Jerry Newcombe’s article below explains the negative implications of government interference in the economy. Subsidies disrupt the economy at many levels and often cripple the people they are meant to help.
Anyone familiar with government wealth transfer legislation that has been designed to help the poor knows that when something is subsidized you get more of it. There have been multiple generations of impoverished families. Since the War on Poverty in the 1960s, we have had more people subsidized by the State. There is nothing in the Bible that says that a civil government should be involved in wealth confiscation to help anyone. Legislation is written in such a way that intact families are a financial liability to receive government aid. A woman gets more money if the father is absent and if she has more children. It’s no wonder that out-of-wedlock births have skyrocketed.
The Bible mentions helping the poor but not without qualifications. Consider charity:
Charitable loans are part of God’s program to provide help to honest, covenant-keeping people who have fallen on hard times. These loans are not supposed to subsidize sloth or evil. God does not want us to subsidize evil with the money or assets that He has provided for us. In this sense, biblical charity is necessarily morally conditional. Biblical charity is never a judicially automatic “entitlement,” to use the terminology of the modern welfare State: a compulsory redistribution of wealth from the successful to the unsuccessful (minus approximately 50% for “handling” by government bureaucrats). It is this element of covenantal conditionality which distinguishes biblical charity from humanist compulsion. (Gary North, Leviticus: An Economic Commentary, 482–483.)
No law in the Bible authorizes civil governments to take money from some people so it can be given to other people in the name of a nebulous social justice narrative. Nothing is said about people like Abraham, Job, or Joseph of Arimathea (Matt. 27:57) who were rich. What about the rich young ruler? Jerry Bowyer, author of The Maker Versus the Takers: What Jesus Really said About Social Justice and Economics, writes the following about Jesus’ encounter with the Rich Young Ruler (archon):
An “archon” [ruler] is a member of a government council, in this case that most likely means that he was a member of the Sanhedrin, which was a center of political, religious and financial power. Sanhedrin seats were occupied by wealthy and influential families, priestly and pharisaical. Seats were often inherited.
It’s most likely that this ruler accumulated his great wealth by political maleficence — by defrauding people (Mark 10:19). Let’s not forget Zacchaeus the tax collector who embraced Jesus and paid back those he defrauded four times as much in restitution (Luke 19:1–10). James pronounces judgment on the rich, not by calling on the government to redistribute wealth but because of the violation of God’s law (James 5:1–6).
What we are seeing today is additional government interference that is making it easier for some people not to work, and as Jerry Newcombe points out, it’s hurting many sectors of the economy and the people who are taking advantage of other people’s money. –Gary DeMar
With another Labor Day come and gone, it’s fascinating to note that America’s work ethic is in trouble today. And the coronavirus has made it worse.
We now have a labor shortage crisis. Columnist Victor Davis Hanson describes some of the symptoms of our current labor shortages: “Airliners cannot take off due to fuel shortages. Automobiles, houses, gas, and lumber are in short supply. Consumers can’t get their roofs fixed, their houses painted or their trees trimmed, as employers plead with their idle, government-subsidized employees to come back to work.”
And he adds: “In a rebounding economy amid record debt, the government is still sending workers unemployment benefits that are more remunerative than the paychecks they would earn if employed.”
Consider a few of these examples of the work (or lack thereof) crisis in our time:
• A headline from finance.yahoo.com (9/2/21) declares, “Half of U.S. Small Businesses Have Unfilled Positions.”
• Bloomberg (8.25.21) reports: “Thousands of cities, towns and states across the U.S. are facing the most acute labor shortage in recent memory. Regional governments have an even tougher time than businesses because they can’t compete with private-sector wages, can rarely offer remote work and they’ve faced a larger wave of early retirements during the pandemic.”
• “Inmates are running wild on Rikers Island amid an ongoing staffing crunch that’s left charges free to stab each other, answer the phones and run through corridors destroying maintenance equipment,” reports the New York Post (8/23/21).
• “Some of the largest U.S. food distributors are reporting difficulties in fulfilling orders as a lack of workers weighs on the supply chain,” notes finance.yahoo.com (8/24/21).
• In the spring, we learned of a McDonald’s offering $50.00 for potential employees just to show up for an interview.
• In July, there was the story of a Burger King in Lincoln, Nebraska, which had a sign declaring: “We all quit. Sorry for the inconvenience.” Well, “have it your way,” I guess.
Even Chick-fil-A, a company built on a Christian work ethic, has had some staffing troubles lately — at least in the case of two Alabama outlets that had to close because of staffing shortages. Fox5 New York adds: “While restaurants across the country have reopened their dining rooms after closing them due to the pandemic, a new problem has surfaced: Many businesses have reported having issues with staffing and are struggling to hire enough workers to meet the customers’ needs.”
Because of the shutdown in reaction to the pandemic, many former workers received unemployment benefits. But some states have ended those payments — prematurely, say the beneficiaries. Recipients of unemployment benefits in 15 states are suing their state to renew those benefits, observes yahoo.com/money.
And on it goes. I suppose if there is any bright spot in our labor crisis today it is that some people leaving the workforce are doing so to spend more time with their families.
America’s work ethic was waning long before the COVID-19 pandemic. Historically, the Protestant work ethic in America helped lead to great prosperity.
The work ethic has declined in part because of the decline of Christianity in our culture and the push for socialism. Socialism constantly undermines the work ethic by rewarding inactivity and failing to reward those who work particularly hard or well.
The founders of America did not agree with socialist principles, and they laid the framework for a country with unparalleled prosperity.
Part of the way they did this was by stressing smaller government. In his First Inaugural Address, President Thomas Jefferson said, “a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”
The government has no money of its own. So whatever money the government spends for Citizen A, it has to take from Citizen B.
There is no such thing as a free lunch — someone has to pay for that lunch.
God has given each of us a unique set of talents and skillsets. What a joy it is to put those into practice as a vocation or as an avocation for His glory and others’ good. And He will hold us accountable for our putting these things into practice.
Through the ages, the words of Paul the Apostle have inspired millions to work hard “as unto the Lord,” knowing that He will reward us. He also said that if someone refuses to work “neither shall he eat.”
An anonymous saying adds insight here: “Some people fail to recognize opportunity because it so often comes to them in overalls and looks like work.”
It’s time for America to get back to work.
God vs. Socialism
Socialists believe that private property is a bad idea, and that governments should own most or all property and distribute it as government experts, scientists, politicians, or voters see fit. Fundamental conflict separates the rival religious systems of private property and socialism. Choosing one, you reject the other. Either God commands and judges man, or man commands and judges man.