Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Breaking down the stimulus plan

As a visual learner, I'm a big fan of maps, charts, and graphs. So when I came across this illustration of the government stimulus package, it was a real "aha" moment for me. And while a picture's worth a thousand words, this chart's worth about 820 billion dollars.

I have real concerns with the government trying to control a free market economy. The beauty of capitalism is that the system naturally corrects itself if the government just stays out of it. As Will Rogers put it, "Things in our country run in spite of government, not by aid of it." Yes, some businesses will fail, but others will take their place. Just imagine if IBM had received a massive government bailout in the late 1980's. Microsoft may have never emerged as a new leader in technology and innovation.

I believe much of this recession is owed to increasing government programs, taxation, and regulation. According to Romans 13:4, the main purpose of government is to be "a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil." In other words, government should protect its citizens and punish wrongful behavior. Government was God's gift to the world to bring stability and the rule of law to human society after the Flood (Gen. 6:11-12; 9:6).

Clearly, the US government has outgrown this original plan. It's now heavily taxing and regulating everything, and driving many businesses overseas. But while I believe our government has grown much too big, I'm also reminded to render to Caesar what is Caesar's (Matt. 22:21) and to submit to the governing authorities God has placed over me (Rom. 13:1). I don't agree with how our state and federal government are handling this financial crisis, but I still need to honor God by honoring my leaders.

HT: Tim Challies

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