Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

The Church of Government

Posted by Lissa on June 11, 2009

I mulled these thoughts over with Mike last night . . .

I read a snarky post yesterday asking that, if Obama is “sort of god,” does that mean we can just tithe our income?

It got me to thinking about a long-ago brush with the Mormon church.

Some fifteen years ago I met one of the only Mormons that have crossed my path.  She was a single mother and received financial assistance from the church to help make her way.  It was explained to me that all members of the Mormon Church had to give ten percent of their income to belong, as well as the tidbit that the guy in charge of Marriott hotels was a member.  Even my young ignorant tween-self knew that that one tithe would amount to a goodly chunk of funding.

My thirteen-year-old self thought, “How utterly stupid!  Why would you join a church that demanded to take 10% of your income?  That, AND it tells you how to live and preaches at you all moralistically?  Ridiculous!”*

And yet . . . how much MORE ridiculous is it to worship at the Church of Government?

Think about it.  Like the Mormon church, the government has decided that one of its functions is to cater to the poor and the needy.  Like the church, the government concerns itself with your behaviors and your well-being.  Like the church, the government seeks to shape your thoughts and beliefs. 

But unlike the Mormon church, you don’t join of your own free will.  There’s no such thing as a happy atheist when it comes to the church of the government.

While the Mormon church would rebuke you if you broke its rules – if you refused to tithe, for example – the government can throw you in jail. 

Oh, and the government?  Unlike the Mormon church, they take a lot more than ten percent.

I wonder if that’s an analogy that would make sense to pro-statists. 

I feel that I am being forced to join a church.  They dictate what I should think is good (welfare, affirmative action, the death of capitalism, restrictions on firearm ownership, political correctness, cronyism, the active role of government in marriage, pork projects) and use my quadru-tithe to accomplish these aims.  They want to regulate everything from my consumption of trans-fats to the source of illumination in my house.  I did not choose this church and yet I must live by its rules and pay my tithe regardless.

As always, do note – I’m not an anarchist.  I argue for smaller government, not a complete lack of government.  But I find it interesting that folks who would never accept this level of meddling if it wore the name religion have no problem doing so if it’s called government.


*Let me be clear that I am not knocking the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I don’t know anything about it.  I leave it alone and it leaves me alone and that suits us both just fine.  Even if I *do* end up going to hell for it.

5 Responses to “The Church of Government”

  1. Borepatch said

    I was married in a Mormon church. Srlsy.

    Had trouble getting rid of the missionaries, after that.

  2. Brad K. said

    Don’t think of Obamanomics as a church or religion. Think of it as an invasion by Chicago politicians and influence peddlers. Or maybe a coup de main, the way Castro “reformed” Cuba into such a racist, communist, poverty-stricken spot.

    Look how the 10’s of thousands of dollars of Union labor contributions paid off for them – billions of dollars of return in the government giveaway of GM and Chrysler. Of course, there are some hoping to prove in court that the government was actually *too* corrupt to let their interference stand. Not everyone is afraid of Obamanomics. Just those with any assets or deposits (these are now being devalued as the Fed keeps printing new money to keep inflation booming.

    • Mike said

      Brad K,

      I’m hardly an Obama fan and I really can’t stand the UAW, but I’m a bit confused on the Fed part. I’m not sure what’s been happening to the value of your deposits, but inflation hasn’t really gone anywhere. Core inflation is pretty steady near 2% and headline inflation has gone negative year-over-year (mostly because oil was a whole lot higher last year).

      I’ll admit to longer-term concerns about inflation, but you’re really overdoing it. Because of a rapid decline in willingess to take risks, a lot of people and companies wanted to hold big cash balances, so the Fed conjured up some cash. Without that, we’d probably have faced deflation (and have sort of done so, but only slightly). While inflation is bad, deflation is a whole lot worse, so the Fed has a bias of inflation instead of deflation (and it should!).

      For actual inflation figures (the first graph is really all you need):


      • Brad K. said

        Mike, when the Fed increases the supply of money in circulation, without a corresponding increase in the assets of the nation – such as measurable growth of the economy – that is the definition of inflation.

        The signs we see – beanee weanees going from 58 cents a small can last summer to 83 cents this spring, and some brands of food disappearing off the Wal-Mart shelves – these are impacts of inflation, not the defining principles.

        Just look at how difficult it is to track actual unemployment against the Great Depression. In recent years, the US government only reports new application for unemployment insurance, and calls it “unemployment” rate. In the past, the number of people that were unemployed – whether receiving benefits, whether they exhausted their benefits, or were underemployed – were reported, with greater or less accuracy since the actual numbers were more difficult to obtain.

        If you have had $1000 in savings since last November, and the fed doubles the amount of money in circulation to cover Obama and the Democrats in Congress’ spending, then what your $1000 will buy today is about what $500 would have bought before Barack Hussein Obama was elected. If you are buying food, your money won’t go as far as it did last year. Same with tobacco, ammunition. In fact, real estate erosion and the price of failed businesses being sold – just look how little UAW had to invest for Chrysler! – is likely the big ticket devaluations, along with car price incentives, that allow the government to say, “Pay no attention to how your fast food, your groceries, your clothes, and your transportation costs have gone up, because we figure you don’t want to hear an actual inflation rate. So here is one we think you will like.”

        I hope you have noticed that the astounding unemployment rates reported for the Great Depression happened 4 years after the ’29 stock market crash. At the comparable point in the Great Depression, our 9% and 10% rates look pretty scary to the equivalent 7% and 8% rates back then.

        I have seen companies grow. It always slows down when Washington is rattling their regulation and “pay czar” sabers. And when a company fails – it takes *time* to restore capacity to produce again. And the guys on the floor won’t have anything to do until the guys with big paychecks decide to do something. Only Obama and Reid and Pelosi want them worrying about why they should make big paychecks, instead of making product or services. So we are all going to be doing more waiting and watching than we can afford.

        Outside the fried chicken place, with the senior owner of a tractor repair shop, at lunch, at the flea market. The talk seems to easily turn from talk about rising gas and regulations, and the shameful way Democrats canceled Republican owned Chrysler dealerships – to fears of armed conflict within the US.

        I trust what Washington has to say less today than a year ago. Especially since they seem so ignorant about the economy, what the effect will be of their policies, and how harmful it is to reward their friends at the expense of the nation. All I know is my daily expenses have risen at least 30 percent since November.

      • Mike said

        I’m not disputing that what Democrats are doing is overall not good, but I do ask that the facts be used and not ignored in opposing Democrats. Otherwise, you run the risk of sounding like conspiracy theorists the way they did when Bush was behind everything bad in the world (apparently he still is, somehow, judging by the way Obama talks).

        First, what you say about inflation is usually correct, but the actual relationship needs to account for the “in circulation” component. Economists call the rate at which money circulates the velocity of money (picture a single dollar bill being used many times in its lifetime vs. one I’ve hidden under my mattress). If velocity goes down because people want to hold more dollars, the amount in circulation has actually fallen. In this case, money supply needs to increase or prices will fall (deflation). Narrow definitions of money supply have roughly doubled, but prices haven’t (they’ve fallen ever so slightly over the past year).

        Inflation will come if velocity increases again and the Fed doesn’t unwind their positions. I suspect they’ll unwind them more slowly than would be ideal, but it’s hard to know exactly the right time/pace and inflation really isn’t as bad as deflation.

        By the way, there might have been bias in the car dealership closings, but almost all political donations from car dealers go to Republicans (probably says something about who’s on the side of small business). Closing car dealerships means closing Republican car dealerships.

        Obama’s doing a horrible job so far, but saying that doesn’t require that we ignore the facts the way Democrats do.

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