Sunday, November 16, 2008

My reaction to "Your Weekly Address from the President-Elect"

I just watched the POTUS-e's first weekly address (3 minutes). In it he talks about the global economic turmoil, pushing for more globalism. He then brings it home and talks about what's happening in our own country economically, focusing primarily on job losses. With this introduction, he talks about America "rising to the moment" and "steering ourselves out of this crisis". Then he urges Congress to spend more of my money and threatens that, if Congress doesn't do anything this week, he will when he takes office. He talks about the government making new jobs. He talks about more investment, implying governmental investment. He finishes talking about us each making sacrifices.

Red flags were raised for me throughout this speech. I'll address them in reverse order.

Sacrifice

This sounds like doublespeak for raising taxes. He's trying to make me feel better about governmental extortion by framing it as something noble. Let me explain something about sacrifice. It has to be voluntary for it to have meaning. If it's forced, it's not sacrifice. It's theft. It's plunder. It's extortion. It's appropriation. I'm perfectly willing to sacrifice. In fact I do quite a bit, but none of it is to the IRS.

Investment

When I make an investment, I do so expecting to get out more than I put in. Of course it doesn't always work this way based on how much risk is involved; sometimes you lose all that is put in. But if there is large risk, typically there is large return too. For example, savings is an investment where I get back some percent more than I put in. There is low risk, but there is also low return. Business is another example, where, if things go right, it's worth more at the end of the day than what has been put in, sometimes a lot more. Typically this is higher risk with a corresponding higher return.

At issue here is the fact that government does not invest. It spends. There is a big difference. Diamonds can be an investment. I can buy some, put them in a safe deposit box, pull them out at a future date, sell them and make a profit. My wife's diamond wedding ring is something I spent money on but it's not an investment. If I tried to sell it for a profit, she'd let me know how much I really lost on the deal. There's nothing the government does that it could sell on the open market and get back what it put in.

Jobs

The government does not make jobs. Jobs come from businesses providing goods and services that didn't exist before. It's the result of true investment. Money is put in to support people producing something. If the business is run well, the something that comes out is worth more than the money put in. All the government does is make employees. They do this by taking money from me and paying them to do something. What they do or make is not sold at profit. There's no return.

Steering ourselves

When the phrases "rising to the moment" and "steering ourselves out of this crisis" were used, I was reminded of his campaign speeches where he was leading the cheer about how great we are and we can overcome. Yes we can!

No! Without God we can't! The only way we can "rise to the moment" is by sinking to our knees. God is the one who exalts nations. When nations try to do it themselves, it's called pride and this is not a currency in God's economy. Humility is. We need to come before God admit we've made a huge mess of things. We need to examine our actions against His word and change those things in us that are out of alignment. We need to find out from Him what our course forward should be.