Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"Hello. I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you"

A lot of talk has been about the possible government bailout that will, theoretically, sustain and stimulate the economy to remain on level ground. From the beginning I’ve had mixed feelings about it. Quite honestly, I am still uncertain about whether I would be for or against such government intervention. This bailout may work; it may not. And yet, folks seem to only focus on the possibility that it may work. Well, the fact that it may not work needs to be given serious attention, if not more attention. Because if the government spends $700 (or more) billion that it does not have and the economy doesn’t resurface, then what do we do? Should the government shell out a trillion dollars?

The thing is this: I don’t have all the answers to these questions. But liberals better start asking themselves these tough questions because the reality is this bailout might do nothing but bring our economy into further debt.

One of my favorite quotes by Ronald Reagan is of him telling a story of a man who one day showed up on his doorstep and said, “Hello, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you…” Reagan’s good-humored response was that nothing frightened him more than to hear that the government was going to try and help. The obvious moral of the story is that, generally speaking, whatever the government gets involved in it messes up. For example, more regulation = a slower economy. More taxes = lower standard of living. Need proof? Take a look at Europe.

One of the great lies in American history is that social programs during The Great Depression brought about positive results – although our government would want us to believe nothing more. Our time is no different. We don’t need the government to unnaturally interfere. Capitalism and a free-market system have withstood the test of time against all odds. Socialism only lowers the standard of living and weakens a nation.

What should we do? I’m not one to say for sure. I did appreciate Hugh Hewitt on his radio show the other day ask a financial expert: “Do we have smart people in Washington handling this issue?” The response was that we have incredibly intelligent and capable folks working hard at making this decision. That is a good thing.

Ultimately, my trust is in the Lord, and I pray for wisdom for those who have the burden of making this momentous decision.



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