by Jerry Newcombe
(From How Would Jesus Vote?, by D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe © 2008, WaterBrook)
Scripture has something to say about work. Many people suppose that work is a curse to be avoided, if at all possible, and an activity to be involved in only when necessary. This is not the case. As we will see, God ordained work before the fall. Adam was commanded to tend the garden before he fell into sin; therefore, work is not part of the curse (Genesis 2:15). Even after sin, it is still true that work occupies a very important position in man’s life, though it is greatly aggravated by the results of the fall and the curse (Genesis 3:17-19). Without work, it is impossible for any human being to fulfill God’s purpose for his or her life.
The apostle Paul minces no words about loafers: “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). The apostle knew that man inclines toward evil, and so he will avoid all opportunities to work if he can.
This does not refer to a person who is not able to work. The Scripture has a great deal to say about caring for the lame, the blind, the sick, the infirm, the aged, and the young, but if anyone will not work, if he refuses to work, then neither let him eat.
Most people feel a twinge of guilt when they hear those words, as if they were words without compassion. May I say to you that this is the most compassionate statement on the subject of economics that has ever been uttered. Were that not to a large degree followed, wholesale famine and starvation would plague the world. So let it be proclaimed to a deaf culture that is committed to a partial form of socialism based on what one scholar calls “the politics of guilt and pity”: If one will not work, neither let him eat.
LARGESSE FROM THE TREASURY
In the early 1800s, someone astutely predicted: “America will last until the populace discovers that it can vote for itself largesse out of the public treasury.” What this means is that America will last until people realize they can vote gifts or handouts from the public treasury for themselves.
Much of the public has discovered this with a vengeance. And the politicians are bending over backwards to let the rest of the people know. Often politicians boast how much money they have managed to steer from the public treasury to their state and their pet projects. What few people say is that this is the people’s money, not the politician’s money.
Those of us who were really backward and slow have been told about it by commercials telling us, “This little booklet will tell you everything you can get out of the federal government.” My friend, we are on the way down now because of that discovery . . . because of the socialism that exists in our mixed economy.
We have given up the free enterprise economy the founders of this nation gave to us. We have followed the socialists, albeit a number of paces behind them, down that disastrous road. We are suffering the consequences right now. But we have not even begun to see the consequences that are coming one day, if the present trend continues unabated.
More important than that is what the federal government is taking from you and me, because the government does not have any money that it does not take from us. And that is something many people just do not seem to understand.
The late Rus Walton put it very well when he said:
Government is not a producer; it is a taker, a taxer, and a spender. Every dollar spent by the public sector is a dollar the government must take from the private sector, from the workers and earners and investors. The dollar taken by government cannot be spent or invested by that productive private sector.
That is why we are having problems. So if we continue in the way we are going, we will see even semi-socialized nations self-destruct as the former Soviet Union has done. It just takes them a little bit longer. “America will last until the populace discovers that it can vote for itself largesse out of the public treasury.”
Though we have seen the greatest experiment in socialism in the history of the world in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics come to a disastrous end, crash in flames and burn, and bring utter disaster and bankruptcy and perhaps famine to that nation, still socialism is alive, though not well, in America.
We use other names for socialism. We call it the “Welfare State,” “a benevolent government,” but it’s the same thing, regardless of what it is called.
These things are so benevolent sounding; they sound so Christian. We are trying to help people. It is always “good intentions” on the part of some politicians or bureaucrats that lead us into such disasters. But the thing we need to understand is that the federal government is extraordinarily wasteful and extraordinarily inefficient and also that it creates far more problems than it solves. Professor Thomas Sowell of Stanford University, one of America’s leading black economists, said this:
The amount of money necessary to lift every man, woman, and child in America above the poverty line is one-third of what, in fact, is being spent on poverty programs. Clearly, much of the transfer ends up in the pockets of highly paid administrators, consultants and staff.
That is why two “bedroom counties” of Washington, D.C. (one in Virginia and one in Maryland), have the highest per capita income in America today.
The government is extraordinarily inefficient. It is estimated that the federal government spends twice as much money in creating a job as does the private sector. Sometimes they spend far more. For example, Stanford University received $15 million from the government for the purpose of creating jobs. For $15 million, they created a total of thirty-nine jobs. That averages out to $324,685 per job. The private sector produces jobs for $20,000. And so the more money we pour into these government projects, the less money is available in the private sector and the fewer jobs there are. The more and more taxes we take out of the private sector, the less able we are to create jobs.
The government is also extraordinarily wasteful. Examples of that are so many they hardly need to be mentioned, but we are spending hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars to learn such things as:
- Why people cheat and lie on tennis courts
- The mating habits of Japanese quail
- Do sheepdogs really protect sheep?
And all sorts of other “important” similar things our government is involved in.
People say, “But yes . . . but nevertheless, that’s what the Bible says we ought to be doing. We should be concerned about helping other people.” Absolutely. But we are not doing it in the way that we should. Instead, we are hurting people—putting them out of work, destroying their families, destroying children, and all sorts of ghastly things—as the former Soviet Union has found out to their great regret, and as we are moving down that same road.
When you listen to the campaign rhetoric from politicians, it becomes clear that they are trying to offer the American people specific promises. “Vote for me, and I’ll make sure government gives you XYZ benefit.” This benefit, of course, is not free. Money does not grow on trees. So essentially the politician, Republican or Democrat, is promising some sort of redistribution of wealth. Would it not be fair to say that they are attempting to buy votes? When politicians say that we need to tax only the very rich, and that the rich are not paying their fair share and that tax cuts are designed only to help the rich, many of our citizens vote for them. They cannot see the unbiblical assumptions being promoted.
It behooves the discerning, Christian voter to think in these terms. Do not just take political promises on their face value. Evaluate them. Remember. When a politician promises you a good and service, by definition it is at someone else’s expense.
Socialism: A Clear and Present Danger
Is socialism Biblical? Is life better when Washington runs Wall Street and Main Street? A stunning new documentary from Coral Ridge Ministries offers answers at a time when socialism is on the march in America with business bailouts and government-run health care. Featuring footage from Cuba and Venezuela, and experts who once toed the socialist line, Socialism: A Clear and Present Danger gives you an illuminating look at the real-world results of Marx and his many followers – and why their failed ideas violate God’s Word (and have killed tens of millions of human beings). For more information, see www.dangersofsocialism.org
Jerry Newcombe, D. Min.
Senior Producer/On-Air Host
Coral Ridge Ministries
5555 N Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33308