As American Founding Father Thomas Paine observed more than two centuries ago, these are the times that try men’s souls. The economy has stalled and millions are losing their jobs. Ominous clouds gather on the horizon and the future is frightening. To avert disaster, President Obama has proposed a budget that promotes development of clean energy sources, provides help for the jobless, supports educational reform and lays the foundation for a new approach to health care.
Because the economy has stalled, the billions of dollars required to restart it will inevitably result in short-term deficits. Estimates vary as to the size of the deficits and the time it will take for the economy to recover. If the President’s plan works as expected, the investment in clean energy programs, education and health care will pay dividends in coming years, increasing government revenue and reducing deficits. But – for their political and personal gain – sinister forces are conspiring to block this recovery . Some of the President’s opponents (such as radio loudmouth Rush Limbaugh, caricatured above) make no secret of their desire to see him fail, bringing the country down with him. They hope to regain power on their nation’s ruins.
Respected economists agree that there is no other way but government spending to end the dismal recession in which the world has been plunged by free-market zealots, crooked financiers and the Bush Administration. Yet Republicans (and some in the media) are attacking the Obama budget as an example of “wasteful spending” and “fiscal irresponsibility.”
On television yesterday, Republican Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana even went so far as to invoke “faith in God” as an alternative to President Obama’s plan. Pence said the Republican prescription for cleaning up the economic mess (which his party left behind) is to cut spending and taxes, and wait for God to revive the economy.
As we listened to a videotape of the TV show, my brother Bill remarked that the congressman put him in mind of a story about a man trapped by a flood. The man refused assistance from a car while the flood waters were low, then later from a boat as the water rose higher, and even from a helicopter as he clung to the roof of his house. The man insisted that he would wait for God to save him. As the water engulfed him, he cried out to God asking why He had not rescued him.
“I sent you a car, a boat and a helicopter,” God replied. “What more did you expect me to do?”
When Republicans urge Americans to refuse rescue from Obama’s plan, invoking the name of God in the process, they should remember that God often uses worldly means to work His wonders.