Stealing from Each Other: How the Welfare State Robs Americans of Money and Spirit

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He meant that every citizen, regardless of social standing, was entitled to receive the same protection of his life and property cf. The third of the three cardinal social virtues is beneficence, the performance of kind and charitable deeds toward others. Smith warned, however, that it is not possible to legislate beneficence, such as the giving of financial aid to the poor, without violating justice—the right of persons to be secure in their property.

It is irrelevant that the confiscated wealth may be redirected to the poor. The Eighth Commandment does not stipulate exceptions. Christians cannot escape the dilemma that one cannot compel the implementation of gospel principles via legislation, even for worthy causes such as aid to the poor, without violating the moral law given in the Ten Commandments.

The legitimate limit, then, to the use of force by any mortal authority, whether civil or ecclesiastical, is the enforcement of obedience to the Mosaic law. Jurisdiction and judgment over how well an individual lives up to the standards of the gospel of Jesus does not belong to the state, but is reserved for Him Who sits in ultimate judgment. There are many Christians who go along with the popular belief that if a democratic majority votes for a policy, then that policy must necessarily be legitimate.

If that were so, then we would have to endorse the democratic majority that voted for Pilate to release Barabbas instead of Jesus or, for that matter, the democratic majority that condemned the noble Socrates.

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They would rightly regard such taking as theft. Delegating the task to a democratic government does not sanctify the taking of private property. The devout Christians who founded the United States of America were also great students of history. It is because the founders understood so well the inherent defects of democracy that they crafted a constitutional republic. While not theoretically consistent e. A democracy would have the power, through majority vote, of trampling on the rights of any individual s targeted by the majority.

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As government launches ever-more spending programs for various constituencies, the grab for property becomes ever-more aggressive. As we careen into national bankruptcy, one shudders to contemplate the attendant angry, violent convulsions that may mark the demise of our democratic republic. Christians emphasize the importance of being loving. Charitable support for those in need is one way to act lovingly. Thus, many Christians support government programs for the poor, believing that this is a loving thing to do.

To what? This inverts the values of a healthy, prosperous society, and to grease the slippery slope of social decline and decay.

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The decline and fall of the Roman Empire had multiple causes, but perhaps none was more crucial than the economic and moral bankruptcy of welfare state policies. As the Roman Senate kept raising taxes on the productive to subsidize the unproductive, more and more Roman citizens decided to abandon work and let the government support them. Eventually, the whole corrupt system collapsed of its own dead weight. Third, entitlements do violence to our Constitution, that magnificent charter that our founding fathers designed to protect our divine rights.

The Fifth Amendment forbids the taking of private property without just compensation to the person whose property has been appropriated, yet entitlements transfer billions of dollars from some citizens to others with no compensation whatsoever to those taxpayers. Policies that produce economic and legal bondage are not loving, and Christians ought not to support them. Fourthly, an entitlement can be counterproductive and unloving to the person receiving it.

One wonders whether he would have turned his life around if he had lived in a welfare state where he was entitled to regular handouts. Instead, he might have remained in a state of infantile dependency on the welfare narcotic indefinitely, never finding meaning and purpose in his life. Nothing written herein should be interpreted as minimizing the obligation of Christians to perform charitable deeds.

In his parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus clearly shows the two proper ways for Christians to practice charity. The first option is to minister directly and personally to those who need help, as the Samaritan did when he spotted the wounded traveler.

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The welfare state goes beyond this biblical paradigm. Jesus understood that no man was morally qualified to dictate to others how much charity they should bestow, or what other good deeds another person should do. It is not a Christian duty or prerogative to force others to join us in charitable endeavors. We are accountable to God for what we do, not what we make others do.

From a purely pragmatic point of view, private, voluntary charity is far more efficient than government programs. This is not surprising, since private charities can spend only the funds that they can convince others to give them, whereas public officials have the privileged power of taxation. The efficient use of scarce resources should be a primary concern of those who care about their fellow man. According to economist Edgar K. If the poor had actually received that much, obviously they would be far from poor, but the majority of that aid was consumed by bureaucratic overhead.

What makes private, voluntary charity more efficient is that the donors are closer—perhaps face-to-face—with the recipients of aid than is the case with massive government bureaucracies. Just as those who begged for alms in the Bible had direct contact with potential benefactors, who could judge for themselves whether the beggar was truly unable to provide for himself rather than a free-loader, it is far easier for private charities to screen out the helpless poor from the poor-by-choice.

Charity is abused when those who are capable of working, but prefer to accept a handout than lift a finger in productive labor, divert scarce resources from the minority of truly needy persons who are absolutely incapable of caring for themselves. Jesus himself condemned sloth and lack of productivity.

In the parable of the talents, he scolded the passive, unproductive servant and gave the talent that had been entrusted to him to the servant who had been given the most talents, because the latter had shown the initiative to put his talents to productive use. The welfare state is massive, entrenched, and growing. The size of the federal government expanded dramatically under President George W. Bush, and it is expanding even more rapidly under President Obama. Neither party resists government arrogating to itself Christian responsibilities. You can rent a specialist or a company specialized in this area.

Have a happy day from faraway friend. On the other hand, those who appear to be far less well off in life might give you the surprise of your life. A long lasting lesson, should we say. So true! To me that seemed very fair for everyone. So the poor are simply not taxed at all… and everyone else has a fair flat tax rate.

The rich still pay much more than everyone else, but in proportion everything is fair. At the same time it would convince many people to start their own businesses!

Stealing from Each Other by Edgar K. Browning - Praeger - ABC-CLIO

Think how this would stimulate the economy and how many jobs it would potentially create. Collection of the taxes is secondary. Such a huge waste of taxpayer time and money trying to keep the government from stealing the results of your work. Fast forward to and majority of Americans are not happy with the new tax law. I know where I fall. Never let liberals know your wealth. Wealth is an asset to be acquired and managed by an enlightened individual.

Liberalism is that enlightenment. This is a very helpful article.

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I hope to keep a low profile if I get wealthier. The one point I would disagree with is serving on boards. It might have the benefits you mention of people thinking you are so nice but it has the drawback of possibly leading to media exposure. Then some criminal will see you in the newspaper and decide you would be a great target. Love this article. It is completely normal to see the average person driving a leased luxury vehicle.

As Dave Ramsey would say, big hat, no cattle. I also drive a year-old car, bought used and paid for in cash.

I appreciate that Dave Ramsey ism as well. My dad was a doctor and always drove the crummiest car to buy better cars in cash for his wife and daughters. Dave Ramsey has a model of a truck in his office in his live shows.

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  6. He told a caller that it was the exact truck that Sam Walton drove throughout his lifetime. Statistically they actually get pulled over less because there is an unspoken generalization about the importance of the person in such a car, traveling at such a speed. The well to do are treated differently, it just is. Regardless of how often one or the other gets pulled over. You see, in life you wanna appear as poor as possible, that will save you from so many headaches and sorrows.

    On a personal note let me share this with you, some direct family members of mine have pretty much stopped talking to me simply because they wanna keep on messing around, working as little as possible and wasting pretty much everything they ear, and then expect me to foot the bills for their lifestyles, while I, on the other hand, do pretty much the opposite to them.

    I would second this.