Pat Robertson, as controversial a televangelist as he has been, ran for president of the United States in 1988 with a platform of a constitutional amendment for a balanced budget. America’s debt in 1988 totaled a “mere” 2.6 trillion dollars. One of his controversial presidential platforms was a call for the Year of Jubilee, a biblically historical reference that every 50 years, all debt was cancelled, all land went back to its original owner and all slaves were set free. Mr. Robertson stated that the Year of Jubilee would be a less harsh way to deal with depressions of capitalism for the United States.
His solution for the path he predicted would ultimately lead America to the precipice that we now face was a Year of Jubilee for America. The idea was such an anathema to our firm societal view of debt repayment that it branded him a marginal candidate and cost him the control of his media empire.
Eleven years ago, after 24 million petition signatures were gathered worldwide for debt relief, the World Bank and IMF participated in Jubilee 2000 and forgave debt of approximately $90 billion to 22 of the world’s poorest nations, freeing them from a form of indentured servitude. This foretelling of restructuring of world debt gave credence to Pat’s solution and vindicated his thoughts, but could not begin to support the idea that America might join the ranks of defaulting nations.
23 years after Mr. Robertson’s suggestion, America has a much different social psyche. While a few percent of our elite have prospered during the past 23 years, many of Americans have struggled. When Wall Street decimated much of the only vestige of the American Dream in which many Middle Americans could participate, home ownership, it changed the bargain between classes.
A great many Americans are now choosing to walk through the social stigma of bankruptcy and foreclosure and to self direct their own personal Year of Jubilee. If this social movement takes hold, a new “Pat Robertson” claiming America’s biblical right for a Year of Jubilee 2016 could gain the White House, defeating the financial defenses of our political structure, and catapulting America into a nation that considers default as a valid option. It is critical for our nation, that our political leadership presents a fiscally responsible budget, supports an economy that will provide jobs to all Americans, and restores confidence in the democratic and capitalistic contract that has been the basis of wealth distribution for our society.