Spending isn’t our government’s biggest problem


All the predictions are that the Republicans will win a majority in the House and Senate this coming November or at least will get very close to a majority. The biggest reason is that government spending is simply out of control and has been for over a decade now. With government spending comes government intrusion – more government programs means more accountability to the Federal Government required from the average citizen, while less accountability from the government to the people. Thus, multiple people are starting to feel “conservative” and are deciding to vote for people they believe will cut spending.

But is spending the biggest problem facing our nation right now? Should we “guard the change” as our President has asked, or should we change the guard? The problem is, no matter who you elect into office, while the problem of spending might subside, the problems of our government will only continue perpetually.

The reason is our government would lack a moral base for their claims. Right now, the call against spending is that it leads to debt, which cripples the nation’s economy. In other words, we’re against spending because we’re pragmatic; we want to protect our self-interest and care nothing for others. But the failure on the right to recognize that spending is a moral problem and that poverty is a symptom of the moral problem indicates that the right doesn’t truly understand the biggest problem facing our nation; we are a society without morals.

In the recent health care debate the left wanted to place everyone under healthcare, whether they could afford it or not, so everyone would be equal in their treatment. Of course, as other nations have shown us, while such a system makes us equal, that equality is generally a lowered version of what is available. At the same time, the people on the right showed little to no regard to those who worked 50 hours a week, but still couldn’t afford healthcare. “Get a better job” was the battle-cry of conservatives. Morally, neither side made sense. On the left, it is unethical to take away a person’s freedom to earn income or his ability to gain better healthcare. In our society, capital is a way to experience your freedom, so when capital is limited due to excess taxes you are in essence limiting a person’s freedom. On the right, it is unethical to simply cast the poor aside and let the best rise to the top. While the conservative movement is composed of many Christians, many of them have adopted a Darwinian view of society, claiming that only the fittest (the richest) get the best healthcare. From a moralist perspective, it would have made far more sense to reform healthcare to make private healthcare cheaper and also offered a public grant fund for those who could not afford healthcare; a person would pay what he could afford and public funds would cover the rest (which would also encourage a reduction in the cost of medical equipment, one would hope).

Notice how the rallying cry of conservatives isn’t rally all that conservative. Few of them want to deal with abortion. Few of them want to correct the social problems plaguing the US. Rather, they fall in step along party lines and unfortunately the same can be said for liberals. On the immigration issue conservatives want to put up a wall while liberals want open borders; neither side can reach a compromise because there’s a distinct lack of thinking in our government today. But the lack of thinking stems from a lack of morals; we do what is pragmatic and what helps us achieve our goals, but we never check to see if our ends and means to those ends are moral. Mostly because we don’t care.

We may elect people who can curb the spending of the federal government, but this won’t solve much in American society or in our government. Until our society and government align their ends and goals with virtue, there will be little to no positive change. Until we ask, “Is this the right thing to do?” rather than, “Will this help in my election/re-election,” our government will remain corrupt and bankrupt. They might turn the economy around, but they still still be bankrupt in morals, which only bankrupts a society and leads to its destruction.

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One thought on “Spending isn’t our government’s biggest problem

  1. Hi Joel,

    I have seen you post on topics like this many times and I know that this is a topic that you have taken a strong interest in. You are correct when you say that no one seems to have a strong scriptural perspective when addressing the problems this country currently faces. I would also like to say that I have fallen short of the expectations that scripture puts on me in this area (actually I have fallen short in all areas but that’s not the point).

    I do understand that those who want to government to provide a social “safety net” are trying to be kind and charitable to those in need. Of course kindness and charity are personal attributes and no government can ever be kind or charitable. On the other hand those who fight against many of these programs want to see personal accountability taken by those who receive the benefits (the poor can take advantage too). Of course this can be taken to the point where people are not helped that should be helped.

    The only model we Christians have of how a nation should handle this is ancient Israel. I know that they were a Theocracy and we aren’t. In fact I will grant that there are very many differences between now and then but I don’t see why those differences make God’s system for Israel irrelevant. His approach should be at least instructive should it not?

    I know that there were rules in place in the Mosaic Law that required farmers not to harvest the edges of their fields so that the poor could harvest their own food. The farmers had to share their harvest but, by the same token, the poor still had to work for their food.

    When I saw your post I did some searching to see what online resources are available on the topic. A write-up titled “Taking Interest in Your Neighbor” by Bob Deffinbaugh lays out a lot what Israel was supposed to help the poor under the Mosaic Law. A lot of what is listed there would cause howls of indignation from a lot of people (not to mention Christians). What if we put a system in place where the poor had to receive medical treatment and if they couldn’t pay they have to either make installment payments or have to provide labor free of charge to the doctor or hospital that treats them? To make the parallel even closer to the Mosaic Law put a seven year statute of limitations in place on the debt so no one is destroyed financially for life by a medical crisis.

    What do you think?

    Glenn

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