Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Moochers or Producers

In April 2013, the President finally submitted his version of the next fiscal budget to Congress, albeit a few months late. One of the controversial measures of his budget that has not received much media attention is his attempt (in violation of campaign promises) to “rein in cost-of-living adjustments for veterans’ benefits and Social Security.” All the while, he offered no such “reining in” of most other government handouts to other “entitled” groups. What does that say about the morality of this budget? What would the passing of this budget say about the morality of our elected leaders? What does the near zero opposition by the media and the electorate say about the morality of our nation?

In my prior post, I exposed how our country has foolishly exchanged our long-standing Judeo-Christian moral framework for an empty counterfeit that I referred to as “the pursuit of happiness.” This happiness-based morality is one that seeks to make legal whatever makes individuals “happy.” And, this also results in attempts to appease the self-centered masses with handouts borrowed from our children and grandchildren. The President’s budget is yet another example of just that. In truth, the morality of a nation is easily measured by what it values. And, what a nation values is easily measured by a combination of the government spending that it expands versus the spending that it cuts. And, in the case of the President’s budget, he seeks to expand the vast majority of handouts (to those who paid in or served very little), while cutting those that belong to veterans and the elderly (those who paid in or served very much). On its face, that is quite easy to judge.

On January 20, 1961, in the concluding statements of his inaugural speech, John F. Kennedy famously said, “And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” How can anyone morally argue against the values of those wonderful words? They are even more profound today than when they were first spoken. And, they are more ignored today than ever before. The truth is that we were not founded as a nation for the purpose of taking from producers to give to moochers. In fact, the Preamble to the Constitution reads, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Our nation and its Constitution were designed to “provide” for the common defense and “promote” general welfare, not the other way around. Frankly, it is unconstitutional to provide general welfare at the expense of “common defense” (as the President’s budget seeks to do). And, it is simply immoral to rob from veteran Peter to pay freeloader Paul.

Constitutionally speaking, veterans, who risked their lives to protect our country, are the group who are most entitled to compensation from everyone else. And, they should receive compensation from our country for the rest of their lives, without attempts at cutting. Veterans’ benefits should be the last thing cut, if ever. And, if someone dies in service to their nation, their family should receive compensation for what would have been the rest of his or her life. This does not mean that a life has a monetary value. It simply means that we value their service and should provide for the family that endured such a great loss in protecting the rest of us. With regards to the elderly, for the most part, they have responsibly paid into Social Security their entire lives. They should not pay the price for our government’s irresponsibility. With regards to freeloaders, if someone takes a handout they should serve their country in some way (military or otherwise). Therefore, if someone is unwilling to serve, they are unworthy of compensation. And, breathing does not qualify as service.

Regarding Biblical support for such conclusions about morality, Paul implored us in II Thessalonians 3:10, “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” It could not be clearer than that. Also, I Timothy 5:18 says, “The laborer deserves his wages.” Further, God’s law requires that the wages of those in military service shall be comparable to (the same as) wages for those who stay home (I Samuel 30:21-25). God also required that the cost of war should be paid for by the enemy (Numbers 31:27). With regards to the elderly who have contributed (loaned) to Social Security, Romans 13:7 says, "Pay to all what is owed to them."

I have much doubt that the President’s budget will pass with the necessary votes, as he has yet to successfully pass a single budget during his last four years in office. But, it is the attempt, the lack of specific accountability, and the lack of our national outrage that speak volumes about the lack of our morality.