For those who are not Christian, I want to warn you I am writing from a Christian perspective. Feel free to disagree with my position, if you must, but not to attack my faith:
There’s been a fair amount of talk in Republican debates about whether Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. To put it bluntly, as it currently stands, it basically is.
In defense of Social Security, though, while it certainly qualifies, it is not history’s newest, nor history’s largest. That honor belongs to imperialism, the idea of building empires that has existed through the ages and evolved into modern American economic structure.
Throughout history, most generations have had the luxury of living near large unclaimed pieces of land. If they didn’t want to follow the rules of a certain society, they could either migrate to another city or strike off in the wilderness and start their own. In fact, when Paul’s admonition in 2 Thessalonian 2:10 that “if a man does not work, neither let him eat” was penned, this was largely true; a person COULD strike out on their own.
Following cultures had that option, and our nation was founded on that option. Following our nation’s independence, and even long after the Louisiana Purchase, there was still more land unsettled than settled, and in the 1800’s, the Homesteading era ensured that anyone who was willing to brave the wilderness could stake their own claim to a piece of land and make their own way.
Gradually, settlement succumbed to greed and homesteading lands were sold to corporate mining interests, and industrious successful homesteaders bought the land off of those who couldn’t make a go of it. And they bought cheap. As a result, they soon controlled thousands of acres.
But land is finite, and the opportunities presented our ancestors don’t exist today. As a result, the power balance changes less and less, as those who control land and wealth are not inclined to surrender it willingly. Basically, the Ponzi scheme of imperialism paid off to thousands of generations of investors, but reached the point some time back where it could no longer pay out to the existing population.
So there’s the problem, what is the solution?
Ironically enough, a nation that prides itself on being a “Christian nation” must turn to the supposedly secular world for Biblical answers. I say “supposedly”, because while secularists hold this viewpoint, there are also a good number of Christians who do as well. Christians that Glenn Beck has demonized, yet whose philosophy is pulled straight from the pages of Scripture.
First, our nation should observe the Jubilee. I’m sure even many liberal scholars will disagree with me on this statement, but I firmly believe that had we followed the Bible’s economy (up to and including the Jubilee), we would probably not have the cycles of boom and recession that have led to so much deep hurt. I hate to say it, but in this instance, I do believe that the economic hardships we are going through are a direct result of our own sin and refusal to follow God’s law.
Jubilee was the year when slaves were to be returned to their family, but more importantly, it was the date when land was to revert to its original owner and debts were to be cancelled. In America today, while there certainly are millionaires who have come from next to nothing, the vast majority inherited some land and title. While the industrious did increase it, they nonetheless began in a better position than many who did not have the luxury of such inheritance.
Leviticus 25:23 advises the believer: “The land must not be sold permanently, for the land belongs to me. You are only foreigners, my tenant farmers.” This would indicate, then, that a society following God’s instructions, particularly one where a strong plurality consider the US to be a “Christian nation”, would be inclined to allow the land to revert back so that someone else could own it. History has shown us that is not the case.
In addition to observing the Year of Jubilee, we should do away with corporate ownership of land. Isaiah 5:8 tells us: “Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!”. We can take from this what we will, but it is a pretty strong rebuke to the idea of corporate ownership.
There are a lot of further steps we could/should take, but if we want to address the immediate problems before moving forward, these two would be the place to start. Ending corporate ownership of land ensures that land will be resold. If an individual holds onto a sinking asset, eventually they want to rid themselves of that asset, and they will sell it. The property taxes as well make the idea of holding on to thousands of acres without getting a return an untenable solution. But when a corporation is involved and individuals are shielded from the risk of poor investment, these become a tax write off and are no longer a consideration.
As to the Year of Jubilee, it has long been called for among the circle that Glenn Beck detests, and it is past time. We ARE our brother’s keeper, and it is time to begin making things right. Such isn’t socialism, it is in fact the very core of Christian teaching