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Is Our Government Broken? 09/19/2008

AIG bailout

Government cannot guarantee success in business.

 

The recent collapse of major financial institutions has left many in a state of shock. Why are our biggest financial institutions going under or being bailed out by the taxpayers?

Blame is being thrown in many directions, but along with those driven by greed, the biggest culprits in the failure are exactly the ones elected to protect the American people from such collapse: Congress. Our misunderstanding of government’s purpose and proper role has led to invasive government “oversight” and intervention in private business. If we understand correctly the role of government and what our founders intended, we will see that it was primarily created to protect citizens from those who would harm them while punishing evildoers. It was never designed to regulate bad business practices.

As it relates to business, government can help provide and protect opportunity and forbid discrimination. Instead, government has become our bailout for bad decisions and the perceived provider of wealth. But government does not create wealth; it can only redistribute it. Government can’t even protect privacy, as seen by the recent publication of Governor Palin’s email and personal information.

The financial upheaval exposes all manner of wrongdoing, from corporate mismanagement and lobbyist greed to unscrupulous politicians who extend their power and influence far beyond ethical (and sometimes legal) boundaries.

For example, when a congressman enables or encourages home ownership through unrealistic loans in order to curry favor among voters and pad the pockets of lobbyists, he or she has fully taken advantage of ordinary people and, in the process, enshrined the government as the provider rather than the protector. This manipulation must be corrected by putting government back into its proper place.

Or consider the despicable practice of credit card companies promising people more credit than they can handle, then jacking up interest rates to the point that it becomes a debtor’s prison. They actually enable and encourage people to use one credit card to pay off another credit card! Then the cycle continues, robbing Peter to pay Paul while the banks tack on exorbitant interest and penalties. The government knows this is going on, but stands by while people are fleeced by the banks. Perhaps even more foolishly, the voters continue electing representatives who perpetuate the problem and, in some cases, make it worse.

Many Americans don’t want to hear the truth and God knows we’re not likely to hear it from most of the media. Bias and hidden agendas put capitalism at serious risk. When we simply take capital and utilize it to protect and increase wealth, just like the farmer who faithfully plows, sows seed and waits for the expected harvest, we can prosper. When we don’t plan, don’t work or don’t learn from mistakes, but wait for government to bail us out, we forsake the freedom of capitalism for the shackles of socialism.

Even in the face of disaster, we see the difference between government dependency and true community. Good neighbors will always help each other out, just as Texans have during Hurricane Ike. It’s amazing to watch how the average citizen effectively helps his or her neighbor and how churches organize as the true providers of aid. Certainly there are times when we need help and most Americans are quick to give it. On the other hand, those who lack the sense or initiative to become a blessing to others only become a burden on us all.

We are living under a true leadership crisis because we don’t understand the principles necessary to keep our society sane and stable. I do not believe that we will see economic stability without returning to an understanding of the proper role of government. It is a fact that people can manage their money better than the government, as long as they are protected by the government from those who mislead or manipulate unsuspecting victims. The FDIC is a government agency in place to protect private citizens’ deposits from foolish or unscrupulous banking practices.

Sadly, government spends too much time protecting bureaucratic turf rather than protecting their constituents. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been in trouble for years, but government has gridlocked any solution up until now. Oddly, the solution to government intrusion and corporate mismanagement is somehow more government control and intervention. Several men in charge of a failed company have walked away with millions of dollars, which appears to be blatantly wrong. It’s as if we asked the foxes to guard the henhouse and when that didn’t work, we allowed them to just take it over!

One of the main reasons that I am calling America to prayer at this time is that we need a return to the core values that made this country the greatest, and even the most prosperous, in history. Understanding the proper role of government and the obligations of free citizens is critical to that re-stabilization. Our founders understood that our freedom will only be preserved by self-government, self-control and a government that encourages these values while enforcing the laws and punishing those who break them. If we continue on this path of government-as-provider, we will soon find that we are slaves to our source.


Author: James Robison

Word Count: 860

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Soul of a Nation, The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.