Tuesday, November 4, 2008

1. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
2. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong
3. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
4. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
5. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
6. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
7. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
8. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
9. You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
10 You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.


Andy said...

Oh snap, well said (or quoted). Fully agree. But you know who doesn't buy into this: poor people. Obama was very smart with his campaign. He played to the unemployed, uninsured, and working poor's sense of "fairness" and entitlement. He sold a vision of an America where you don't have to give to get and where generosity is government imposed. Everyone wants to hear that their situation (read poverty, lack of benefits, unemployment, etc.) is'nt their fault. Looks like I'll have to write in "Subsidize my jobless friends' benefits" into my budget for next year.

Chris/ty said...

Well said Kara. I especially enjoyed the part about not being helpful to people in the long run to do for them what they will not do for themselves. I think Obama's plan will make people dependent on the gov't. I think America will get lazy.

Doreen T. said...

Nice quotes! (Kara tells me that these sentiments were created by the Rev. William J. H. Boetcker, who lectured around the United States about industrial relations at the turn of the twentieth century.)

beaucollins said...

Some of your list seems to be one president too late (items 1, 8 and 9 specifically). Bush spent more and made less and McCain didn't seem to be offering anything different (more expensive war-mongering while decreasing taxes). Conservative economic theory will definitely be put to the test these next four years.

Perhaps you guys will just label me a "liberal" but I've come to believe that people are more important than money, even if that means I will be taken advantage of financially, and it would appear more than 50% of America feels that way. I don't think they were all "unemployed, uninsured, and working poor." Obama seems to have split the "College Educated White" vote. Oh yeah, and there's Warren Buffet and Eric Schmidt. But those guys don't know what they're doing when it comes to money and managing large organizations.

"It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion."

An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations

– Adam Smith

Oh Adam Smith, that crazy socialist. What does he know?

Doreen T. said...

I'm a whole lot older and probably a bit more conservative by nature than Beau, but you might have to call me a "liberal" too....

As an economics major and as someone who has had a lifelong interest in financial matters, I've done a lot of study on what the Bible has to say about economics. If one looks at Leviticus 25, Sabbath/Jubilee economics dictated a redistribution of wealth at specified times. Throughout the Bible, and especially as taught by Jesus, the rich were to share with the poor. After all, who gave the wealth? Who gave the ability to earn income?

The Bible is also very clear about the need for all to work. Yes, all! Can't believe a "retired" person just wrote that!

So my philosophy.... Share the wealth and share the work! Guess that makes me sound like a "socialist."

I'm thrilled with President Obama's ability to motivate involvement; he's a natural leader that people want to follow. I will be praying that he looks to the Lord for wisdom to govern this amazing nation.

(Do you think the Republican Party will come take away my membership card?)

Kara said...

Beau, great comment. I agree with a lot of what you said. I'm really interested in seeing how Obama's economic plan works. It will be hard for him to do worse than Bush's. I'm going to keep my mind open though because I truly believe that Obama is sincere in helping those that are at a disadvantage in this country.

I'm just nervous about how this will all work out because I feel that a lot of governmental programs right now will share the wealth without sharing the work. That seems unfair. Also, I know this is off topic but I believe health insurance is a choice - not a right. People have the right to choice if they want health insurance or not. If they don't have a job that provides it for them then they can get a new job or buy it themselves. That's the beauty of choice.

I know that redistribution of wealth is a biblical concept but I don’t think it’s a great economic concept. I think it takes away motivation, drive and personal initiative. Motivation and drive is what has helped America’s economy to succeed over the years. We may be sacrificing out economy by redistributing the wealth.

beaucollins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beaucollins said...

Obama does have a tough road in the short term. He's got the recession to deal with while making good on at least one of his campaign promises.

My guess is he'll go with health care but that looks like the opposite of what the current economy needs.

I'm optimistic that there will still be plenty of financial motivation even with Obama's social programs but it looks like we will be finding out.

Kara said...


beaucollins said...

(My deleted comment was this, train internet is the worst)

>(Do you think the Republican Party will come take away my membership card?)

My hope is that the days of card-carrying will come to an end.

We can't progress when we are divided.

Stacy said...

Just to jump on the comment bandwagon, I agree with Kara's post and with the comments made by Andy and Kara. And while I understand that biblically "sharing the wealth" is a concept we should embrace, my view is that that is the calling of the church, not of the government. As a church, we should be helping the widows, the orphans, the homeless. We should be embracing those people, loving them and ministering to them. When the government gets involved, I agree with Kara, it opens a scary door where people no longer have motivation or incentive to better their circumstances. It's frustrated me so much this election that tons of Christians are voting for Obama because of the "social change" he would bring when they aren't willing to walk out of their comfortable homes and make that change themselves. (not saying that that is the only reason someone might vote for him, or that all who vote from him fall into that category) Obama isn't going to recify the troubles that plague Americans. He may offer solutions, he may create more problems. But the heart of the struggle of our nation is that we are nation that has turned from Jesus. And until THAT is rectified, until the church lives up to it's calling, I don't think any politician will be the answer.

anne said...

I love it all...

the quote
the comments
the intelligent conversation
the NEED for Jesus above all else!

May we all demonstrate love, compassion, and support for our new leader. May we pray for him and the state of our nation. May we show Christ's love now more than ever! May we do our part to SHOW people (not necessary tell them) that Jesus is the change we need...and may that be the message that comes from the White House!

Andy said...

This is a fun conversation. I agree with some of what you said, Beau. I was just making the point (in a somewhat extreme way) that I think Obama won by appealing to the self-interest of people in a smart way. He focused on change, on universal benefits, on the vilification of the rich and empowerment of the poor, on intangible goals. I don't really think that Obama supporters were all poor and jobless, as he did get a good chunk of all segments of the population, but he did motivate a large group of people that hadn't previously been politically active. He understood and took advantage of the most basic economic principal: People will always act in their own best interest (Doesn't necessarily mean selfishly).

I also agree that Bush's economic policies shouldn't be the example of traditional conservative principals. The last 8 years have been a huge departure from those tenants and the days of Reagan, and I hope to see those come back into play eventually.

I also agree with Doreen that sharing wealth and working are Biblical principals, but I disagree that they should be imposed or supplied by the government. The Bible says we should work and be productive members of society, it doesn't say that it's our governments' job to get them for us. The impetus is on us.

Chris Camp said...

Wait, Beau, how are conservative economic theories going to be put to the test in the next four years?

beaucollins said...


I can see how that phrase is confusing, this is what I mean:

From what I remember in my business finance/macroeconomics classes, the GOP and specifically the Reagan administration operate under the theory that decreasing taxes will increase government income because the economic stimulus from decreasing taxes will increase taxable income above what is lost in the initial tax decrease.

So instead of the government making 25% off of your $100 (a total of $25) they'll make 20% off of your $150 ($30). And don't forget about the trickle down effect. Now that your making $120 of disposable income instead of $75 you can afford to pay your neighbor's kid to mow your lawn so now the government is going to make 20% off his $10 income, and then he's going to be able to buy an ice cream cone from Dairy Queen so Dairy Queen's income will go up and then they'll have to hire more people to be able to keep up with the demand of all of these neighborhood kids wanting to spend their lawn mowing money on ice cream and then bam you've got another income stream to tax ...

More disposable income for you, new jobs and more income from the government, doubleplusgood!

And since the GOP isn't going to spend money on those lazy bums looking for handouts they'll be making more money than they spend which means the federal deficit will decrease and eventually become a surplus.

Since Obama is pretty much going to scrap all of those ideas and the majority Democrat congress will go along with him we should expect to see the opposite. Increased taxes which means decreased government income plus spending for more social programs means a bigger deficit and horrible times for everyone.

So those "conservative economic principals" will be tested, just in the other direction.

I'm sure this is an oversimplification of Reaganomics and college feels like so long ago but that's what I meant.

Andy said...

Nice summary Beau,

The problem is, if Obama's economic plan does seem to work (i.e. the GDP shows gains year-over-year and quarter after quarter instead of the direction it's headed now, and the deficit decreases, etc.), it doesn't say anything about conservative economics.

If good things happen while Obama is in office and his plan "works", it doesn't mean that better things wouldn't have happened with McCain (or preferably someone more conservative) in office. Conversely, if things continue to worsen, it doesn't mean that conservative policies would have performed any better.

It's not that more taxes and increased spending will necessarily mean more deficit, it's that conservatives believe their policies will achieve better results that those policies ever could. Basically, there's an opportunity cost to liberalism.

The only thing being tested in the next four years is the ability of Obama, the very Democratic Congress and their policies to get stuff done that help our situation.

All I can say is I'd rather be wrong about my views on his policies than see our financial situation get any worse.

Chris Camp said...

I agree with Andy but I'd take it a step further even and say that conservative economic theories not only won't be tested in the next four years, they haven't been tested in the last eight years. Turns out that Bush wasn't a fiscal conservative.

beaucollins said...

And thus the problem with John McCain. I think we would have gotten more Bush economics with McCain no matter how many times he said he'd cut "pork barrel spending".

I'm taking Obama's economic opportunity cost over McCains continuation of Bush economics.

Chris Camp said...

Even a little conservative is better than a lotta liberal.

Chris Camp said...

By the way, by "little conservative" I meant McCain and by "lotta liberal" I meant Obama.

Chris Camp said...

Beau I'd like to apologize, that was a rude thing to say. I let my emotions get the best of me. Let the civilized discussion continue!

Anonymous said...

I have to comment on this:
"Also, I know this is off topic but I believe health insurance is a choice - not a right. People have the right to choice if they want health insurance or not. If they don't have a job that provides it for them then they can get a new job or buy it themselves. That's the beauty of choice."

If, as you say, health insurance were to remain a "choice", we will all suffer. If people choose to not have health insurance, they will walk around our society sick! This does no one any good. Also, people without health insurance wait until they are very sick and then finally go to the emergency room. Hospitals must treat them, despite their lack of insurance, and these costs are then passed onto those of us with insurance.
We have got to catch up with other developed nations in this area and take care of our people. We are only as strong as our weakest link. Its easy to say "just buy insurance if you don't get it from your job" when you could personally afford to do so. But insurance is EXPENSIVE, and way too much so for many families who earn minimum wages, especially with gas and food prices rising.

Kara said...

Health insurance is a choice. You can choose to have it or not. If you don't like your minimum wage job, get an education and a better paying job with benefits...or not- that's the beauty of choice. I made choices in my life so that I could have health insurance.

Everyone in the US has access to healthcare. That's not the issue. I'm just saying that health insurance is not a right. It's a choice.

PS... I'm pretty sure you used "we're only as strong as our weakest link" in the wrong connotation. What do I know though...I'm just a girl with a couple of BA's.

Anonymous said...
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Bridget Beth said...

Kara: a couple of questions to clarify because I have a hard time wrapping my brain around the idea of capitalism sometimes...

Do you think that health care is a right? And who do you think should have all the minimum wage paying jobs if everyone in our society decides they choose to get a higher paying job with health insurance? How can people become wealthy if there are not others working for them? If, as a society, we have to have all kinds of jobs and pay levels, is it not only fair that we allow everyone to have basic rights? And what about people who are trapped in their situation for one reason or another?...or do you think that there is no one in America who truly fits that description?

This seriously is not rhetorical or trying to make a point. I would truly like to be able to understand where you, and many many people I have nothing for respect for, are coming from.

Also, while I'm at it...
Why do some Christians want to see some of their beliefs upheld by the state, like abortion and gay marriage, but not other social issues and "sharing the wealth"? How can we say that non believers are not allowed to help people around them because it is only the call of the church? If we are all a part of the same society, why can't we work together towards the same goals?

ps I am not the anonymous person from above.

Kara said...

Good questions bridget.

1. I believe that everyone should have access to healthcare. In this country, everyone does have access to healthcare. If you got into a car accident and got hurt really bad, the hospital will still treat you even if you didn't have insurance. I believe that health insurance is a choice though. Basic rights include food, life, secondary education and healthcare access...not insurance.

2. If everyone wanted to go out and get some sort of education and get a high paying job then a lot of low paying jobs would probably be outsourced somewhere were people would want to be paid lower (different country). Maybe that would happen or maybe the minimum wage would naturally rise because of supply and demand. As long as there are people willing to work at a low wage, we won't have that issue. And there are since no one is forced to work anywhere.

3. I don't want a big government. I want a small government. I want a government that stays out of my life and doesn't tell me what to do with my family, my life, my job and my money. I don't want the government to control every aspect of our lives and society. Our government is known for being terribly inefficient so the bigger it becomes the more inefficient it will be.

I do want to help people. I want to give my money (god's $) and time to help the poor or the disadvantaged. I don't want the government to do it for me though. I don't want the government wasting my money when private organizations (of my choosing) can help better.

I hope this helps you understand my views better. I think a lot of people don't understand that conservatives do want to help others. We just don't want the government to do it for us.

Bridget Beth said...

This is all very fascinating to me. Someday I would like to take a psychology class about how people come to the conclusions they do about society, how growing up in different neighborhoods or churches or incomes might bring people to different conclusions. Our optimism and cynicism for humanity lies on different ends of the spectrum, but I feel like we grew up in very similar situations. (actually, though, I think that if we sat down and talked these things out we'd find mostly common ground. I really label myself a moderate).

My initial thoughts are these..

1. Why does health care only become a right when someone is about to die, or has a severe injury? I know several people who would be dead right now if they had not been diagnosed early. I believe every human being, rich or poor, should be allowed general health care. The whole notion that people have "Healthcare Access" ignores the fact that giving care to uninsured people costs hospitals, insurance companies and the Government a lot of money which in turn means doctors closing up their practices, insurance companies raising their premiums and government spending tax dollars on uninsured people, which is what you're wanting to prevent in the first place. (I know of a doc who has had to work long free hours for uninsured people many times. Obama is his hero).

2. We already do outsource many jobs and it has lead to child labor and unrestricted working hours and a lack of jobs on our own soil. I know that there will always be people willing to work in lower income jobs, but isn't it unrealistic to not allow these people better lives just because a handful of them could make themselves better on their own? We'll never live in a Utopian society, but why can't we have economics that strive for that end goal? I view capitalism that leans toward democratic socialism as the only way we'll ever get rid of our slums. MLK had the same sentiment.

3. I understand the desire for the government to stay out of our business. And I never said, and do not think, that conservatives don't care. I just think that it's interesting how conservatives DO want the government to be in the business of gays and women's bodies and the middle east, but not in other things. I have the same Christian beliefs, I just feel that the government should make different things a priority..for example, preventing abortion with better health care for the poor, clean energy to protect God's kingdom, and seeking peaceful negotiations with other countries. Many conservatives look at Christian liberals as not caring about Christian beliefs..it goes both ways.

It's clear to me, though, that it has come down to a draw. We have conflicting interests but neither can really be said to be right or wrong. The beauty of this nation is that we were both allowed a vote.

Kara said...

Thanks Bridget for sharing your thoughts. I think our difference in views may be a result of you father a doctor and my family being so involved in the financial markets/economy. We agree on the ends (I think) just not the means.

gallion said...

As someone who runs a small business that brings in a heck of a lot more revenue than $200K/yr (sorry Barak) I don't think it's the Governments place to mandate what sort of health insurance we should supply for employees. I think the open marketplace takes care of that and consequently most companies provide a very competitive health package. We definitley have a flawed system, but ultimately the more Government butts in the worse off we will all be in the long run. Becuase of the successes of our great-grandparents, grandparents and parents we are in the midst of an entitlement generation. People no longer see America as a place to live out their dreams and better themselves, they feel that they are "owed" the American dream. Being in the healthcare industry I see this on a daily basis. Our spending on DSHS in the state of WA is criminal and we do not have a good check and balance for our limitlness Government spending. Employemnt taxes, business taxes, health insurance all of these costs continue to rise for businesses. All so we can fund billions of dollars in bailouts to companies and industries who can't manage themselves and write tax rebate checks to people who don't pay income taxes. As stolen from Dori Monson, Benjamin Franklin wrote “When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic"

Doreen T. said...

Just when I thought the discussion was over, I feel the need to "weigh in" once again.

Both capitalism and socialism are economic systems governing allocation of resources (land, labor, capital, etc.) In the purest sense, they aren't necessarily philosophies of life. Where philosophy comes in is usually in relation to regulating greed or promoting justice.

With that said, Bridget, I think you might be advocating something a little closer to what is called the "Just Third Way." The Center for Economic and Social Justice has a chart (http://www.cesj.org/thirdway/comparison3rdway.htm) that compares capitalism, socialism and the "Just Third Way" that you might be interested in. I had to go back and look for the comparison chart when I read your comments because they sounded very similar to what I remembered about the "Just Third Way." If you do take a look at it, I'd be interested to know what you think.

Bridget Beth said...

Kara: I completely agree.

Doreen: WOW. I am absolutely advocating the Just Third Way. (I almost feel like the person who made the comparisons is biased because they make capitalism and socialism look so bad!) With each new box I kept saying, "yes! Exactly!" How fascinating. I'm serious when I say I'm asking questions in search for knowledge. I never took an economics class (I've always been leery of anything with numbers) and am only just now learning about what some of these systems truly mean. I see flaws at either end of the spectrum of politics and am intrigued by the idea of trying something different than what we've always done.

I love the last bit:
Purpose of education is to teach people how to become life-long learners and virtuous human beings, with the capacity to adapt to change, to become masters of technology and builders of civilization through their "leisure work", and to pursue the highest spiritual values.

Thank you for educating me!

Renee Christine Campbell said...

Hi Kara!!

ok - I'm too lazy to do anything but scan everyone's comments up to this point, so I might be saying something that someone else has. But here's one thought:

Yes, I see the Bible commands us to care for the poor. But Israel was a theocracy - so giving to the government was essentially a form of tithe. Idealistically, I believe that everyone should support social programs, but that the appropriation should be of their choosing rather than through a centralized government. This would promote free market within the non-profits. An example: If enough of us choose not to support Planned Parenthood, then the organization would lose influence. As it is, I'm forced to support abortion through my taxes. I would rather take 5% of the money I'm taxed and to give it to Salvation Army, or a clinic that gives health care to kids who qualify.

The two problems I see with this: 1) People are selfish and rarely end up giving as much as they intend. 2) Perhaps centralizing the money (through a government) makes sense financially, because it would provide for better investment and budgeting of the funds.

Krista said...

ok...another health care 2 cents. Kara, if healthcare is a right...who is paying for it when those people go to the hospital? As someone who works in healthcare, the government ends up paying for a lot more than they probably should. Also, these costs do get passed down to insurance companies, resulting in lower reimbursement for healthcare facilities and hospitals fighting to remain viable organizations. I know I am reiterating some of what was previously said, but looking ahead, people that need to be served by healthcare may not be able to be served as private clinics continue closing and hospitals keep being forced to cut back. I love the discussion, and kara am glad you shared the reasoning behind some of your views.