Joe lived on a street with nineteen other people. These nineteen people were all very unhealthy. They only ate things that were fried, and their couches had permanent indentations proving that exercise was not a regular habit for them.
Every morning, Joe would wake up and go for a run in the cool morning breeze. It was his way of energizing himself- waking up and embracing the challenge and joy of a new day. Deep breaths of cool, fresh air, a light sweat, the thrill of blood moving glibly through his veins- he loved it. If ever one of his neighbors happened to be outside (which, of course, wasn't often) he would greet them with a cheery “Good Morning!”
The nineteen other people on the street hated Joe. Every morning, as he ran past their living-room windows, it reminded them of how unhealthy they were. Soon enough, they decided to do something.
Joe's neighbors complained to the government. They marched up and down the street (well, they would have marched if they could have) waving signs that said “We are the 95%”. They sent letters saying, “save us, government, from this cruel man who takes care of himself without thinking about the rest of us who are so miserably unhealthy!”
The government, of course, was eager to oblige. The government loves helping their people. The government cares.
So the “Health and Wellness for Everyone Act” was passed. The government decided that, in the interest of helping people, the very healthiest people in the nation would have to give some of their health to people who weren't so well off. This would make life better for everyone!
Now Joe, of course, kept on exercising and eating well. But he noticed that he was no longer improving at his workouts. His runs became more difficult every morning. Soon, he was barely able to pant past his neighbors' houses. They all laughed at him. They weren't actually feeling much better, but at least he wasn't feeling better than they were.
Joe was heartbroken. No matter how hard he tried, he only got in worse shape. Finally, he gave up. He joined his neighbors in the ranks of the couch-potatoes. He traded in his kale chips for corn chips.
Soon enough, the health of the neighborhood deteriorated to worse than it had ever been before. Eventually, everyone died of heart attacks. And the government continued to help people happily ever after.
Government cannot produce any wealth of actual substantial value. By its very nature, government exists on the industry of others- real producers of wealth.
When we consider, then, the state of the economy, we need to remember that creating more government jobs actually only extracts more from the national economy.
There are two ways to pay for a government expense: the first is by direct taxation, which should only be done to fund Scriptural and Constitutional programs. The second is by indirect taxation- inflation, which is always theft. It waters down the national money supply, and devalues the wealth of the people of the nation.
Free money from the government is an illusion, for two reasons- first, what the government pays for, it likes to think that it owns. Second, the government is getting that money somewhere- either someone earned it, and the government took it, or the government printed it, thereby stealing it from the national economy as a whole.
So when the government pays welfare checks, medicare, unemployment, or anything else, what is actually happening is that the federal government is transferring money from one American to another American- by force. In effect, it's stealing from Joe to give to his neighbor.
When this happens, it destroys the incentive to productivity.
The incentive to productivity.
To say it a different way, when the government takes from the rich to give to the poor, it subsidizes poverty.
Many a sign in a park warns visitors not to feed the animals- or they might not learn to feed themselves. The same holds true of people.
Scripture says that “the worker's appetite works for him, for his hunger urges him on.” When the choices are work, steal, or starve, work seems like the best option. There is a strong incentive- hunger- that causes people to want to work. But when the choices are work, let the government steal for you, or starve, suddenly the path of least resistance leads right over our fellow Americans.
And we don't care.
The objection may arise:
“But taking 30% or even 50% or 70% of a rich guy's millions of dollars will still leave him with plenty enough to survive on.”
True, but taking 100% of that rich guy's millions of dollars will not be enough for the consumers to survive on.
We're $16T in debt. How's that take-from-the-rich-to-fund-our-programs working for you?
More importantly, though, is the fact that suddenly we've given ourselves the authority to decide who has made too much- who it is right to steal from- who we bleed to keep the rest of us going.
Where did we get the right to take 30%, or even 20% of his income, when we aren't willing to pay the same amount?
By what standard is that OK?
The final thing I want to address is the idea that- well, hey, you're supposed to be a Christian! The Bible would want the rich guy to give to the poor, right?
Absolutely. The Bible also says “Thou shalt not steal.” We don't have the right to take from Joe. If he wants to give, fine, but stealing from him in order to satiate our arbitrary goal of “fairness” is, quite simply, wrong.
The socialistic view of prosperity is unsustainable. When 50% of your city is on welfare, as I've heard is the case where I live, that means that half of the people are living off of the labor of others. Add to that the number of government employees, and the picture becomes frighteningly lopsided.
The path that we are on is unsustainable. If we do not have a major, major repentance in our country, we must collapse. Our economy is beyond the point of bandages. $16T in debt should shock every American. It's coming, folks. Atlas is shrugging. As far as I can see, we have three options.
We can pretend like it's all not real- call it a conspiracy theory- trust that the tree that our forefathers planted will continue to shade us even though we are no longer willing to water it- and wake up homeless and enslaved in the nation that stands among all the earth as the last bastion of Christianity, prosperity, and freedom.
We can repent and reform, cry out to God like Nineveh did, turn from our wicked ways, stop with the games and the politicking, and maybe- just maybe- pull our nation back from the brink.
Or we can take cover and hope that after the facade comes crashing down there will be a remnant left to pick up the pieces.
But until we pay the piper, there can be no happily ever after.