I heard an interesting account recently about a young man who referred to today as Colombia Day? For whatever reason, he didn’t know it was Columbus Day. As I pondered his lack of knowledge, what struck me was that we often blame people for what they don’t know. But, more often than not, a lack of knowledge is symptom of a lack of exposure to the truth. In this case, the young man knew about Columbus. He understood history well enough. But he didn’t realize that the holiday that some observe today was a celebration of Columbus discovering the eastern shores of North America. In fact, he admitted confusion as to why we’d have a Colombia Day.
Realizing that much of the ignorance among a group of people is due to lack exposure to proper information, or exposure to disinformation, is the main reason they are ignorant about a specific topic helps to humble us. It helps us realize that the knowledge we do possess is a precious gift. And it helps us to be compassionate towards those who do not understand. This should result in a desire to kindly inform them.
Often, such attempts are met with uncertainty, incredulous stares, proud rebuttals and even downright denial. As they say, you can lead a horse to water, but stuffing its head under is just going to drown it. So offer what you can. If they’re willing to take more then bring them more. If not, maybe what you’ve said will dawn on them as truth one day. The incredible amount of brainwashing that takes place in any given society takes its toll. Remember, Galileo was tried for heresy in teaching that the planets revolved around the sun rather than that everything revolved around the earth. The people at the time were conditioned to believe something that simply wasn’t true.
This is nothing new. We face the same types of imprinting today. We’re raised thinking certain things are true. An example would be evolution. It’s taught as fact in spite of the reality that it doesn’t even meet the criteria to be a theory. It’s not repeatable. It’s not observable. The proof is lacking. Yet it’s taught as though it’s a foregone conclusion in some circles. Another area, and one that we’ll look at today, is in our current system of bailing out those who are irresponsible. This takes many forms. The most obvious in today’s western economies is in relation to the big banks (bansters, as some call them). These banks have been irresponsible in their lending habits. Now, to be fair, they’ve been encouraged to by the Fed and politicians. But they bought into the scheme and loaned money to people who couldn’t afford it.
Today there is a price to pay. Banks are going bankrupt. But, rather than allowing them to pay the price for their irresponsibility, the government bails them out. Interestingly, many people see no problem with this. It’s perfectly acceptable because, after all, nobody wants to see banks close their doors. We need banks, don’t we? Well, that’s a question for another day. But, simply put, no. Banks can be a great luxury, if used well. They’re a convenience. To the degree that they’re responsible in their practices, they’re good for the economy. But they also have the greatest ability to overextend themselves and make profits from currency they never really own, especially in this day of digital currencies.
Make no mistake. If a major bank fails then the repercussions would be wide spread. Depending upon how big the bank was, it could affect the economies of many countries. However, this has been exacerbated by continuing to prop them up. If they had been allowed to fail on their own merit in the first place, the problem would have been washed out and we would eventually recover. As Cullen Roche points out, by continually bailing them out, we’re not only exasperating the problem, but reducing our standard of living with our efforts.
If you’re in doubt, consider where the government is getting the funding to bail out the banks. Some of it they just print, which results in a form of taxation called inflation. This forced inflation robs you of wealth because it necessarily diminishes the value of your dollars. This is where some of the funding comes from. But most of it comes from the people in the form of taxes. We’re taxed on everything. If we’re employed, our income is taxed in the form of corporate taxes before we ever even get paid. Then we’re taxed when we get paid. Some of the taxes we get taken out of our check while the rest is paid directly by the employer. It’s all cleverly termed in different ways as to make it sound like someone else is bearing the brunt. But the bottom line is that your employer could pay you better if he didn’t have to pay so many taxes. And you would keep more if you didn’t have to pay so many taxes. By taxing you a little here and a little there the illusion that you’re not taxed heavily is maintained.
Suppose you were just paid. Now you have your check and you buy something. Name it – you’re taxed on it. If you take some of that income and invest it, you’ll pay taxes on any increase. This is particularly interesting, in light of the fact that your taxation isn’t adjusted for inflation. For instance, if you have $100 and make 5% on it this year then you now have $105. If inflation is 5% then you’ve actually broken even, even though you have more dollars. Your purchasing power has simply been maintained. However, you will have to pay taxes on the 5% increase anyways. So, in effect, if you simply maintain in regard to inflation then you are actually losing ground in real purchasing power.
Then there is the dynamic of diminishing returns. In other words, the overhead of the bureaucracy that handles those taxes between the time you pay them and the time they’re used to bail out the bank is immense. Of course, your employer has to pay someone to take the taxes out of your pay. Then you pay someone to figure out your annual income taxes. Someone in the tax office has to make sure you’re doing it right. Then it’s distributed to varying bureaucratic agencies in order for them to accomplish whatever task they’re charged with. Each set of hands has overhead, buildings, utilities, benefits and even its own taxes to pay. This means that more hands handle the funds, with each step diminishing the value. I really don’t know how much it costs for each $100 that is used to bail out the banks, but you can rest assured that the rate is more than most investments you or I will ever be a part of.
So, as Peter, you are getting taxed. The government needs a certain amount of funding. But this is irresponsible behavior that diminishes the impact of your contribution to a massive degree. The welfare programs that are growing by leaps and bounds only make it worse. While some people really need some help to get on their feet, it’s mostly become a reward to the irresponsible for their irresponsibility. In fact, some of them are so good at milking the system that they’d take a huge pay cut if they actually worked a job.
The government robs Peter (the tax payers) to pay Paul (the failing banks), taking a cut in the process. The general economy continues to have wealth stripped from it through this scheme. It’s robbery of the people and serves only to line the pockets of the elite. Even the poor are a victim of this system, for it enslaves them to poverty and even taxes them for their trouble. In such a system Peter can’t win. The people are losing ground quickly. Government is getting bigger, taking more and more funding from Peter, squeezing every last gasp out of his emaciated body.
Now, there are those who rise above. Some do so through ingenuity and entrepreneurship. Others do so by leaving, taking their tax dollars elsewhere. Most of us will continue in the system though, striving and struggling to overcome it even as we continue to lose what little we make to the mountain of taxation that continues to bury our McMansions. Make no mistake about it, Peter is a slave to a system that rewards Paul for his irresponsibility.
Who is Paul? Paul has many faces. He’s a big bank. As Simon Black points out in Sovereign Man today, He’s Greece or other insolvent countries. He’s the American who has more debt than he should have ever considered and continues to live beyond his means day in and day out. Paul is irresponsible. And anyone who is responsible either runs or helps support Paul’s habits.
There’s another area where people know very little and yet suppose they know enough. Few have been told the truth about who God is. They attempt to reason in their own minds, or accept the proclamation of some self-proclaimed expert, without ever really examining the evidence for themselves. Don’t take my word for it. Investigate for yourself. See what the Bible says and weigh it against the evidence. If you do so, you’ll find it’s accuracy stunning and it’s claim marvelous. From the dawn of creation the heavens have declared God’s glory (Psalm 19). Even the fact that people deny the self-evident truth of God’s existence is stated clearly in Scripture (Rom 1:18). Regardless of where our knowledge is flawed, this is the one area that has the greatest repercussions. If we neglect other areas we may suffer temporary setbacks and discomfort. If we get Jesus wrong our suffering will not be temporary. Seek the know the truth as it is rather than as men would make it. This will free you in every area of your life.