I try my best not to be an alarmist, but there’s a little part of me that worries – just a bit – about the what ifs. As the stock market continues to tumble and some of those in “the know” cry out concerning the impending apocalypse I can’t help but wonder, “what if we are facing another Great Depression?”

The fact remains that, from the national level all the way down to high school students, our society is drowning in debt. How is it that debt has become so acceptable? Whatever happened to “cash on the barrel?” We even have the county commission in Washington County going into debt with absolutely no way to pay it back. Is it just me or does this seem terribly, terribly wrong?

I fear that, even if we are not headed for another Great Depression, we are in for a rude awakening. The current “housing crunch” is only the tip of the iceberg. People who are buying beyond their means will have their comeuppance, and we will all suffer for it. We need, as a society, to stop living in debt.

If our government is going to be any sort of positive example, this means that we need to return to the gold standard. A country that thrives (at least for a little while) on debt will create a society of debtors, and this will lead to economic crises like the one we are now facing.

Will we go hungry before this is all over? I don’t know. But I believe that, in the end, we are going to learn that, in the words of Dave Ramsey, “debt is dumb.” Whether we learn that lesson the hard way or the easy way is up to us.