Monday, April 12, 2010
Leviticus 19:35-36a, How the Government Pillages the Poor
"You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin."
In giving His law to Israel, Jehovah showed great concern that no one would rob his neighbor through the manipulation of weights and measures. That same standard is repeated in several places in Proverbs, such as Prov. 11:1, "A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight."
While the emphasis of these verses is justice, they have a profound impact on economics. By increasing the expenses of the producer and decreasing the expenses of the consumer of a commodity vis-a-vis the true market, the producer is impoverished and his commodity disappears from the market. "Hurray!" some would say, "Death to the profit-making businessman!" But that is a statement of economic ignorance. Afterall, labor is a commodity, meaning that the worker is himself a producer.
In our country, the dollar was pegged at twenty to the ounce of gold, up to the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. That means that a dollar in 1840 had the same value as a dollar in 1910. Then Roosevelt lowered that value to 35 dollars to the ounce of gold. Then the peg to gold was permanently eliminated completely by Richard Nixon. Now, the value of the dollar hovers around one thousand to the ounce of gold. In other words, the government has inflated the money supply to such an extent that the dollar has lost ninety-eight percent of its pre-Roosevelt value. Now that dollar from 1840 or 1910 is fifty times as valuable as the dollar in 2010! The government has manipulated that standard to its own advantage. How so? The government is never a producer, whether of goods or labor. It is only a consumer, and is thus on the profit-making end of that manipulation.
How does this pillage the poor? Wages are generally inflated along with prices. However, savings, having been accumulated at the old value but spent at the new, shrivel under inflation. Has the family been setting aside a portion of its income toward the purchase of a home? Those savings shrink with each passing day. Saving money for the education of the next generation? Again, runs away like water. Set aside a portion for one's old age? Dust in the wind.
Even as politicians profess their safeguarding of the poor, they have violated the laws and principles of the justice of God. In obedience to God's Word, we must demand that government restore just weights. We must demand that government cease the pillaging of the poor for the profit of the government treasury. That can only happen with the re-establishing of the gold standard for the dollar.