States Starving for Cash Look to be Fed

As the economic recession continues to loom large, state governments in the U.S. are also lining up hoping the federal government is going to bail them out of their own economic crises.  Logically, it seems to me anyway, there are two opposing desires in the U.S. that cannot be reconciled:  the desire to have no taxes on the one hand, and on the other, the desire to have a government which can solve all problems (mostly by tossing money at them).   American state governments got into the cut taxes mode, apparently thinking cutting taxes is always the way to stimulate growth.  However, at a time when taxes are pretty low, the growth has not only stopped but the economy has contracted and now the governments have large financial outlays with no way to pay for them.  Cutting taxes even further can neither stimulate the growth nor pay for all the commitments.

I saw in the paper the other day that state governments have gotten in line asking the federal government for a bailout, and the total of requests from the states is about 1 trillion dollars.   Whatever happened to fiscal conservatism?   No state government,  even conservative ones, is willing to wait for prosperity to trickle down – they want the federal floodgates opened and opened immediately.    Belt tightening is apparently never politically acceptable in America.  And we are either an extremely short-sighted people and have forgotten that what we do today will have to be paid for tomorrow, or we are a forever hopeful people trusting that massive federal spending is the answer to a shrinking economy (and every other national or international problem).    We do print “In God We Trust” on the dollar, but is it God or the dollar we really trust to bail us out of our financial difficulties?   It is as if we hope the federal government’s printing “In God We Trust” billions of times will simultaneously influence God like the prayers of a righteous person.   If we print “In God we Trust” often enough, maybe even God will believe we do and so bless America.    That surely would be a lot easier than actually having to change our indebting spending habits and money loving ways.   Jesus may have taugt you cannot love God and mammon, but Americans seem willing to try to prove Him wrong.

mercytochristMoney is a good servant, but a bad master.   So, no matter how the economic crisis turns out, who will we be serving in the end?  Who are we trying to serve right now?

In any case, the crises of the state governments forcing them to ask the federal government for a bail out caused me to think of this headline –   STATES STARVING FOR CASH LOOK TO BE FED.

Our nation recently implemented all kinds of welfare reform to kick a host of “freeloaders” off of the public dole.  Now it is the banks, lenders, the auto industry, and the states themselves who have lined up for the hand outs.  American ethics are such that we are more comfortable with this kind of welfare, even if it is millionaires and the upper class who benefit most from it.   Giving to the poor is giving with no hope of getting someting in return – meaning no benefit to the economy (Is the economy really the god in whom we trust?).

Maybe we will learn some valuable lessons from the current economic crisis.   Maybe we will take a serious look at health insurance and think about a plan that can benefit everyone (the uninsured and medical providers).  Maybe we will look at our dependency on oil and consider a use  tax that will raise money to find other/better sources of energy.  Maybe we will rethink our spending habits, reliance on debt, selfishness, greed, sense of entitlement, wastefulness, lack of concern for the common good, and self-centeredness.  

This all of course assumes we are willing to look into the abyss of the recession as somehow reflecting the true depth of our souls to see if we can find a way to become better people as a result of the crisis we are in.   The recession says something about us as a nation – our values and priorities and character and heart.   What lessons will we learn about ourselves and our relationships to one another and to the world?

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