Taylor: Like manna from Heaven

“You told us we were escaping from bondage." Now we are all free to get into debt up to our ears.

With Canadian Thanksgiving coming up this weekend, some biblical validation seemed appropriate. So here is a reading from Exodus, chapter 16:

The entire assembly complained about the leadership of Moses and his brother Aaron. They said, “Why did you lead us out of Egypt where McDonald’s was open 24/7, to bring us out to this wilderness where we will surely die of hunger?”

“Give us this day our daily burgers and fries,” they chanted.

So Moses said, “I will show you that all this was part of an intelligent design that leads to free market economics. Tomorrow morning, you will receive whatever you need.”

In the morning, when the dew lifted, the people found flat flaky things lying on the sands.

They said to one another, “What are these?”

Moses said to them, “These things are credit cards. You may use them to gather whatever you need for the needs of your household.”

The people gathered up credit cards by the handful.

And the people took their credit cards, and hiked through the canyons and wadis to Walmart and Target and the Great Canadian Superstore, and bought everything that they thought they could possibly need.

Now Moses had warned them, “Do not gather more food or clothing than you need for each day. Any treasure you lay up for yourselves will be corrupted by moth and rust.”

But the people didn’t listen. They stored their surplus goods in their tents, thinking they could sit back in their newly-acquired lounge chairs while the less fortunate had to make another trip to Costco. But when they got out their meat, it had maggots. Their cheese had grown mouldy. Their children had already outgrown their new running shoes.

So the people took their purchases back for a refund. But the store managers pointed out that Moses had warned them against purchasing more than they needed. “Sufficient unto the day is the weevil thereof,” the managers said, peering into sacks of spoiled oatmeal.

The people discovered that they had nothing left of their purchases. Except a negative credit balance, on which they were expected to pay 19.84 per cent annual interest.

“But if we can only buy enough for one day at a time,” the people protested, “how will we survive over statutory holidays and holiday weekends?”

So Moses established credit limits. To each family, he assigned a credit limit, sufficient to stock a refrigerator and freezer. But for special occasions when turkeys had to be ceremonially sacrificed, credit limits could be increased.

“Use your credit wisely,” Moses advised them. “For tomorrow the banks may change their policies, as they are entitled to do, at their discretion, without advising you, and you will be bound to minimum monthly payments on your debt forever and ever.”

“You told us we were escaping from bondage,” the people objected. “Once we were slaves in Egypt, and the Lord God led us out of Egypt to freedom.”

“Not to freedom,” Moses corrected them. “To the free market. Tyrants and pharaohs can no longer impose suffering upon you. Now you are free to get yourself into as much trouble as you want.”