are always calling to ask if i want to fish with them. (Its great and a lot cheaper). No boat meant no pmt and repairs, less credit card debt, need for only one vehicle. I am now at the position of no credit card debt, a couple months and my vehicle will be paid off. Only payment will be my home. I now see the borrower is servant to the lender, and I dont like it. And my giving to the church, which wasnt happening before, is increasing! Over 10% now, and I love writing out those checks. Thank you Crown.

  5. Jeanne says:

    BAM! Straight talk from George and Chuck. It is refreshing. Thank you for this article!

  6. George B. Krumholz says:

    It’s not great that the UK is broke, but so are a lot States. Our family received Money Matters
    CD for windows 95/98/Me many years ago and have been using it ever since. With your help Crown our house is in order. We thank the Lord for all you have done.

  7. Dawn-Marie says:

    One major thing I’ve learned from Crown is that money is a resource. Just as time, water, air, etc. God calls us to be good stewards of every resource He has given us. Small steps truly make the difference. While it is wasteful to leave the water on while you brush your teeth and wasteful to spend all your time surfing the internet or playing games, it is also wasteful to foolishly spend money. Keeping a budget to help stay on track is wise and prayerfully consider the cost of each purchase. Is a $5 cup of coffee going to make your day better, or will your energy crash when the caffeine runs out? Maybe you have time for a brisk walk instead. Weigh your options before resorting to that credit card! Be thankful for every resource God has given.

  8. Michael Sibbel says:

    Currently I am a single person, and I have sacrificed, but it has all been worth it. I have been debt free since Dec. of 2003. It’s a GREAT feeling. I still owe on the house, but I am looking to have it paid off before the end of the year. I have enough ‘wiggle room’ in my income that I write my Tithe check once a month. I don’t know if many people do that (I think most write a new check with each paycheck). Writing a check for my tithe, and offerings is a GREAT feeling, and a feeling that lasts with you a whole lot longer than purchasing something–even if you were looking forward to purchasing it. I max out my contributions to my 401K, and max out my IRA every year. So I am being responsible for today, and as well as tomorrow. I am always looking to become an even better stewart of the Blessings God has given me.

  9. Walter Kubiak says:

    I am not drowning in debt,yet it seems I am not gaining ground.This is my own doing. I had car that ran ok, yet there was hardly any heat, so I went and bought a truck. I had poor credit so the intrest rate was high. My job was going well and I was making very good money. I could have swore that I heard a co-worker say to another guy that I now had a truck to pay for. I feel as if some sort of entrapment was used. So I asked the Lord that if I was with the Godless, to please get me out of there.Sure enough I was laid off. What should I do. Part of me feels I should sell the truck and the other part says wait and see what happens. I use the truck to get wood for my mom and I have two kids that need to get places. Yet I feel the lord is telling me to just let it go. I am searching for some good direction from some good people. I am sort of alone in the wilderness. I was crying, but my tears have dried up. I just do not know what to do for sure. I am also having some sort of mental illness problem. I feel my suffering is for a greater purpose and I know God has a purpose for me. I should be dead many times over.

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