Tag Archives: Spending

Wayne Grudem explains what the Bible says about spending, saving and charity

Bible study that hits the spot
Bible study that hits the spot

A practical lecture on money – spending, saving, charitable giving – from famous pastor Wayne Grudem.

I like the way that Wayne Grudem navigates the Bible finding the passages that tell you who God is, so that you can make better decisions by analyzing alternatives and choosing the one that gives your Boss a maximum return on investment. He’s very practical.

The MP3 file is here.

The PDF outline is here.

Spending:

  • Christianity does not teach asceticism (= don’t enjoy anything in this world), Paul condemns it in 1 Timothy 4:1-5
  • When you buy nice things, even if it is a little more expensive, it’s an opportunity to be thankful for nice things that God has provided
  • Even being rich is OK, but don’t let it make you haughty and arrogant, and don’t set your hopes on your money (see 1 Tim 6:17)
  • It is important for you to earn money, and you are supposed to use it to support yourself and be independent
  • It is possible to overspend and live recklessly (Luke 15:13) and it’s also possible to overspend and live too luxuriously
  • Increasing your income through career progression is wise, because it allows you to give away more and save more
  • God gives us freedom to decide how much we spend, how much we give away, and how much we save
  • every choice a Christian makes with money will give him or her more or less reward in his or her afterlife
  • Do not spend more than you have – you should make every effort to get out of debt as quickly as possible

Saving:

  • Saving money is wise so you can help yourself and others, and have money in your old age when you will not be working
  • If you do not save your own money, you end up being dependent on others (e.g. – family or taxpayers)
  • Not saving money for the future is a way of “putting God to the test” (Matt 4:7)
  • You are to “be dependent on no one”, to the extent that you can (1 Thes 4:12)
  • We don’t know the future, that’s why we should prepare for an emergency, and buy insurance to guard (James 4:13-17)
  • It’s right for us to learn how to save to be able to buy bigger assets, like a car or a college education
  • Saving and investing in stocks and bonds lets people in business start and grow companies, creating jobs and new products
  • Don’t over-save, trusting too much in money more than you trust in God (Ps 62.10; Matt 6:19,24; Luke 12:15-21)

Giving:

  • it is required for the people of God to give something out of what they earn, but no percentage is specified (Deut 26:12-13)
  • you do not give money to become right with God, you can’t earn your salvation
  • a Christian gives to show God that you trust him to take care of you, and to experience trusting him through your giving
  • the quality of your resurrection life with God is affected by giving you do for the Kingdom (Phil 4, Matt 6:19-21; 1 Tim 6:18-19)
  • when you get involved in the lives of others and give to them, you have the joy of experiencing caring for others (Acts 20:35)
  • it’s possible to give too little, but it’s also possible to give too much – be careful about pride creeping in as well

The first part of this lecture made me think of my treat for the week, which is to get a double chicken burrito bowl after my weight lifting. It is very easy to say grace when you are hovering over a double chicken burrito bowl. It is good to have nice things especially when it makes you thankful for what you have.

I was so happy listening to this talk because he was condemning bad stewardship, which I see in a lot of young people these days. I was happy until he got to the part about trusting in your savings for your security, and then I thought – that’s what I do wrong! I save a lot but it’s not just for emergencies and to share with others, like he was saying – I want a sense of security. This was more of a temptation in my 20s than it is now in my 30s, though.

Charity should hurt

I can remember being in my first full-time job as a newly hired junior programmer when the 2001 recession struck. I would cry while signing checks to support William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith ministry, because I was so scared. I had no family or friends where I lived to help me if anything went wrong, and that’s been the story of my working life. If anything goes wrong, there is no backup. But it’s that experience of crying when I gave that allows me to say today “that’s when I became the man I am, that’s what a man does when he is a follower of Jesus”. If you are not doing the actions of charity, then you will not having the experience of trusting God and letting him lead you. There is more to the Christian life than just saying the right things – you have to do the right things.

Don’t follow your heart

If you’re scared about giving when you are young, then do what I did in my 20s: work 70-hour weeks, get promoted often, and save everything you earn. I volunteered every Saturday for 9 months in order to get my first white-collar part-time job when I was still in high-school. The faster you increase your savings, the easier it’s going to be to take a genuine interest in caring for the people around you. Read Phil 1 (fellowship), Phil 2 (concern for others), and Phil 4 (charity). Turn off your emotions and desires when it comes to choosing what to study and what work to do, and put Philippians into practice. Your freedom to give is very much tied to the quality of your decisions of what to study, where to work, how much you spend on entertainment, and so on. That’s why you need to turn off your feelings and desires and do what works, even it it’s not fun, and even if it involves responsibilities, expectations and obligations.

Is government good at spending taxpayer money to stimulate the economy?

Canada Election 2015: Socialists in red, Communists in Orange, Conservatives in blue
Canada Election 2015: Socialists in red, Communists in Orange, Conservatives in blue

I’ve been seeing a lot of talk up north in Canada from the substitute drama teacher they elected about how he wants to stimulate the economy by taking money out of the productive private sector and putting into the inefficient, wasteful public sector.

Here’s an example of how he intends to stimulate the economy, as reported by Life Site News. (H/T Kevin the Super-Husband)

It says:

The Liberal government is pledging $81.5 million to the United Nations’ Population Fund to fund “sexual and reproductive health services and rights,” International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced Monday.

And that could include access to abortion in countries where it is legal, according to a “senior government official,” who told iPolitics reporter Amanda Connelly that the individual countries in the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) are free to allocate funding to provide access to abortion.

“Sexual and reproductive health services and rights” is well-known UN-speak for contraception and abortion on demand, noted Campaign Life Coalition’s Matt Wojciechowski, who represents CLC at the United Nations.

The Liberals’ decision is a reversal of the Conservatives’ stated ban on abortion funding as part of international aid in the 2010 Muskoka Initiative on Maternal Health.

At that time, the Conservatives pledged $2.8 billion over five years towards improving maternal health and the lives of newborn infants in developing countries, but the initiative, including the Tories apparent refusal to fund abortion, was subject to ongoing criticism.

The Conservatives pledged a further $3.5 billion from 2015 to 2020 for maternal, newborn and child health care projects in developing nations in May 2014, at which time Harper was again criticized when he reiterated that his government would not fund abortion overseas as part of that initiative.

The Liberals promised during the October 2015 election campaign that they would “cover the full range of reproductive health services as part of the [Muskoka] initiatives,” which a Liberal Party official at the time confirmed included abortion where legal, reported Connelly.

“Canada is committed to universal access to sexual and reproductive health services and rights,” Bibeau stated in a press release Monday. “We also believe that programming decisions on these matters should be driven by evidence and outcomes, not ideology.”

Trudeau has been very energetic about how he is going to stimulate the economy by taking money from job creators in the private sector and spending it to “create jobs”. Well, this is what happens when Christians vote for government to “create jobs” by “infrastructure spending”. And they are going to be running budget deficits much worse than what they promised. This is what the vast majority of Canadians voted for in their last election.

But we also waste money down here in the United States, too. Do you ever wonder what happens to the cut that the government takes out of your pay for your private sector activities? The Constitution sets out areas where the federal government is authorized to spend money. But the Democrat Party doesn’t believe in the Constitution, they believe in buying votes and pushing the culture to the left.

Congressional Budget Office: Debt to GDP ratio
Congressional Budget Office: Debt to GDP ratio

Here’s a story from the Daily Caller to explain what stimulating the economy looks like in the United States. (H/T Dad)

Excerpt:

Academics at the University of Oregon have determined that glaciers and the science that studies them are deeply sexist.

“Merging feminist postcolonial science studies and feminist political ecology, the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions,” reads the paper’s abstract. The research was published in the peer-reviewed journal Progress in Human Geography in January.

The study, by historian Dr. Mark Carey and some student researchers, was financially supported by taxpayer dollars. The National Science Foundation (NSF) gave Carey a five-year grant which he used to write his “feminist glaciology” paper. Carey has received $709,125 in grants from the NSF, according to his curriculum vitae.

“Most existing glaciological research – and hence discourse and discussions about cryospheric change – stems from information produced by men, about men, with manly characteristics, and within masculinist discourses,” Carey wrote. “These characteristics apply to scientific disciplines beyond glaciology; there is an explicit need to uncover the role of women in the history of science and technology, while also exposing processes for excluding women from science and technology.”

Carey concluded glacier research is intertwined with gender relations, masculine culture, geopolitics, institutional power and racism — these apparently led to to glacier-related academic and governmental jobs being predominantly filled by men. Damages from melting glaciers target women and ethnic minorities, who “are more vulnerable to glacier changes and hazards than are men,” according to Carey.

That’s a shovel ready project, right there. That will create jobs for sure. And no wonder that people in academia tend to support Democrats. They support Democrats for the same reason that people on welfare support Democrats – because that’s where they get their money for sitting around doing nothing. Private sector research into new products and services is more useful, and doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime.

Public Works

Henry Hazlitt’s book “Economics in One Lesson” explains the problem with taxing the private sector to build public works.

Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson, chapter 4, entitled “Public Works Mean Taxes”.

Excerpt:

Therefore, for every public job created by the bridge project a private job has been destroyed somewhere else. We can see the men employed on the bridge. We can watch them at work. The employment argument of the government spenders becomes vivid, and probably for most people convincing. But there are other things that we do not see, because, alas, they have never been permitted to come into existence. They are the jobs destroyed by the $10 million taken from the taxpayers. All that has happened, at best, is that there has been a diversion of jobs because of the project. More bridge builders; fewer automobile workers, television technicians, clothing workers, farmers.

And consider Chapter 5 as well, entitled “Taxes Discourage Production”.

In our modern world there is never the same percentage of income tax levied on everybody. The great burden of income taxes is imposed on a minor percentage of the nation’s income; and these income taxes have to be supplemented by taxes of other kinds. These taxes inevitably affect the actions and incentives of those from whom they are taken. When a corporation loses a hundred cents of every dollar it loses, and is permitted to keep only fifty-two cents of every dollar it gains, and when it cannot adequately offset its years of losses against its years of gains, its policies are affected. It does not expand its operations, or it expands only those attended with a minimum of risk. People who recognize this situation are deterred from starting new enterprises. Thus old employers do not give more employment, or not as much more as they might have; and others decide not to become employers at all. Improved machinery and better-equipped factories come into existence much more slowly than they otherwise would. The result in the long run is that consumers are prevented from getting better and cheaper products to the extent that they otherwise would, and that real wages are held down, compared with what they might have been.

There is a similar effect when personal incomes are taxed 50, 60 or 70 percent. People begin to ask themselves why they should work six, eight or nine months of the entire year for the government, and only six, four or three months for themselves and their families. If they lose the whole dollar when they lose, but can keep only a fraction of it when they win, they decide that it is foolish to take risks with their capital. In addition, the capital available for risk-taking itself shrinks enormously. It is being taxed away before it can be accumulated. In brief, capital to provide new private jobs is first prevented from coming into existence, and the part that does come into existence is then discouraged from starting new enterprises. The government spenders create the very problem of unemployment that they profess to solve.

We need to realize that outside of Constitutional spending authority, taxes are a waste of money. We’re $19 trillion in debt. We can’t afford talk of “stimulating the economy” through government spending. It’s a lie. Government spending kills job creation. They can hide the impact by adding the spending to the debt, but eventually, we do feel the impact of wasting money. Especially the foolish young socialists, who are going to have to pay it all back.

Ted Cruz’s plan to lower taxes and simplify the process for filing tax returns

How to get kissed: Heidi Cruz helping her husband
How to get kissed: Heidi Cruz helping her husband

Ted Cruz is very upset with the IRS for discriminating against conservative groups and Christian groups in order to get Barack Obama re-elected in 2012. So, he’s come up with a plan to drastically reduce their influence – and their cost to taxpayers.

Here he is talking about the plan with Megyn Kelly on Fox News.

And he has posted something about the plan on his web site:

Under the Simple Flat Tax, the current seven rates of personal income tax will collapse into a single low rate of 10 percent. For a family of four, the first $36,000 will be tax-free. The Child Tax Credit will remain in place, and the Simple Flat Tax Plan expands and modernizes the Earned Income Tax Credit with greater anti-fraud and pro-marriage reforms.

[…]The IRS will cease to exist as we know it, there will be zero targeting of individuals based on their faith or political beliefs, and there will be no way for thousands of agents to manipulate the system.

For businesses, the corporate income tax will be eliminated. It will be replaced by a simple Business Flat Tax at a single 16 percent rate. The current payroll tax system will be abolished, while maintaining full funding for Social Security and Medicare.

The convoluted tax code will be replaced with new rules of the game – so simple, in fact, that individuals and families could file their taxes on a postcard or phone app. The Death Tax will be eliminated. The Alternative Minimum Tax will be eliminated. The tax on profits earned abroad will be eliminated. And of course, the Obamacare taxes will be eliminated. Also gone will be the unending loopholes in the current code, the stacks of depreciation schedules for businesses, and the multi-tiered rates on income and investments. Under the Simple Flat Tax, the Internet remains free from taxes.

Simple.

The Tax Foundation, which is the leading non-partisan think tank that deals with the issue of taxation, scored Cruz’s plan.

They say:

  • Senator Cruz’s plan would cut taxes by $3.6 trillion over the next decade on a static basis. However, the plan would end up reducing tax revenues by $768 billion over the next decade when accounting for economic growth from increases in the supply of labor and capital and the much broader tax base due to the new value-added tax.

  • According to the Tax Foundation’s Taxes and Growth Model, the plan would significantly reduce marginal tax rates and the cost of capital, which would lead to a 13.9 percent higher GDP over the long term, provided that the tax cut could be appropriately financed.

  • The plan would also lead to a 43.9 percent larger capital stock, 12.2 percent higher wages, and 4.8 million more full-time equivalent jobs.

  • On a static basis, the plan would cut taxes by 9.2 percent, on average, for all taxpayers.

  • Accounting for economic growth, all taxpayers would see an increase in after-tax income of at least 14 percent at the end of the decade.

They conclude:

Senator Cruz’s tax plan would significantly alter the federal tax code. It would completely repeal the corporate income tax and all payroll taxes and enact a 10 percent income tax and a 16 percent “business transfer tax” or value-added tax. These changes to the tax code would increase the incentives to work and invest and would greatly increase the U.S. economy’s size in the long run, leading to higher incomes for taxpayers at all income levels. The plan would also be a large tax cut, which would increase the federal government’s deficit by over $3.6 trillion on a static basis. Accounting for the growth caused by the plan, federal revenues would decline by $768 billion over the next decade.

The non-partisan The Hill says that another major think thank for fiscal conservatism also likes Cruz’s plan:

Ted Cruz’s tax plan would cost less and stimulate the economy more than Donald Trump‘s, a recent analysis found.

“Of the two proposals that we have examined so far, those by Trump and Cruz, we find the Cruz proposal to be the better of the two,” said David Tuerck, executive director of the Beacon Hill Institute and senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis. The free-market groups released a report comparing the economic effects of the tax plans from the two Republican presidential candidates.

[…]Cruz’s plan would also increase business investment and personal income more than Trump’s plan would, the report found.

I want a higher personal income, and I want more money invested into the business that employs me – so I can keep my job, or maybe find a better one. It’s very important to my life plan that I be able to earn money, and keep what I earn. I have a use for that money, whether I marry or not. And that use is not to give it to the government so they can buy people condoms and abortions in exchange for their votes. I have a better plan for the money I earn than what a secular government wants to do with it.

Now, Ted Cruz will have to come up with $768 billion in revenue to balance his plan, but that’s why he has promised to abolish or significantly reduce FIVE government departments. Don’t worry, they aren’t the useful ones. We have too much government, and we can get rid of some, and return the money to the people.

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CBO: national debt will rise to $30 trillion in the next decade

Democrats took control of government spending in 2007
Democrats took control of government spending in 2007

The Washington Times has a warning for all the young voters who are freaking out over the spending promises of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Here it is:

The federal government will be flirting with $30 trillion in debt within a decade, the Congressional Budget Office reported Monday, blaming an aging population, new spending and tax cuts approved on Capitol Hill, and the growing burden from Obamacare for erasing the progress Washington had made over the past few years.

Analysts said Obamacare will chase more workers out of the labor force over the next five years, adding pressure to an economy still struggling to spring to life more than seven years into the Obama recovery.

The Affordable Care Act itself is still struggling to attract a customer base, the CBO said, lowering its estimate for the number of people who will sign up for the exchanges from 21 million to 13 million — a drop of nearly 40 percent in projections. Customers collecting taxpayer subsidies this year will be 11 million, down from the 15 million the CBO projected a year ago.

[…]Deficits will continue to rise over the next 10 years, topping $1 trillion again in 2022 and reaching $1.4 trillion in 2026, the analysts said.

Basically, we’ve dug ourselves into a whole with all this spending – taking money out of the productive private sector and giving it to the wasteful public sector.

How wasteful?

This wasteful:

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is spending $80,000 to see what effects space flight has on oral herpes.

The federal space agency has awarded multiple grants and contracts to a researcher at the University of Florida to determine the “Effect of Spaceflight on Herpes virus Genome Stability and Diversity,” beginning last summer. The project recently received an additional $15,000 in December.

“The goal of this study will be to determine the changes in the genomic and mutational diversity that is present in the Herpes virus virome present in astronaut saliva and urine samples collected before, during, and after space flight,” according to NASA’s description of the research. “Ground subjects will serve as the control group providing saliva and urine samples preflight and postflight during the same schedule as the astronauts.”

That $80,000 was taken from private sector businesses and individual families. They could have spent it on jobs, innovation or consumer spending. But instead the government took it and wasted it on garbage.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz
Texas Senator Ted Cruz

There is someone who has a plan to deal with these deficits. And his plan is to shut down or scale back many government departments.

Ted Cruz:

For the individual income tax under his tax reform, Cruz’s plan provides for one flat rate of 10% on everything – wages, capital gains, dividends, personal business income, rent, interest, and all other forms of individual income. The corporate income tax would be abolished, and replaced with a 16% Business Flat Tax, which applies to sales of goods and services, minus all purchases and expenses for inputs for production. It automatically provides for immediate “expensing,” or an immediate deduction for all purchases of plant and equipment, and all other capital investment, which inherently involves purchases of inputs from other businesses. It is essentially a consumption tax for business.

That net business tax, which also automatically abolishes all special-interest, corporate-welfare loopholes, raises an enormous amount of revenue, $25.4 trillion over the first 10 years alone. This enables the plan to include abolishing the Social Security and Medicare payroll tax, which is the highest tax most working people pay, with Social Security and Medicare financed in full. It also enables the plan to include abolishing the death tax, the Alternative Minimum Tax, and all Obamacare taxes, as well as the corporate income tax. With a standard deduction of $10,000 per adult, and a $4,000 personal exemption, the first $36,000 of income for a family of four would be exempt from all significant federal taxes.

Because such tax reform would be enormously pro-growth, the Tax Foundation scores it on a dynamic basis as a net tax cut of $768 billion over the first 10 years. The Tax Foundation, which has developed a formal, sophisticated, and thorough economic model of the economy, estimates Cruz’s tax reform would create nearly 5 million new jobs, increase wages by 12%, and increase real economic growth over the next decade by nearly 14% more than under current tax policies. The after tax income of all workers would increase by 21.3% on average, with those in the bottom 20% of the income ladder seeing income increases of 15.3%.

Cruz intends to pay for these tax cuts by reducing the size and scope of government – pushing many federal responsibilities down to the state level, where there is more accountability to the people.

The four agencies are the standard four that most conservatives want to abolish or streamline:

  • Department of Energy (raises energy prices for individuals and businesses)
  • Department of Commerce (hands our taxpayer money to businesses favored by big government)
  • Department of Education (indoctrinates children in big government dogma, e.g. – global warming)
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development (caused the housing bubble recession by forcing banks to loan money to unqualified individuals, then bailed them out with taxpayer money)

Many other smaller government departments would be streamlined or eliminated. There would be a hiring freeze in the federal government, and pay increases would be based on merit, not tenure. Cruz would also save a trillion dollars over 10 years by repealing Obamacare, and replacing it with a consumer-driven alternative.

Although young people are in love with the idea that government will give them things by taxing others, that’s not sustainable. They ought to be voting for someone who wants to cut spending and cut government.

Liberal Party has made Ontario’s economy a disastrous failure

Liberal Party has dominated Ontario since 2003
Liberal Party has dominated Ontario since 2003

I like to follow the economic situations in the most liberal Canadian provinces to see how bad things can get when liberals are in charge. This article is by Joe Oliver, who I have mentioned before on this blog.

Here’s the article from the Financial Post:

The numbers tell the story. Ontario is the largest sub-national debtor in the entire world, just one alarming distinction. Its debt is more than twice that of California, a state with three times the population and one that has its own severe fiscal problems. Its debt is $294 billion, or over $21,000 per capita. Net debt to GDP is up 48 per cent in the past 10 years to almost 40 per cent, second only to Quebec. Last year’s interest obligations totalled $11.4 billion, about the same as the cost of community and social services. I doubt many Ontarians realize how much they are paying just in interest on the provincial debt. It averages $840 per person every year and rising. Not surprisingly, Standard and Poor’s downgraded Ontario’s bond credit from AA- to A+, citing a very high debt burden and very weak budgetary performance

The energy sector is nationalized in Ontario – there is no free market competition, it’s all government-run. Consumers have one choice when they want to purchase electricity – the provincial government. How well has nationalizing the energy sector (“Ontario Hydro”) worked out?

Some of its biggest problems are self-inflicted. Recently, we received a stunning revelation from Bonnie Lysyk, the province’s Auditor-General. In the past eight years, electricity cost $37 billion above market price. Even more staggering, it will pay a further $132 billion above market by 2032. The by-now infamous Green Energy Act guaranteed the price for wind and solar, so that they cost double and 3.5 times the U.S. market price respectively. As a result, energy costs have skyrocketed by 70 per cent, a regressive tax that hurts lower income earners disproportionately and depresses personal consumption. Higher energy costs also render businesses less competitive, which discourages job-creating capital investment.

Surprise! Green energy doesn’t lower electricity bills. But that hasn’t stopped the Liberal government from jumping into it with both feet.

There is no respect for the taxpayer in Ontario… every dollar earned there is seen by the ruling elite as more fuel for her vote-buying schemes. They want to spend their way to prosperity, as if spending money in the right way will cause economic growth. Well, here’s the truth: the government can never cause the people who start businesses and create value to produce more by taking more from them. The more the government takes from job creators, the more job creators scale back their productivity.

We should learn from the failure of socialism in other countries so that we don’t repeat their mistakes here.

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