Drollinger: Debt and Inflation Have a Spiritual Root Cause - Here's How to Stop the Downward Spiral


The brilliant economist Milton Friedman once said, “Inflation is just like alcoholism. In both cases, when you start drinking or when you start printing too much money, the good effects come first; the bad effects only come later.”

I like Friedman’s metaphor. The deleterious results of all undisciplined habits generally do not come to roost immediately. But as with every sinful addiction, the eventual decline that most assuredly comes is what Scripture means when it says, “and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23b). God’s law of sowing and reaping applies not only to individuals but also to nations (Hosea 8:7).

To live uprightly in a fallen world that is full of temptations takes great character and discipline — something that is difficult for individuals to achieve apart from the indwelling Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. Such understanding bespeaks the need for believers in office who possess great character and discipline, whose hands keep a tight rein on the taxpayers’ purse strings.

This study, “Debt, Money, and Inflation,” examines what Scripture says about the spiritual root cause of fiscal irresponsibility in an individual or a nation. The importance of this subject necessitates that public servants as well as the citizenry understand biblical precepts related to debt, money supply and inflation.

Back in the late 1970s, I had the honor of being a member of America’s Basketball World Cup team. As a preliminary to the actual World Cup in the Philippines, we competed in the Christopher Columbus Cup tournament in Buenos Aires. The tournament was about two weeks long, and during that short period of time, Argentina’s currency inflated 31 percent! Being from America, I’d never seen anything like that — nor do I ever hope to again!

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Another glaring historical example occurred after World War I in Germany, where wives commonly met their husbands at the factory gate during lunchtime in order to get and spend the paycheck before evening, when it would be worth less because of hyperinflation.

Governments cause inflation when they increase the money supply at a much greater rate than the growth of the gross domestic product. As Friedman observed, increasing the money supply is like alcoholism; all gluttonous activity seems pleasurable in the beginning. But then reality sets in — and few are those who possess the willpower to quit cold turkey.

Debt is rooted in a love for money. 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Just as a personal credit card makes it relatively easy to go into debt by spending money not yet earned, the printing press at the Treasury offers the same temptation.

Our nation is in an increasing stupor as we mainline entitlement and its newly emerging rhapsodic twin, “health care.” But after the party, we will soon hear the jarring knock of Mr. N. Flation.

Are you noticing the effects of inflation?

Throughout history, this guy has always had a nose for sniffing out those who are strung out on entitlement. You can bet he will take us all to his famous clinic, and no, my friend, it’s not in Malibu; it’s in the outskirts of the Mojave. It’s not a posh coastal mansion overlooking the Pacific. In fact, it’s in shambles, and emblazoned over the front door, written in a font called “Mockingbird Bold,” is a blinking neon sign that reads: The Trillionaire Club! There we’ll all attempt to dry out and awaken to reality.

“Government provider” is a title and role assigned to it by biblically naïve or intentionally biblically disobedient political leaders.

To define government in a secular, provisional way is to head down a path of greater and greater debt accrual and eventual insolvency. To think that government exists to provide for the people is to think in ways that are ultimately unsustainable, injurious and uncompassionate to everyone.

In an attempt to secure votes in the next election, public servants must never give in to this base personal motive, one that both the public servants and those they represent harbor in their sin-laden, fallen nature.

For public servants to stoop to a transactional relationship with their constituency is, in the long run, to pierce the nation with the grief of national debt. The unchecked manifestation of a love for votes and a love for money will ruin any nation!

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Such self-serving character and ensuing debt are trends commensurate with increasing secularization.

President John Adams was correct when he assessed the Achilles heel of our radically new form of representative government: “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Only religious people who are first capable of governing themselves — disciplining their own sinful, gluttonous predilections — can sustain a representative form of government. This is why serious participation by public servants in in-depth Bible study at all levels of government is essential for our nation!

As America slides away from a love for God and his biblical precepts that define government’s role from a heavenly perspective, an unchecked lust for money and the ensuing desire for the state as a provider rush into that vacuum.

Our nation’s fiscal calamity is a spiritual problem. The root cause can only be remedied by an alternative inner satisfaction — greed and want to be replaced by contentment in Christ. Such is the product of conversion to Christ and a life of habitual Bible study and devotion. Such behavior reflects God’s precepts, accompanied by much prayer and repentance.

This action must occur to effectively curtail the economic calamity that otherwise awaits America. Pray for national revival. These biblical guidelines need to serve the conscience of the public servant in his or her quest for fiscal reform of our great nation.

To speak prophetically (in a forth-telling, not a foretelling manner), our nation is on the brink of disaster. Should we fail to enact legislation that demands a balanced budget, runaway debt will eventually lead to hyperinflation, drastically changing America forever. This downward spiral could occur virtually unannounced if other countries suddenly begin to jettison the U.S. dollar as their reserve of choice. This nation is walking on thin ice.

On a more individual note, only a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can fill the void in the heart of the public servant and his or her constituents. Without Christ, the vacuum in man will seek to satisfy its lust for votes and its lust for money.

When did a congressman last say to his constituents, “We can’t afford that right now”? Unchecked by the cross of Christ, these base passions lead to debt, an increased money supply and inevitable inflation. This sequence leads to the loss of a nation. Click here to read the full study.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Ralph Drollinger, president and founder of Capitol Ministries, leads three Bible studies with political leaders every week. One on the Hill for U.S. senators and one for representatives, plus a weekly remote Bible study for state governors, former governors, and former White House Cabinet members and senior staff. Learn more at

Drollinger played basketball at UCLA under coach John Wooden and was the first player in NCAA history to go to the Final Four four times. Drollinger was taken in the NBA draft three times but chose to forgo the NBA to play with Athletes in Action, an evangelistic basketball team that toured the world and preached the gospel at halftime. Drollinger signed with the Dallas Mavericks in 1980 as a free agent, becoming the first Maverick in the history of the franchise.