"Or unto governments, as unto them are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well." 1 Peter 2:14
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all mean are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happieness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men..." United States' Declaration of Independence
"It is perfectly kosher to ask God for money. If you are comfortable with prayer, go ahead and include a request for prosperity in your prayers. What you are really asking for is for is the opportunity to serve your fellow human beings.... You can't earn an honest living without pleasing others." Rabbi Daniel Lapin, Thou Shall Prosper, p. 28/33
Yesterday, our pastor gave a sermon that touched on the Biblical precepts for a just civil government. It included the passage from 1 Peter quoted above. That got me thinking about bailouts, regulatory policy, and taxation.
According to 1 Peter, the purpose of civil government is to punish evildoers and praise those that do well. Over the past five (or 100) years, our government has done the opposite. Since 2007 (or 1913), our government has bailed out the evil and punished the good.
Small and medium scale entrepreneurs are both the lifeblood of our economy and the glue that holds our society together. Unfortunately, these are the people who the late Bush/Obama administrations have hurt most. Meanwhile, those firms large enough to afford a large presence in Washington have profited handsomely.
Consider the following examples:
- Bailouts -- I don't want to dwell on this topic, because it's infuriating. Suffice to say that the one thing that automotive unions, green-energy boondoggles, health insurance companies, public sector unions, and Wall St. banks have in common is a large presence in Washington. Meanwhile, small businesses are shutting down in near record numbers.
- Regulatory Policy -- There are plenty of examples of capricious regulation enriching the already powerful while impoverishing the entrepreneurial; EPA abuse and Obamacare get the most press. I, however, want to focus on the 2010 financial reform act, commonly known as Dodd-Frank. The Dodd-Frank law made too big to fail banks bigger than ever, with more risk than ever, and an implicit bailout guarantee. That same law, meanwhile, will drive smaller banks banks out of business. In other words, our government has rewarded the banks that did the most evil with a de facto cartel.
- Taxation -- Much like the bailouts and regulatory abuses discussed above, our tax code punishes righteous entrepreneurs while rewarding those who can afford a Washington presence.
This is not a complete list; I could write a book on this topic, but Sen. Rand Paul already did so.
(Sidenote: A very similar phenomenon exists in the realm of National Security.)
As 1 Peter makes clear, the purpose of government is to praise the righteous and punish evildoers. As a practical matter, that means protecting our rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, then getting the heck out of the way. Unfortunately, our current government does the opposite. That's why we need to dramatically reduce the size, power, and spending of the Federal government, which will free entrepreneurs while making the big boy's Washington connections less valuable. In addition to being common sense, these policies are grounded in solid Biblical truth.