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Are conservative Christian theology and liberal politics compatible?
Monday, 19 January 2009
Giving to the Rich, Oppressing the Poor, the Bailout as a Continuation of the Culture
He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.

Proverbs 22:16.

This was the observation of King Solomon--himself a very wealthy man who received gifts from many people seeking his favor--over 3000 years ago.  I observe that this is exactly the pattern of the bailout.  Tax the poor, directly or through inflation, and give the bailout money to the rich.  Stated another way, increase the nation's wealth by taking from the poor to give to the rich.  And, while we are at it, we are giving no relief to the poor.  On the contrary, we are giving the rich more legal protection to enable them to more effectively enforce the debts the poor owe them.  (We've actually been systmatically increasing the remedies of the rich for at least 20 years).  Furthermore, to make the money available to pay the bailout, we are going to have to reduce the level of assistance we presently afford for the poor, and the public services everyone who is not independently wealthy must rely upon. Solomon predicted that such an approach would not work.  In fact, it will lead us to poverty.  The rich will get richer, but the poor will get poorer faster than the rich get richer. Our total wealth will decline. We "shall surely come to want."

 But I also note that the government's approach in executing the bailout is just an outgrowth of the dominant trend in our culture. You can see it all over entertainment.  You can see it in "game shows."  You can see it in the advice we give each other, and the advice our popular "experts" give us, about careers, office politics, and financial planning.  You can see it in the fortunes amassed by a few promoters in the drug industry (both legal and illegal), and in the pornography and sex industries, and the devastated lives of "little people" that are considered OK to achieve these fortunes. You can see it in the steady and growing popularity of pyramid schemes that never work for anyone but their founders, multi-level sales plans that promise that "anyone" can sell them when only a few have the real "sales" ability to succeed, and other get-rich-quick sales gimmicks.  It's all about getting rich, or, at least, looking rich, and catering to the rich to make your fortune. It's about giving to the rich to make your fortune, and taking advantage (knowingly or unknowingly) of as many "little people" as you have to along the the way.  Giving to the rich and oppressing the poor to amass wealth is a growing part of our culture.  The government has just followed the culture's lead.

The problem is, the approach doesn't work in the long term.  It leads only to poverty.  The wise have known this for 3000 years.  


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 10:56 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 19 January 2009 11:01 PM EST

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