According to Bloomberg.com, with the bailout of Citicorp, the US government has now pledged over $7.7 trillion of our money; this represents “half the value of everything produced in the nation last year.” This is also the equivalent, according to Mish Shedlock, of about $24,000 for every individual in this country.
Now, while it is true that some of this money is simply pledges and represents money that will never be spent, it is also true that the amount is growing every day—just today the government began to bailout bad credit card debt—and no one knows what the total bill will be before this is all finished. It is clear that, at some point, the government will have to renege on its pledges or lead us into a hyperinflationary spiral. In either case, we will be far worse off than if the government had never commenced its program of bailouts.
But, there is good news, and the good news lies in the teachings contained in the perennial spiritual wisdom: The good economic news for this Thanksgiving is that the solutions for our seemingly intractable economic problems begin in our minds and not in the world. Real relief is just a thought away.
If the real problem were in the world, the situation would indeed be hopeless. As a nation, we are hopelessly in debt; state government pension plans are rapidly becoming insolvent; infrastructure in our cities is crumbling; and special interest groups seem to have complete control of the government. Some look to the world for solutions, they believe that if they elect the perfect leader then he or she will lead them out of the wilderness. Beginning in January, these same people will begin to see that this belief is just a juvenile fantasy, aided and abetted by watching too many television shows portraying a hero riding to the rescue, as well as by their lack of critical thinking skills.
But the real problem is not in the world, the real problem is in our mind. Thus, A Course in Miracles says this: “As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world. Perception is a result and not a cause.”
Nightly on the pundit shows, there are those who claim to be philosophically and ethically opposed to bailouts, but at the same time support the bailouts as the lesser of two evils. They claim that without the bailouts the economy would suffer a deflationary depression. It is amusing and educational to listen to such nonsense. Never have these pundits been asked either of these two questions: “Can you name one time in your own life when violating your core philosophical and ethical principles led you to a happy ending?” or “If you are prepared to throw out your core philosophical and ethical principles, what principle(s) are you substituting in their place in order to evaluate which corporations and consumers get bailed out?”
In any case, their fundamental logic is warped. They claim that they must abandon their principles because of the current economic situation. In reality, they have switched cause and effect. The current economic situation exists because, collectively as a nation, we have abandoned our principles. Thus, the first step back on the road to recovery is to change our minds.
The great psychiatrist Thomas Hora observed this:
All problems in life are nothing else but certain invalid thoughts; all mankind is suffering from certain beliefs, and these beliefs create believers. The believers experience these beliefs. So, if you have a problem, you can know that this problem is not a person. It is not something concrete; it is always a thought, because the phenomenological world is just the outpicturing of a series of invalid thoughts. Whenever we have a problem, regardless of diagnosis, or the nature of the problem, it is nothing real; it is always a thought.
During this Thanksgiving week, we can be very grateful that the road to recovery begins in our minds and not in the world. How soon we choose to exercise our inherent freedom to realize this will go a long way to determine just how long-lasting and deep our national nightmare will be.