There seems to be a stirring debate in the media today. For the most part, the main stream media, Democrats, unions, and public sector employees are raging about how big government is the answer to most of our economic problems. Republicans, corporations, and a large portion of the private sector believe that a free-market society is the best way, regardless of the lack of regulations and tax breaks that it gives to big business.
For example, whenever Republicans try to enact provisions to control costs as with the collective bargaining rights, there is typically outcries of how Republicans are out to squash the middle class and give preferential treatment to the rich. An example of this is found at msnbc.com where they report on the Iowa House in Des Moines passing the collective bargaining bill. In this article, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is quoted as saying, “Like Wisconsin, Republicans in Iowa will stop at nothing to take away rights from police officers, firefighters, state troopers, teachers, correction officer[s] and other hard-working Iowan[s].”
This sentiment by supporters of big government is, of course, nonsense. There is public opinion that would support the position that one of the top priorities in government is to get our budget in balance, reduce our debt, and be fiscally responsible. To take necessary steps to bring the budget in balance requires sacrifices from both the public and private sector. Neither should be exempt.
Then there are the Democrats that somehow believe that government can regulate, tax, and spend our economy to economic health and prosperity. With little sincerity in reducing the national debt, our current president and administration looks to increase the national debt limit…again. Some would argue that raising the national debt ceiling is nothing new and is part of the normal course of business for government. While there may be some truth to this, it is difficult to understand how allowing a debt to increase at its current rate is fiscally responsible. For the Republicans part, however, there seems to be a lack of understanding that there needs to be a balance of finding new sources of revenue along with cutting federal spending.
Ideally, however, the best solution would be to have neither big government nor big business. This is where the United States prospered historically, through the ingenuity and resourcefulness of common people working responsibly under the assumption of accountability and risk/reward. Limited government worked well for decades until business got too big and needed reforms. Government needed to step in, along with unions, due to the abuse of power by big business. Workers’ rights, along with civil rights, were being abused, health conditions were deteriorating, and business was becoming so big it was eliminating the competition, thus reducing the effect of a free-market environment.
Now, however, the United States is seeing a rapid rise of big government. With public sector jobs outpacing the private sector and the “so-called” need for entitlements increasing by the minute, Americans are finding themselves looking to the government as the answer to all their problems. And for some, government is the means by where they can live on easy street and live off the taxpayers’ dime.
The big question, however, is what would Scripture say in regards to big government and big business. Surprisingly, the Bible does not have anything to say about either topic. But there are plenty of references to which we can make a conclusion on this matter. The church should be the institution through which people help one another. However, government can play a part where the church is limited or falls short. God’s commands should be considered when dealing with issues within society. Leviticus 25:35 states that "If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you." However, there is another verse that bears repeating. Leviticus 19:15 shows that "we aren't to pervert justice [and we also shouldn't] show partiality to the poor."
There is a Biblical principle that should be considered. Deuteronomy 15:6-8 says, “For the LORD your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you. If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need.” If the United States did business in this fashion, it wouldn’t be in the economic mess that it is in today.
In two blog posts, Naïve and Are We Entitled to Entitlements?, there is much said in regards to this issue of big government and big business. Ultimately, neither is good for society. There needs to be a balance. Until the American people recognize this, neither political party of the Republicans or Democrats will be able to accomplish anything sustainable that will set the nation back on a course to prosperity.