So how much is $100 trillion?

So how much is $100 trillion?  In an interview this week, Bill Gross, head of Pimco (an investment firm that, according to CNBC, “manages $1.2 trillion in assets and runs the largest bond fund in the world”), suggested that “the US is actually in worse financial shape than Greece and other debt-laden European countries” (www.cnbc.com/id/43378973/). While the media have focused on our national debt of $14.3 trillion, little is being said about entitlement monies guaranteed to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security (close to another $50 trillion), or about the debts the government incurred bailing out the financial system after the 2008 and 2009 crisis. Pull all that together, Gross maintains, and the money the government owes is “nearly $100 trillion.” Even if his numbers, based on government figures and estimates, are on the high side—the truth of the matter is that $100 trillion (or any amount of debt close to it) is enough to sink the most robust of economies. And “robust” our economy is not! Just like Greece.

So perhaps Bob Rodriguez will get more air time this time around. A friend of mine, an executive in the insurance industry, sent me a piece CNN ran on Rodriguez last week (www.finance.fortune.cnn.com/2011/06/06/bob-rodriguez . . .). Here’s how it opens: “He’s the mutual fund manager with the best record in the past quarter-century, and he correctly predicted the last two stock market crashes. So why aren’t people listening when Bob Rodriguez says another calamity is looming?” Rodriguez is CEO of a $16 billion money management firm First Pacific Advisors. So accurate were his two previous crash predictions that Barron’s magazine called him a “prophet,” Wall Street Journal declared him one of the “doomsayers who got it right,” and MarketWatch labeled him one of the “four horsemen of the market.” CNN’s online piece goes on: “His new prophecy: If we don’t fix the budget—soon—the economy faces disaster. ‘I believe that within two to five years we’ll have a crisis of equal or greater magnitude of what we just went through’ he says. ‘And it will emanate from the federal level.’”

But why bother with the mounting financial warnings imbedded in our global headlines? Because we are an apocalyptic community of faith—and our mission is inextricably bound to the imminent return of Christ. The more serious the crisis earth is facing, the more earnest must become our witness to the Savior and our appeal to come to him while there is yet time. Wouldn’t it be the height of tragedy if the community assigned this mission were duped by the mirage of economic security?

No wonder the Apocalypse warns: “And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn . . . for no one buys their merchandise anymore: . . ‘The fruit that your soul longed for has gone from you, and all the things which are rich and splendid have gone from you, and you shall find them no more at all. . . . For in one hour such great riches came to nothing’” (Revelation 18:11, 14, 17). Trillions of earth’s fortune gone overnight. That isn’t the prediction of Bill Gross or Bob Rodriguez. It is the warning of God to a generation on the eve of Christ’s return. “In one hour” our economic house of cards is prophesied to collapse.

$100 trillion? Chump change really, when your heart is set on eternity. Which, come to think of it, is the only safe haven left for our meager holdings here below. Isn’t it?

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