Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Maintaining a Christian Attitude Toward the Stimulus Package

So much contention is being stirred by the proposed stimulus program! Maybe most of the money is going to bureaucracy, special interests, wasteful programs, and fraud, and maybe it does like like just much more of mismanaged finances that got us into trouble in the first place, but is that any excuse for negativism? This is the time when we need to look to the teachings of the Bible for guidance (I'm using the Bad News translation):
If Congress seeketh to take away thy coat, let them have thy cloak also and thy cloak, and thy chariot, and thy gold, and thy silver, and thy vineyard, and thy calves, and thy oxen, and thy home, and thy 401k, and verily all that thou hast and all that thy children might have, and verily all that posterity might have until seven generations, and shall seek to make thee and they posterity into abject slaves, give also thine iPod.

43 comments:

Samuel Bradshaw said...

:)

Anonymous said...

For humor to work, there must be at least a hint of truth in it.

LOL!!!

Oh wait!

The truth of the matter isn't funny at all!!!

Greg said...

Jeff - just curious, regarding the stimulus package, what do you think should be done instead (I think I missed an earlier post somewhere)?

J said...

There's nothing Christian about the stimulus package!

Dan said...

I love watching Republicans and conservatives suddenly crying foul at overspending. Where were you guys these past eight years? Why the silence then? Silly Republicans.

Patti said...

The whole thing makes me want to puke.

Bruce in Montana said...

For folks that are allegedly preparing to live the united order (all things in common/no poor among them/etc) there sure is a lot of fussing going on about spreading wealth.

....just sayin

Nathan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

1. It should be "thine iPod."
2. Bruce: Thou shalt not steal.

Nathan said...

Jeff, I must have missed that week in Sunday School. :) Funny.

Bruce... http://tinyurl.com/6hgmam

In addition to the entire article, be sure to read the section entitled The United Order vs. Socialism.

And then read this

Mormanity said...

Interestingly, the KJV prefers "give thy" over "give thine". The phrase "give thy" occurs 11 times, versus 2 times for "give thine". So if "give thy" is good enough for the Lord, it's good enough for me.

Mormanity said...

What do I think should be done? I think we should do what our Founding Fathers would have done, which is exactly the opposite of confiscating property to redistribute it for political power and favors to those who have not earned it but, in this case, have squandered billions. It is exactly the opposite of weakening the dollar by creating it without backing. It is exactly the opposite of making government bigger, more burdensome, and more powerful. It is exactly the opposite all our crooks in Congress and the Fed are doing.

I believe our Founding Fathers would have us follow the Constitution and the inspired principles behind it. Rather than handing billions to crooks, they'd be going to jail or at least reaping the rewards of their foolishness. Rather than weakening the currency, we would be using sound money that does not permit government to create billions from nothing to loot the public through the hidden tax of fiat money creation. Rather than building up the power of crooked bureaucrats and would-be tyrants, they would be tearing down their power and letting Americans take care of their own destinies rather than becoming wards of the state and beggars at the public trough.

Of course, if we'd been following the Constitution and relying on the sound money it requires, we would never have come close to this current mess, and when booms and busts came, as they have in the past, the correction would be swift and life would go on. It takes massive government help to prolong an economic downturn into the lengthy Depression of the 30s.

Anonymous said...

So if "give thy" is good enough for the Lord, it's good enough for me.

Er... what? "Thine" goes before vowels, and "thy" goes before consonants. I thought everyone knew this.

John Jackson said...

How about putting everybody back to work as a way to stimulate the economy? Let's take everyone on welfare and everyone who will come forward as say they don't have a job, and let's bid off their services to the highest takers. Right now, the government picks up the full tab for welfare. This way, whatever the private sector offers to pay is subtracted from what the government is laying out. So, instead of costing us $819 million, this economic stimulus package saves the government. And, there are not too many on welfare who couldn't be doing something, even if it is just cleaning up litter in a yard already cleaned, or pasting stamps on envelopes. Some companies would be community minded enough to go out of their way to find some kind of work for the needy. Even if an employer only bids a dollar an hour for a worker, that is $40 a week the government saves. We have 11 million unemployed. Surely, injecting 11 million people into the workforce would be a plus. The government wins, the economy wins and the person wins (by being given the dignity of a job). End the dole, save the soul. -- John Jackson

woodboy said...

That plan makes no sense. Setting aside for a moment that you're conflating welfare with unemployment, if I were on welfare, why would I want to lick stamps or pick up litter for the same amount of money I get for doing nothing? I would rather not work and get the free money, than work and get the same amount of money. There's no incentive.

Jimmy said...

The government's welfare plan is completely against the gospel plan. Nobody should ever get something for doing nothing. We are saved by grace AFTER all we can do (2 Nephi 25:23). The Church's welfare plan is to make us self-reliant, while the government's plan is to make us dependent on them. I was unemployed once (1999) and my wife went to apply for food stamps. They told her we made too much money from the state's unemployment "compensation" and that if she were to separate herself from me and take the children and stop paying our rent that then the government would give her everything she would need... they would pay for rent, utilities, food, plus a subsistence! Good deal at a terrible expense! And oh, that definitely wouldn't have raised MY self-esteem as the breadwinner of the family! Maybe this will finally usher in the coming of Christ's reign...

Ryan said...

Just heard on the morning news that Obama had to "discourage" Citibank from buying a new corporate jet while receiving bailout money from the feds... "they should have known better."

Our brave new president was also reportedly dismayed to discover that many bailed-out financial firms turned around to award huge year-end bonuses to their top execs. His response: "There are times to award bonuses, but this is not one of them!"

We're definitely stimulating something with this package...

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/Politics/story?id=6740011&page=1

Anonymous said...

Hi Jimmy,

What part of taking care of those who can not take care of themselves is against the teachings of Christ? That is what welfare is supposed to do. Its the way that welfare is set up that defeats that underlying purpose. When welfare was set up, it was supposed to help those who could not help themselves. Instead of doing that, welfare has been perverted into a way to make a living. There are a great many people out there who could not survive without the assistance of the government. There are also many people out there who take advantage of the governments assistance when they are capable of making it on their own.

Mr. Jackson, have you really studied the welfare programs. Most of the people who recieve welfare now are required to seek employment or be employed. The problem is, people can't survive on minimum wage incomes. Where's the incentive to work when minimum wage pays less than cash assistance. Additionally, where do you suggest these folks work? Many of them have no post high school education, if they even have a high school education. A great many employers won't even consider these people for employment because they don't fit the establishment criteria. The jobs that these folks might obtain, factory work or service industry jobs, have either moved over seas or don't pay more than minimum wage which brings us back to why bother to work. This problem is compounded by Democrats, who want to assist too many people with welfare; and Republicans who don't care a bit about anyone with a less than six figure income. Add to that the fact that none of those folks in congress have any concept of what its like to live pay cheque to pay cheque and you get more bad legislation like the bailout bills passed under Bush's watch. He sure knew how to take care of his friend's.

I do agree that injecting 11 million people into the workforce would be good for our country and economy. How we do that remains to be seen. It isn't going to happen if we keep sending jobs overseas, and it isn't going to happen if we keep bailing out the rich. Trickle down economics don't work, because they don't take into account human greed.

I am troubled by this new stimulus package and the amount it costs. I feel better about spending 800 billion on infrastructure work projects than I do spending that same amount on bailing out wallstreet. We might actually see some benefit from this package that we'll never see from bailing out wallstreet. One good thing I've heard in this stimulus package has to do with using US Steel Companies to make the steel to do the building. This doesn't make the international community too happy, but it would sure be a boost for our own manufacturing companies. Frankly we should've been using our own products all along, given that we make some of the best steel in the world.

Jeff I think you're onto something, however, our founding fathers lived in a world where credit was still considered evil. How do we get back to that concept in American society? Maybe this current crisis will drive that point home.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Anonymous said...

CD,

What part of "Thou shalt not steal" is hard to comprehend? Whether it is to help the poor or to help the rich, theft is theft. The government needs to get out of the charity business and let caring people like us decide where our donations are most needed.

Incidentally, "we" aren't "sending jobs overseas" without cause; government interference in the free market has simply made many Americans undesirable employees.

As for the fact that many employers won't consider someone without a degree, I know this all too well and again, it is mainly government interference in the education market that has caused this situation. Many people are incentivized to go to college who have no real reason to be there.

It all comes back to market interference, which both parties are guilty of in equal measure.

kannie said...

I just have to say I appreciate the humor - such a mental relief! THANK YOU. :-)

Bookslinger said...

I believe we're in a time where crooks run the government.

This is just like the times of secret combinations running the government in the Book of Mormon.

Obama's chief of staff is an evil person. What does that say about Obama?

Jeff, check out this article about the FBI saying that gangs accounts for 80% of crime in the US. Talk about Gadianton robbers.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-01-29-ms13_N.htm

Anonymous said...

CD,

The problem with the government welfare state is, as what has been hinted at by others, that the government must steal someone's money to give it to someone else. The government does not produce anything. The government cannot "create" a job.

The government has three methods of obtaining money. 1) taxation 2) inflation 3) borrowing. All of these methods are stealing from one person (whether right now or in the future) so to give to another. If the government "creates" one million jobs today through borrowing, that is likely two million plus jobs lost in the future when accounting for interest and government inefficiencies.

Is there anything "Christian" about the redistribution of wealth? Hardly. Is there anything "Christian" about enslaving future generations so ours can continue to live our dream/bubble world of no work and all play? I think not. Hard work is a principle of Christendom. As is not stealing.

When considering what makes America great, many recall the brave men and women who have lost their lives so we today could be free. But how do we show our concern for the freedom of future generations? We sell their labor away for our comfort. We teach principles of irresponsibility.

Bailouts/Stimulus packages do not work. If you want to stimulate the economy, cut taxes and cut spending. It gives the productive people the capital they need to be more productive and create jobs.

Charity is an act one person performs out of the Christ like love within their heart. Furthermore the charitable person offers something of their own. It does not involve me taking something away from my well to do neighbor and giving it to someone else.

Anonymous said...

Dan,

Some of us true conservatives follow true conservative principles and not partisan politics. Long have the voices of true conservatives sounded against big spending, whether it was in the Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush or Obama administration (and many before).

I believe the most important people to criticize when it comes to politics, are those within your own party.

I am a registered Republican, though I hardly even can relate with the party. For decades we have had Republicans who talk the conservative talk and then stumble and fall when it comes to walking. Today I have little hope for the GOP. They demonstrate the corruption which are forefathers so bravely fought against. Though a registered Republican, I hardly vote that way.

Now that you understand this is not an issue of Dem vs Repub (not for me at least), lets have intelligent conversation on principles and not partisanship.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous of Jan 30,

You overlooked the 4th way the government can get money...it can just print it without regard to whether there's anything of value backing it. That's part of what got us into this mess.

I recognize that the government welfare state is inherantly flawed. But what charity are you asking those folks to rely on...the charity of good conservative christians who believe that God helps those who help themselves. As a rule most Christians talk about giving charity and helping the poor and downtrodden, but when it comes to actually doing something, they don't practise what they preach, Mormons and Catholics are generally an exception in terms of practising charity, not the norm.

I don't personally find paying taxes to be offensive or contrary to the principles of this country. What I find offensive is that the government is mismanaging the taxes that we pay. I'm all for everyone paying thier fair share of the taxes. The problem is how do you decide what's fair. I don't trust the liberals or the conservatives on this issue because both sides are filled with greed and corruption. But you know what, we, the liberals and conservatives both, put those folks there with our partisan politics, so who do we have to blame.

Cutting people off the welfare system that need it, isn't the answer. A complete restructuring of the welfare system, is a good idea, but no one seems to be able to agree on what that should look like.

Government interference in the free market has created some of the problem with jobs. But good old fashioned greed has fueled the problem. Do you really believe that a corporation facing a bottom line, really cares that its putting an american out of work in favour of using cheap labour in China. Do you really believe that given a choice between cutting costs, and paying a living wage, that corporate america will choose to pay a living wage. Look at what was happening in corporate america before unions and government regulation came into being. Don't be so naive', corporate america is all about making money at all costs. Charity doesn't compute in a system that only cares about the profit margin.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Anonymous said...

CD,

Printing money is included under 2) inflation.

It's important to understand that when a person receives unemployment benefits then that money was taken from the market. A working person had to have their money/job taken away so that unemployment benefit could be given to another. It's just a shuffling of cards and re-dealing of the cards (they can't make a new deck with more cards).

I believe people of all faiths, and even atheists/agnostics feel a sense of responsibility towards caring for their fellow man. However when those people are forced to pay taxes, they feel as if they are already doing their part. I am sure people would be much more willing to give of their time and substance (and they would have more to give without such burdensome taxes) if they knew that downtrodden person was not going to receive a monthly check in the mail. $10 directly to a needy person is greater than $10 spent in taxes as about 70% of government spending is wasted.

Furthermore, when a person is receiving a check from the government, they are not likely to feel that they are depriving someone else. Whereas when that money comes directly from an individual there would be greater motivation to get back on their feet so as not to be a "burden". There are of course those who just want to milk charities for all their worth. In those cases an individual/charity can choose to cease giving to that person without worrying about bureaucratic nonsense.

Getting rid of the welfare state would create many jobs as well as give people more of their own money in which they can choose to act charitably.

As far as China goes, there is great misunderstanding when it comes to free trade and free markets. When a job goes to China, for example, that is actually a benefit not only to the Chinese but to us. The Chinese worker gets a job he would not otherwise have had (they are truly poor if you want to think about comparisons), and Americans are able to buy quality products cheaper. With extra money to spend, that American will then buy more goods and services and more jobs will be created, many of which will be American jobs. So a job in manufacturing might be lost, but a job in, say, the service sector will be created.

I won't pretend it's all good, because in the long run we cannot continue purchasing more than we produce. However this would not occur if we did not have a fiat currency that was accepted as the world's gold standard. I am sure pretty soon that is going to end.

Greed is what has caused our current mess according to some. In part that is correct. However, the idea is incomplete without recognizing the Fed has facilitated and enabled that greed. If interest rates (the cost of money) been set at the markets rate, people would have been much more careful with how they spent and invest their money (especially had they learned there lesson after the crash of the dot com bubble, that is if the Fed allowed the correction to take place).

Free market capitalism when coupled with personal liberties, as imperfect as it is, is still a better solution to the welfare state. The problems of the early 20th century when workers rights were nonexistent and people were literally starving to death, would not have existed had personal liberties been respected. Those people legally gathered to protest their inhumane treatment and demand better working conditions and benefits. The business owners reacted by killing many of the strikers. Had the rights of the people been protected (which is IMO the entire purpose of government), those business owners would have been prosecuted (for murder) and the companies would have had to indulge the strikers demands if they wanted a labor force. Instead the government turned a blind eye and in some cases even assisted the brutal treatment of the strikers. I bring that up to answer your question "Do you really believe that given a choice between cutting costs, and paying a living wage, that corporate america will choose to pay a living wage[?]", if those companies want to have a working force they will pay them what they demand. If a company will not/cannot pay what is demanded then another company will. Free market capitalism and personal liberties is the solution.

Without the welfare state and without government regulating the affairs of the people, there would be fewer unemployed. With fewer unemployed there will be more people who would be willing to give charitably and fewer people requiring that charity.

Freedom works.

Anonymous said...

Too much patriotism in this blog. The wider world is suffering far greater than most of the correspondents could ever experience here. How does that sit with your American ideal of liberty for all and Obama's commitment to spearhead freedom in the New World. Oh sorry - he just was talking about America.

Too insular and not enough Biblical understanding to have the responsibility for stewardship of the globe and it's many nations, that can lead to freedom for all.

Think about that as you freely type your reply, yet in Zimbabwe for example, a dictator is systematically reducing family homes to rubble just because 'he can'. Where can these families find the internet to freely voice their blogs?

When will the police come a knocking on your door to do the same?

deadseriously said...

What about when they want to take our tax return, too? Out here in Cali, they're giving us I.O.U.'s. Pardon me while I don't wait by the mailbox for them to make good on it.

kamschron said...

The difference between thy and thine is like the difference tween a and an. In the King James Version, "give thine estimation" is correct for the same reason that "give an account" is correct.

Mormanity said...

Thine it is! Everyone knew that rule except me. I thought it followed the German nominative/accusative kind of thing. Didn't think about it until now. Thanks!

Must have been skipping (Sunday) school when they did the thy vs. thine lecture.

Anonymous said...

I think your thy/thine mistake has been your most offensive one yet.

Anonymous said...

Government interference in the free market has created some of the problem with jobs. But good old fashioned greed has fueled the problem. Do you really believe that a corporation facing a bottom line, really cares that its putting an american out of work in favour of using cheap labour in China.

Firstly, corporations are largely government constructs and as such I have my objections to them. As for your question, I personally don't mind if Chinese people are employed in lieu of Americans, as long as they genuinely want that employment. American business owners have no inherent duty to Americans over other nationalities. Such a nationalistic thought is sickening and counterproductive.

Do you really believe that given a choice between cutting costs, and paying a living wage, that corporate america will choose to pay a living wage.

They will pay the wage that they must to attract the quality of workers that they need, or they will suffer. The laws of the market are far more effective (and binding) than the plans devised by government and those who misunderstand economics and the causes of prosperity.

Look at what was happening in corporate america before unions and government regulation came into being.

You seem to be using "corporate america" as a synonym for the private sector. Unions have a natural place in a free market, and as such I have no objection to them in principle. Unfortunately, in America unions have come to rely on the force of the state to bully the rest of us.

Don't be so naive', corporate america is all about making money at all costs.

"Making money at all costs" is an oxymoron, so I'll assume you mean simply that profit is the private sector's main consideration. I'm incredibly glad that this is so, since this "greed" is responsible for almost all of the luxuries enjoyed in America today, by the rich and the (relatively) poor alike.

Charity doesn't compute in a system that only cares about the profit margin.

I'm not sure what "system" you're referring to, but the desire of a business (whether a small operation or a large corporation) to make large profits constitutes its entire motive for improving human life. You don't earn money by making people unhappy, unless you are connected to the government.

Mormanity said...

Most offensive mistake yet?? You must be a new reader - but I'd appreciate thy -- I mean thine -- insights on why it bothers thee so much.

Mormanity said...

The "thine before a vowel" rule also treats "h" as a vowel, I guess, in the KJV. "Thine" is used before "heart", "house", and "household."

Rob Watson said...

@Bruce in Montana

I'm happy as ever to spread my wealth under the United Order, simply because I know that's from God. Spreading the wealth under communism is no such thing. It's just a corrupt form of capitalism where those in power still end up with all the money and resources and "they" get to decide how it's spread.

Anonymous said...

Rob,

As a result of the UO being of God comes agency. Only those who choose and covenant to do so are held under the UO. Socialism employs force. That alone is justification enough for everyone in the church to abhor socialism.

With the UO there are still property rights. While all your increase (instead of 10%) goes to the church, that which is received back remains yours.

Jeff,

I was being sarcastic about the most offensive mistake. People seemed to jump all over it. You have to be careful when you're such a web celebrity.

Mormanity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mormanity said...

Dan, don't lump me with Republicans, the most shameful big spenders of all so far (in spite of the sincere efforts of the Democrats to be #1). I've been squawking about the criminal activity occurring under the previous Administration for some time. Money Party A is very similar to Money Party B, if you look closely.

jayleenb said...

Let's also keep in mind the Unitied Order is voluntary AND it is disbursed by righteous Priesthood holders who do not get paiod and are led by the Lord.

Taxes for welfare are FORCED and headed up by government agencies and corrupt politicians, who are paid, which takes away from the money pool and much fraud involved and difficult to track.

There's a huge difference between welfare that comes from money stolen from taxpayers and the United Order under the Priesthood.

Anonymous said...

Hi Folks,

Jayleen made an interesting comment regarding corrupt government and politicians. I just have to ask...who put those folks into government in the first place...We the people did. So what are we the people going to do about it?

Catholic Defender

Anonymous said...

CD,

"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands..."

Revolution is the answer. But a revolution needs a following. That is why I try to inform people on the downfalls of keynesian economics and the current status quo of our government.

Currently our government is setup in such a way that if we can get a majority to agree with the concepts of freedom and free markets, the revolution is a simple procedure, and just a matter of cleaning house and changing laws. However, if a majority consensus cannot be reached and corruption reigns, then I see no alternative but to secede from the union.

One thing for sure is that the U.S. cannot continue on the path it is going; it is likely to destroy itself. In that event the country is likely to break into many splinter groups as predicted by the Russian analyst (http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20081125&articleId=11138).

Anonymous said...

Seceding from the Union, didn't the southern states try that in 1861. Seems like that didn't work out so well for them. Revolution also isn't such a great idea...not in the sense of the word as most people understand it. The problem is that a majority of the people don't agree on the free market idea. I don't necessarily agree that the solution is to deregulate and allow the market free reign. This is a bad idea, the markets are part of the problem. Capitalism, true capitalism is about the bottom line and nothing else. Communism isn't that great of an answer, since in theory it sounds okay, but in practise it doesn't work to feed the people. Deporting lobbyists might work...never mind due process. We could try anarchy too, but that just leads to chaos ;-) Praying an awful lot might be a good idea...but then again pray to who, since a great many can't even agree on that.

Anonymous said...

My anonymous twin,

I'm guessing you probably have a distorted view of free market capitalism. Capitalism is not just about the bottom line. It's about supply and demand. It goes both ways. Individuals would have the upper hand with free market capitalism. Unfortunately our country has not trusted in the free markets in many years.

You hear people today talking about how free markets (lack of regulation) caused our current economic crises. Well that couldn't be further from the truth. We haven't had a free market probably since the 19th century (and even then it probably wasn't completely free).

The alternatives to the free market (socialism and communism) require thievery and slavery.

As for the revolution. I feel much like Patrick Henry, "give me liberty or give me death." I would rather die fighting for freedom then live a slave.

Honestly, I don't see a revolution or a seceding from the union happening. I believe the country will destroy itself.

SlalomHO said...

1. Communism, like socialism and fascism, is a form of total government control. It is a fantastic system for the few people in government who reap all the benefits at the expense of the many citizens who labor to support them. Lucifer knew how this system works, and naturally he envisioned himself at the top of the pyramid.

2. There is a fine line between communism and consecration, and you need an "iron rod" to maintain your balance while you are walking that tight-rope.

3. Governments manipulate and destroy free markets through regulation and subsidies. Large entities are notorious for employing regulation and subsidies to grow and maintain their dominance. regulation and subsidies say "i cant compete, and i am entitled to my market share and income stream."

4. It is in governments' best long-term interest to weaken and dissolve families. Citizens (subjects) are much easier to dominate and control when they are isolated, and therefore more likely to turn to the all-powerful government for every form of support.

5. In my opinion, the basic problem with our economy is this: we borrow money from foreign countries and go into debt to purchase products manufactured in foreign countries. This economic model is unsustainable.

6. Do you want the red placebo or the blue placebo? There is no meaningful difference between today's republican party and democratic party. Both the red door and the blue door lead to the same room with one round table occupied by the same groups that have occupied it and set the governments' agenda and policies for the last 100 years. And some wonder why, despite the rhetoric for change, our nation and the world continues to head down the same path. When you cannot chart a direct course, simply tack left then tack right and eventually you will reach your destination. In the case of government, their destination is global socialism defined as freedom and wealth for the few, slavery and poverty for the many.

7. when charity is legislated via taxation, charity ceases to be charity and becomes a tool for oppression instead of a tool for liberty.

et cetera