Contrary to what proponents of government largesse may think or say; swelling governmental control is not the answer to the ills of our current national malaise.
There is a sickness that the government of any nation has never and will never be able to fix. That condition is heart disorders. However, I am not referring to a cardiovascular medical illness. I am speaking of greed. Greed is a matter of the heart that is incurable by way of any type of government program. The following is a sample of what I mean.
In 2009 nearly 2,400 Americans who received unemployment insurance lived in households with an income of at least $1 million, according to the Congressional Research Service1. While there are legitimate qualifiers for the data, the irony is clear; how can Americans’ hard earned tax monies collected to help the poor end up in the hands of the wealthy?
I have chosen this statement from the Congressional Research Service because it highlights a critical weakness in the theory that big government is the answer to the challenges of unemployment and hunger, difficulties that our current administration assumes more government control and spending will solve. More control is the true motivation for their prognosis and the undoing of it.
Progressive leaning big government advocates would like to think that broader government dependency for the poor is the answer to such evils as greed but history clearly proves differently. Greed is frequently identified as the enemy of “the people” and of course more government and the resulting regulation is the answer. Yes, greed is truly wrong (the bible teaches as much). Wall Street and corporate America are replete with greedy executives making multi-million dollar salaries at the expense of the people.
We hear our current President talk a lot about rich people paying “their fair share” of taxes to fix the problem of “income inequality”. This line of thinking is not new but it has never worked. The idea that rich people are somehow evil for having more money than poor people is flawed. The thinking goes something like this; rich people are greedy so let’s make them pay, literally. A recent report by the Tax Policy Center shows that 20% of U.S. households which earned 53% of the total U.S. income in 2009 paid 67% of the taxes collected2. These stats are a more accurate definition of “unfair”. Having more money than someone else for whatever reason (successful business, self-employment, inheritance, etc.) is neither greedy nor unfair.
Capitalism has been criticized by statists for emboldening greediness. However, greed is not inherent to capitalism because a desire to acquire possessions, to a certain degree, is a part of human nature. Greed is when this desire becomes disproportionately stronger than moral considerations such as concern for others.
But is government taxation and regulation really the solution? Would it not be accurate to assert that there is corruption in government? Greed grows wherever there is a fertile heart. Clearly, any big government devotee who tries to make the case that government regulation cures greed is delusional. Greed will never be eradicated by the government. No amount of government intervention or regulation will cause a person to stop loving money.
The true cause of greed is found in 1 Timothy 6:10 which says, “For the love of money is a root of all evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.”
According to the original Greek, the verse is more accurately translated, “The root for all of evil: is the love of money.”3 While greed is in every sense of the word wrong, so is the idea that we can regulate that sin out of people. I apologize for repeating myself but the point must be driven home; government programs and regulations are not the answer.
Accusing people with a lot of money of being evil is a shallow assessment of the problem. To say that it is wrong to have more money than others who do not have enough does not propose a solution and the diagnosis is too subjective. Would it be $1,000.00 or $100,000.00 that makes a person evil? Letting our national leader or his advisers determine the amount of money at which greed has set in, is problematic to say the least.
Where money is involved, the thinking is that some have more than enough money and so they must pay their “fair share”. This would make things fairer because it would “spread the wealth around.” People giving to others because they value a set of moral absolutes is how the wealth gets spread around. In other words, ethical behavior is a choice not a law.
What is the answer to greed? It is found in Hebrews 13:5, “Be free from the love of money, content with such things as you have, for He (God) has said, ‘I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you.’”
Here we have God telling us that when we put our full faith and trust in Him for all we need, He will not leave us. He will provide what the love of money and the resulting greed seeks to usurp; peace and contentment.
Do you think it is a coincidence that our currency has the phrase “In God We Trust” imprinted on it? More importantly, there is a reason the phrase does not read “In Government We Trust”. The folly of government is believing it can cure a condition of the heart such as greed with laws and more control over people. Somebody call a doctor!
3. Interlinear Bible 1 Timothy 6:10