Bryan Fischer
Left: Compassion is giving away other people's money
By Bryan Fischer
December 12, 2008

The importance of helping the poor is a priority for the both conservatives and liberals. The critical difference is how that aid to the poor is delivered.

The Judeo-Christian tradition constantly urges compassion and generosity toward the poor. When Paul met with the original apostles in Jerusalem, he reports, "[T]hey asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do (Galatians 2:10)."

Giving is to be voluntary, personal and drawn from one's own resources. As Paul says elsewhere, "Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need (Ephesians 4:29)."

One implication of a biblical worldview is that the voluntary transfer of wealth to the poor is a moral imperative. But the involuntary transfer of wealth, by which the government reaches its hand into your wallet and transfers money directly into the wallets of other citizens is fundamentally immoral and essentially a form of legalized plunder.

Sound public policy would take government out of the charity and welfare business altogether, return all the money it spends on such programs to the American people, and urge them to use it to support the charities of their choice. (The Boise Rescue Mission in my hometown, for example, accepts only voluntary contributions and does not depend on a dime of taxpayer money.)

This would result in genuine accountability, since citizens will only support outreaches they have reason to believe are efficient, honest and effective.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) illustrates the contrast between these views of helping the poor. He said yesterday that the federal government is going to have to spend a "significant" amount of your money to help the nation pull out of the recession.

But he confesses no one really knows how to do this wisely. "We just have to use our best judgment (because) there's no science to this. We just have to spend some significant money."

The purpose of all this mindless and directionless spending is to let the public know that Congress cares. "You start to send the psychological signal that Congress doesn't care. What are people going to do then, if they think Congress doesn't care?"

He admits this approach will balloon the national debt, and has no idea how that debt can be taken care of, and yet claims that Congress will develop a plan. But, he adds, "I'm not saying what that process is. It's a process which is very speculative."

With the federal budget projected to top $1 trillion this year, Baucus' philosophy will inevitably result in an increasingly heavy tax burden for every American family. But this hardly seems compassionate, given the stress family budgets are already experiencing.

Perhaps Congress could show it cares about average Americans by letting them keep more of their own money, and refusing to waste any more of what they do confiscate on pork.

© Bryan Fischer


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