Every week a hundred stories, if not a thousand, illustrate the truth that the Bible is the most relevant and reliable book on the
school’s library shelf. Having been a preacher for almost 50 years,
it is my purpose to pick a story each week that illuminates the impact the
Bible has had, could have, or should have on “modern” mankind.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s War on Poverty.[i] Does any student of history remember the 100 year war? I wondered how stupid could people be—well… Johnson proved there is always a bigger idiot. His War on Poverty could last a thousand years if it doesn’t bankrupt America first.[ii]
There is no bigger idealistic idiot than someone who thinks mankind can solve poverty. Entering the ring at 2 trillion pounds of hubris—Barrack Obama with his plan to create “Promise Zones.”[iii] And—how much will these zones cost? Can anyone say “TRILLIONS?” The government already spends one trillion dollars annually on 80 programs designed to defeat poverty.[iv] Will more government spending really end poverty?
Since Johnson’s declaration of war, the government has spent over 20 trillion dollars to wipe out poverty.[v] Strangely, the rate of poverty has not gone down, although spending has gone up.[vi]
So, what does the Bible have to say about poverty?
First, a little prospective is needed to illustrate the foolishness of the War on Poverty. If the government really wanted to help the poor, simply hold a daily lotto drawing with a $2 million jackpot for one family. (This is only $730 million a year—a mountain less than the $1 trillion/year we are spending now. Or you could draw 1369 names per day and still spend $500 million less than a trillion dollars. This plan would reduce the number of families in poverty by 499,685 each year. Within 50 years, 24,984,250 families would be taken out of poverty. This would make a big dent in the 41 million single parent families living in poverty. No, we will never eliminate poverty but this plan should reveal the absurdity of a government run welfare system that has not reduced poverty.)
Put into that lotto the names of the head of the 500,000 poorest families. Each year replace those names with the poorest. Do not include illegal immigrants. Sorry, bleeding heart liberals! But that is not cruel. Do not include the names of legal immigrants because they are coming here for the opportunity to prove they can be successful if given liberty. If they cannot be successful, then they need to return to their home country or have their names placed at end of the list. Every day hold a drawing and remove thousands of families from the poverty list and payments!
To ensure that this family stays out of poverty, the money would be put into a trust fund where the principal could not be touched. A trust fund of $2 million at 8% interest would yield an income of $160,000/year. If a family cannot live on that, then every member needs to get a job. In addition, to keep this trust fund every member of the family would have to get an education and keep a job until retirement. If the family become successful and their fortune exceeded $2 million/individual, then let the original trust fund money return to the lotto to help another family.
Politicians do not want simple, common sense solutions. Yet, this plan would cost less than one trillion dollars per year—which we are already spending on this war—with nothing to show for it. In reality, it would end poverty for thousands of families and genuinely lower the poverty rate.
A government run welfare program is pouring trillions of dollars down a rat hole. The government could give millions of dollars to many in poverty and within a year those same people would be flat broke and back on the government dole. No program will ever eliminate all poverty, and the Bible teaches why that fact is true.
First, the Bible teaches that poverty is the result of sin.
Poverty is part of the curse placed on Adam for his sin when God said that the ground would be cursed with thorns and thistles. Gen. 3:18. Poverty will exist as long as there are weeds—as long as the curse continues upon mankind.
The book of Proverbs gives great insights into poverty—its causes and cure.
In Proverbs 3:31, the king advises his son, “Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.” In other words, poverty is a choice. Many people come to poverty because of personal choices that they make.[vii] The drug addict or alcoholic has made a choice that often leads to poverty. The unwed mother has made a choice that leads to poverty. The parents who spend beyond their means and never save or invest are making a choice. And the beat goes on and on!
Proverbs 10:1 states that “A wise son maketh glad his father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.” This verse teaches that it takes both a mother and father to raise a “wise son.” It is the godly instruction of such a home that helps this child to lead a prosperous and happy life. A major cause of poverty in American is the single parent home. Fewer children live in poverty who are living with two parents.[viii] A two-parent home is one of the best preventatives against poverty.[ix] A godly home is an even better preventative.
Proverbs 10:4 says, “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” One cause of poverty is laziness—the desire to have an easy life. The government programs actually promote this characteristic of poverty. When a person can “get” thousands of dollars by not working, millions of people will take a life of ease—even if the government handouts keep them in the cycle of poverty.[x]
However, the solution is to teach the poor a trade, a skill, and the ability to provide for themselves and their families. As a conservative, I would gladly support a government program to give the poor mother and father a voucher to a two year career program of their choice. Many employers will pay top dollar for certified workers in needed areas. Or give them a four year loan for a college degree in teaching, nursing, or other medical areas. Let this loan be forgiven after 20 years of successful employment. The taxes that they pay will be more than their loan.
Proverbs 13:18 says, “Poverty and shame shall come to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honored.” The instruction that is “refused” is the teaching of God’s laws and God’s Word. Those who take God’s Word and apply it to their lives will prosper. Psalms 1:1-3. Individuals who study God’s Word learn principles that will help them prosper—e.g. the principle of hard work or the principle of the ant that saves for another day, etc. Pro. 6:6.
Proverbs 23:21 says, “For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty…” A very large percent of homelessness comes from alcohol and drugs. Drug addiction is a plague sweeping our land leaving behind multitudes in poverty. How many people are receiving a disability check simply because their alcoholism or drug addiction has destroyed their health and ability to hold a job? As a conservative, I do not mind helping someone “kick the habit” but I also believe they should be drug tested to keep receiving government money.
If they cannot remain sober, then stop the government checks. Would the prodigal son have left the pig pen if he had a government check to sustain his poverty? Sometimes tough love demands that we cut the cords that “enable” the poverty-keeping habits.
Secondly, the Bible teaches that the most hypocritical and wicked make promises to help the poor.
Psalms 10:9 is talking about the wicked and says, “He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net.” This wicked man has set a “net” for the poor. What is that net? It is the promise to “help him.” And our politicians use that net often!
In other words, let the buyer beware! The promises that liberal politicians make are not what they may seem.
President Reagan said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”[xi]
Lying, liberal politicians have been laying that “net” for the poor ever since Roosevelt’s promise of a New Deal and Johnson’s promise of a Great Society.
The proof is in the pudding. The poverty rate has not gone down, yet the percent of people receiving a government handout has spiraled upward.[xii] The end result is that liberal politicians stay in power and trillions of dollars pass through their hands—making them rich and powerful. It also makes them deceitful, hypocritical, and wicked—more dangerous than a hungry lion, according to the Bible.
I may be a “hick from the stick” but I know about “laying a net.” Deer hunters put a feeder in the woods a few months before deer season—laying the net and promising the deer free and easy food. The duck hunters build a blind, set out the decoys, get their Duck Dynasty duck calls, wait for a flock of ducks to fly by, and begin quacking. “Come on down the water is great.” “Come on down, there is plenty of food.” Sure enough, the ducks circle the area looking for hunters, come down for the landing, and “boom—boom—boom.” Duck for dinner!
I was raised on a farm/ranch, and we used the “laying the net” plan all the time. We promised the hogs free food, but we were getting the meal. Laying the net not only provided food, it provided a living. We had chickens for eggs to sell, cows for milk to sell. We offered them free food, free medical care, and free housing; and they gave us a living.
Lying, liberal politicians have been “laying the net” for years. They promise the American people trinkets and beads—free unemployment insurance, free healthcare, free housing, free cell phones, and on and on. Why? This gives them control of millions of votes and trillions of dollars. Not even the richest man on earth controls that much money. More power and money than you can dream of is at their disposal, and all they have to do is “lay the net.”
Vote D if…you want Dripple-down poverty! The net is laid for the poor and the hungry liberal lions wait for their supper.
Third, the Bible identifies the truly needy—the fatherless and widows.
I am glad to help the elderly poor—glad to help the poor orphans find a loving home—glad to help worthy orphanages, but it makes me mad to see young, healthy adults abuse the welfare system. The reason for the abuse is obvious—it pays![xiii]
How many able bodied, healthy grown-ups receive government help? Nobody wants to keep those statistics. Yet, how many times have you stood in the grocery line behind a strong, healthy, young adult pushing five grocery carts full, and then pays for it with the government welfare card? Obama has made sure that “workfare” is no longer a part of welfare.[xiv]
In Exodus 22:22 God commands, “Ye shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child.” An elderly widow and an orphaned child are truly helpless and need compassion. However, this compassion and help is to come from individuals—“Ye.” The Bible nowhere commands governments to take money from the rich—if you have a job, you’re rich—and give it to the poor. Everywhere it commands individuals to be compassionate. Liberals consistently prove they are among the stingiest individuals on God’s green earth.[xv] The liberal’s definition of compassion is to spend someone else’s money!
The most effective way to help the poor is to allow and encourage religious organizations to take up that role. FBOs or Faith Based Organizations should be encouraged by governments rather than hindered by oppressive regulations from bureaucratic dictators.
The least effect method of helping the poor has been government assistance. Charles Krauthammer was asked why he changed from being a liberal to a conservative. He said that as a doctor he had been trained to believe the empirical evidence. After many years of believing in liberal ideals, the empirical evidence had proven that the ideals of the Great Society and the War on Poverty had failed.[xvi] In fact, for 50 years America has spent trillions of dollars, and the poverty rate has not gone down. He saw the lie of liberalism! He saw the trap! He saw the deceit! He realized that conservatism does offer real solutions to real problems.
The truth is that government spending has increased and entrenched poverty in American.[xvii] America has over 41 million single mothers living in poverty.[xviii] Why? Because the government encourages it! Single moms receive thousands of dollars per month per child in government assistance. Why should they get married when the government will be their “daddy”? Why should they get an education when they can have more kids and make more money bilking the system?[xix]
Finally, many liberals like to quote Jesus and say that He was liberal. After all, in Luke 18:22, he commanded the rich man to go sell all that he had and give to the poor... Jesus gave this command to an individual. He never said that governments should take money from the rich or working class and give it to the poor. He commanded this individual to sell all in order to find true riches.
To the contrary, in Matthew 26:11 Jesus said that the poor ye have with you always. He was confirming that poverty is a part of the curse and will always be around. That does not mean you should not have compassion or try to help those who need help. He is only confirming a reality of life that liberals exploit—poverty will always exist. You could give some poor people a million dollars and they would be broke within the year. No one can help people like that.
Here is a Bible paradox. Often the rich in money are poor while the poor in money are actually rich. Psalms 37:16 says, “The little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.” Personally, I grew up in a very poor family. Both of my parents worked hard to provide for their children. They worked their way out of poverty. Their faith in God inspired me. Their love sustained me. In all those years, I never felt “poor” because their love and care made me feel “rich.”
Who’s your daddy? Government!
If liberal politicians and bureaucrats really wanted to reduce poverty, they would remove all the restricted to innovation and free enterprise. What do they do—issue more rules and regulations, by the thousands.[xx]
Some of the details of Obama’s Promise Zones include reduces red tape and reduced taxes. Notice that these lying, liberal politicians really do know what works—and it is conservatism. Why not reduce red tape and taxes across all of America? That really would reduce the poverty rate. If liberalism really works, then why don’t they make these “Promise Zones” a totally controlled socialist Marxist commune. They know that won’t work!
I noticed a commercial asking business to move to New York—the liberal haven. And what was the incentive that they were offering? No taxes!
Beam me up, Scotty!
May God help American to depend on Him and honor His Word.
And may God bless America!