Have You Ever Wondered—
Will the Rising Cost of Living Ever End?
IF YOU were asked what you felt was the most important problem facing the country, how would you answer? Well, in a recent poll almost half the people questioned in one Western land said: ‘The high cost of living.’
But concern over rising prices is not limited to just one country. Every nation in the world is affected by the higher cost of things.
HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOU?
Whatever money you have is now buying less and less of the things you need. For instance, consider just four of the many items for which you spend money.
FOOD: In many places prices have skyrocketed to the point that, as one angry shopper said: “It is getting so that we can’t afford to eat.” In some areas it has reached the condition foretold in the Bible: “A whole day’s wage for a loaf of bread.”—Rev. 6:6, Weymouth’s translation.
CLOTHING: As an example, one nation reports a 50-percent increase in prices during the past five years. In other places, it was even higher.
MEDICAL CARE: Many persons face financial disaster if they need hospital care, as some hospitals charge hundreds of dollars per day for a room!
TAXES: ‘I just sat down and cried,’ said one homeowner whose taxes on her home had doubled in a single year! She could no longer afford to own her house, as these taxes alone represented over one fourth of her take-home pay. This woman is not alone. No doubt you have seen an increasing amount of your paycheck go for various taxes. Frequently, the tax bite represents a third or more of what people spend. In Sweden it’s over half!
WHY DO PRICES KEEP RISING?
Some reasons given by experts are: Sharp increases in oil prices. Shortages of supplies. Excess spending through debt on the part of people and governments. The reasons are varied and complex.
However, the Bible clearly identifies one of the basic causes. It says: “When the wicked are in authority [as rulers] the people groan.” (Prov. 29:2, Lamsa) It is obvious that people are ‘groaning’ under heavy financial pressures. But is the Bible right in blaming those in authority?
For one thing, it is widely known that some governments will destroy truckloads of food to keep prices up. Also, in areas where the cost of food is so high that millions are hungry, political strife often prevents the distribution of food abundant elsewhere.
Though some tax money is used for beneficial services, much of it goes for war weapons. Military expenditures are now costing the world almost one million dollars a minute! “The burden of paying for these weapons,” says one authority, “falls to individuals in the form of increasingly heavy taxes.” In some countries arms spending averages out to as much as $468 (U.S.) per person annually. Think what you could do if you were relieved of an expense of $468 for each member of your family every year!
There is also another reason for the rising cost of living. The Bible foretold concerning a period called the “last days”: “People will be selfish, [and] greedy.” (2 Tim. 3:1, 2, Good News Bible) Doesn’t that sound like many people today? Haven’t you seen prices raised due to greed? Of course, some have to raise prices because of increasing costs, but with others, greed is the controlling factor.
HOW CAN WE CUT SOME EXPENSES?
FOOD: Buy fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season. Eat less meat. Look for advertised food specials in newspapers. Or, better yet, if you have even a few square meters of land, why not grow some of your own food? The savings are worth it.
CLOTHING: Whenever possible, shop at ‘cash and carry’ stores. Experts say this can save 25 percent or more. Also, by learning to sew and making your family’s clothing you can save from 35 to 50 percent of the store price. If you want to learn how, you may find that one of your friends will be happy to teach you. Oftentimes, in the case of children’s clothing, starting a program of swapping hand-me-downs with relatives and neighbors helps.
MEDICAL CARE: Avoiding bad habits such as smoking, heavy drinking of alcoholic beverages, immoderate eating and immoral associations can do wonders for health, and this can help you to avoid major hospital bills. Also, eat wholesome food and get proper sleep and exercise. It’s cheaper than doctor bills!
TAXES: Are you familiar with what the law allows as deductions and exemptions? Often professional help to find out is worth the expense.
However, despite what you do to cope with the rising cost of living, greedy persons and oppressive governments are not likely to change.
WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
The Bible reveals that God will act, and soon. He will use his heavenly government, his kingdom, to destroy oppressive governments and greedy persons.—Dan. 2:44.
God’s government will truly care for its subjects. Psalm 72 describes the rule of Solomon and uses it as a pattern of the rule of God’s appointed king over all the earth. It says that he will free the poor and needy from oppression and bring righteousness to the earth. This will eliminate nationalistic divisions, which contribute to today’s rising prices. There will then be an abundance of food and no one will lack necessities. With peace earth wide, gone will be the crushing burden of war. Under this rule even sickness will be permanently eliminated. What a relief that will bring!—Ps. 46:8, 9; 72:1, 4, 12-16; Rev. 21:3, 4.
The Bible also tells that such blessings are very near. Jehovah’s Witnesses will be glad to show this to you in your Bible and aid you to build a genuine hope for the future.
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COST OF LIVING