The Bible Assumes Private Property and Business Ownership

(Originally posted February 2011)

Here is a great quote from Dr. Grudem:

A. PRIVATE PROPERTY

According to the teachings of the Bible, government should both document and protect the ownership of private property in a nation.

The Bible regularly assumes and reinforces a system in which property belongs to individuals, not to the government or to society as a whole.

We see this implied in the Ten Commandments, for example, because the eighth commandment, “You shall not steal” (Exod. 20:15), assumes that human beings will own property that belongs to them individually and not to other people. I should not steal my neighbor’s ox or donkey because it belongs to my neighbor, not to me and not to anyone else.

The tenth commandment makes this more explicit when it prohibits not just stealing but also desiring to steal what belongs to my neighbor:

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exod. 20:17).

The reason I should not “covet” my neighbor’s house or anything else is that these things belong to my neighbor, not to me and not to the community or the nation.

This assumption of private ownership of property, found in this fundamental moral code of the Bible, puts the Bible in direct opposition to the communist system advocated by Karl Marx. Marx said:

The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: abolition of private property.

One reason why communism is so incredibly dehumanizing is that when private property is abolished, government controls all economic activity. And when government controls all economic activity, it controls what you can buy, where you will live, and what job you will have (and therefore what job you are allowed to train for, and where you go to school), and how much you will earn. It essentially controls all of life, and human liberty is destroyed. Communism enslaves people and destroys human freedom of choice. The entire nation becomes one huge prison. For this reason, it seems to me that communism is the most dehumanizing economic system ever invented by man.

Other passages of Scripture also support the idea that property should belong to individuals, not to “society” or to the government (except for certain property required for proper government purposes, such as government offices, military bases, and streets and highways). The Bible contains many laws concerning punishments for stealing and appropriate restitution for damage of another person’s farm animals or agricultural fields (for example, see Exod. 21:28-36; 22:1-15; Deut. 22:1-4; 23:24-25). Another commandment guaranteed that property boundaries would be protected: “You shall not move your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in the inheritance that you will hold in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess” (Deut. 19:14). To move the landmark was to move the boundaries of the land and thus to steal land that belonged to one’s neighbor (compare Prov. 22:28; 23:10).

Another guarantee of the ownership of private property was the fact that, even if property was sold to someone else, in the Year of Jubilee it had to return to the family that originally owned it:

It shall be a Jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan (Lev. 25:10).

This is why the land could not be sold forever: “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me” (Lev. 25:23).

This last verse emphasizes the fact that private property is never viewed in the Bible as an absolute right, because all that people have is ultimately given to them by God, and people are viewed as God’s “stewards” to manage what he has entrusted to their care.

The earth is the LORD’S and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein (Ps. 24:1; compare Ps. 50:10-12; Hag. 2:8).

Yet the fact remains that, under the overall sovereign lordship of God himself, property is regularly said to belong to individuals, not to the government and not to “society” or the nation as a whole.

When Samuel warned the people about the evils that would be imposed upon them by a king, he emphasized the fact that the monarch, with so much government power, would “take” and “take” and “take” from the people and confiscate things for his own use:

So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day” (1 Sam. 8:10-18).

This prediction was tragically fulfilled in the story of the theft of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite by Ahab the wicked king and Jezebel, his even more wicked queen (see 1 Kings 21:1-29). The regular tendency of human governments is to seek to take control of more and more of the property of a nation that God intends to be owned and controlled by private individuals.

SOCIALISM likewise is the taking over of private property, industry, and the capital of a man’s labor. Here is a good working definition of socialism followed by Professor Richards describing it as well:

In order to have a “favorable” view of socialism one must have either forgotten what the entire world learned about socialism from the late nineteenth century on, or have never learned anything about it in the first place. The latter is obviously true of much of the younger generation.

Socialism started out being defined as “government ownership of the means of production,” which is why the government of the Soviet Union confiscated all businesses, factories, and farms, murdering millions of dissenters and resisters in the process. It is also why socialist political parties in Europe, once in power, nationalized as many of the major industries (steel, automobiles, coal mines, electricity, telephone ser­vices) as they could. The Labour Party in post-World War II Great Britain would be an example of this. All of this was done, ostensibly, in the name of pursuing material “equality.”

In the foreword to the 1976 edition of his famous book, The Road to Serfdom, Nobel laureate economist Friedrich Hayek wrote that the definition of “socialism” evolved in the twentieth century to mean income redis­tribution in pursuit of “equality,” not through govern­ment ownership of the means of production but through the institutions of the welfare state and the “progres­sive” income tax. The means may have changed, but the ostensible end—equality—remained the same.

Hayek’s mentor, fellow Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, explained in his classic treatise Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, that the wel­fare state, the “progressive” income tax, and especially pervasive government regulation of business were all tools of “destructionism” in the eyes of the socialists of his day. That is, he observed that the proponents of socialism always employed a two-pronged approach: (1) the government takeover of as many industries and as much land as possible, and (2) attempts to destroy existing capitalist societies with onerous taxes, regula­tions, the welfare state, inflation, or whatever they thought could get the job done.

Thomas J. DiLorenzo, The Problem with Socialism (New Jersey, NJ: Regnery, 2016), 4-5.

Price Gouging During Emergencies | Are There Benefits?

Reposting for recent story.

FIRST, here is the article Larry Elder referenced in the audio above regarding the Chicago fire: “Lessons from the Chicago Fire.” WALTER WILLIAMS gives an excellent example of the benefits of price “gouging” (supply and demand) in helping families:

…Here’s a which-is-better question for you. Suppose a hotel room rented for $79 a night prior to Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. Based on that price, an evacuating family of four might rent two adjoining rooms. When they arrive at the hotel, they find the rooms rent for $200; they decide to make do with one room. In my book, that’s wonderful. The family voluntarily opted to make a room available for another family who had to evacuate or whose home was destroyed. Demagogues will call this price-gouging, but I ask you, which is preferable: a room available at $200 or a room unavailable at $79? Rising prices get people to voluntarily economize on goods and services rendered scarcer by the disaster.

After Hurricane Katrina struck, gasoline prices shot up almost a dollar nearly overnight. Some people have been quick to call this price-gouging, particularly since wholesalers and retailers were charging the higher price for gasoline already purchased and in their tanks prior to the hurricane. The fact of business is that what a seller paid for something doesn’t necessarily determine its selling price. Put in a bit more sophisticated way: Historical costs have nothing to do with selling price. For example, suppose you maintained a 10-pound inventory of coffee in your cupboard. When I ran out, you’d occasionally sell me a pound for $2. Suppose there’s a freeze in Brazil destroying much of the coffee crop, driving coffee prices to $5 a pound. Then I come around to purchase coffee. Are you going to charge me $2 a pound, what you paid for it, or $5, what it’s going to cost you to restock your coffee inventory?

[….]

Politicians of both parties have rushed in to exploit public ignorance and emotion. Last week Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (Democrat) threatened to prosecute gas companies. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (Republican) is threatening legal action against what he called “unconscionable pricing” by hotels. Alabama Attorney General Troy King (Republican) promises to vigorously prosecute businesses that significantly increase prices during the state of emergency. The Bush administration has called for the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to look for evidence of price-gouging, and Congress plans to hold hearings on oil company “price-gouging.”

There’s an important downside to these political attacks on producers. What about the next disaster? How much sense does it make for producers to make the extra effort to provide goods and services if they know they risk prosecution for charging what might be seen as “unconscionable prices”? Politicians would serve us better by focusing their energies on tax-gouging.

Economy – Trump’s vs. Obama’s Upward Trajectories

The new economic lie is with the sad growth of GDP during Obama’s tenure AS COMPARED to Trump’s “upward trajectory.” The IBD article Prager is reading from is entitled “Economic Boom: Media Rewrite History To Credit Obama Instead Of Trump“.

IBD:

In fact, The New York Times itself described Obama’s economy this way in August 2016: “For three quarters in a row, the growth rate of the economy has hovered around a mere 1%. In the last quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016, the economy expanded at feeble annual rates of 0.9% and 0.8%, respectively. The initial reading for the second quarter of this year, released on Friday, was a disappointing 1.2%.”

GDP growth decelerated in each of the last three quarters of 2016.

And on January 27, 2017, after the government reported that GDP growth for all 2016 was a mere 1.6% — the weakest in five years — the Times announced that “President Trump’s target for economic growth just got a little more distant.”

That same month, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office forecast growth this year would be just 1.9%.

There were other signs of stagnation as well. Stocks had flatlined in 2016, with major indexes down slightly. Real median household income dropped that year, according to Sentier Research.

Growth had been so worrisomely slow throughout Obama’s two terms in office that journalists started warning about “secular stagnation.” They said the country was in a period of long, sustained, slow growth resulting from slow population and productivity growth.

In August 2016, the Times declared that “the underlying reality of low growth will haunt whoever wins the White House.”

Predictions of Slow Growth

The next month, CBS News reported that “with U.S. economic growth stuck in low gear for several years, it’s leading many economists to worry that the country has entered a prolonged period where any expansion will be weaker than it has been in the past.”

In short, there was no upward trajectory to the economy on anyone’s radar when Trump took office…..

Dennis Prager poses a 64,000-dollar question to Andy Puzder, which brings clarity to the differences in the two economies when compared so far. (Puzder is an American attorney, author, and businessman… former chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr…. previously a commercial trial lawyer in private practice from 1978 to 1995 who handled many high-profile cases and was active in the pro-life movement…. Puzder is a frequent commentator on economic and political issues.)

California Has Debt, Not Surplus

Dennis Prager interviews California Senator John Moorlach (37th District) about California Assembly Bill 2943, HOWEVER, the conversation started out with budgets and economics. Sen. Moorlach is a CPA after all. This is the section I clipped for use with friends and family that state California is money rich when you speak about our states debt.

Other related audio is here:

Here are half of Senator John Moorlach’s six points in his article entitled, “Budget Primer: 6 Key Measures Of California’s Fiscal Health” (January, 2017):

1. California’s Net Financial Position

California’s “net” unrestricted financial position is a $169 billion deficit ($4,375 per person) according to the most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

This figure should be positive for healthy organizations. It is derived by tallying the state government’s assets (monetary funds, investments, buildings, roadways, bridges, parks, etc.) and subtracting its obligations. The last positive position California had was during Governor Pete Wilson’s final term where the state had $1.5 billion in unrestricted net assets.

California is now ranked the worst state, below Illinois, whose net position is a negative $143 billion, or $11,174 per person. Illinois’ finances are so bad, they’re telling lottery winners that they may have to delay their payments.

Deferred maintenance for the state’s roads and highways is some $59 billion.

2. Estimates of California Unfunded Pension Liabilities

*NOTE: For the 2015/16 fiscal year, CalPERS planned for a 7.5% rate of return, but only managed to achieve a 0.6% rate of return. Seven percent of a $400 billion liability means a shortfall of $28 billion (some 20% of Governor Brown’s general fund budget.)

3. Current Unfunded Retiree Medical Liability

California has the nation’s highest unfunded retiree medical liability at $74.1 to $80 billion.

A John and Ken reality check (posted January 2017):

John and Ken speak to Marc Joffe of the California Policy Center (http://californiapolicycenter.org/) in regard to these recent articles on the subject of California’s fiscal emergency:

One aspect Marc Joffe mentioned would be a way to overcome this “debt” is to increase California’s population… however, we see through some recent stories…

…this is not a viable option… nor will it be as long as Democrats are in charge:

In other words, Californians are doomed if remaining on this course.

See also:

The Truth About Economics, Minimum Wage, and the Middle Class

(An Economic Serious Saturday)

Don Boudreaux (economics professor) joins Dave to discuss classical liberalism, the basic principles about economics, the minimum wage debate, and more.

Don Boudreaux (economics professor) joins Dave to discuss his views about the reality of the state of the middle class, the flat tax debate, and more.

Minimum Wage Follies Hits New York

HOT AIR has this recent story from the NYC:

There’s been yet another development in the Fight for Fifteen, this time coming to us from the Big Apple. With great fanfare, the Democrats in New York City (and in the state government as well) have been trying to outdo each other this election cycle by jacking up the minimum wage. Recent legislative moves brought the city to the point where they’ve had six minimum wage increases in two years. As you might imagine, this has been particularly tough on the restaurant and bar business. The city is quickly making some eateries essentially unprofitable unless they increase their menu prices to the point where they will likely just drive away customers anyway.

This has Heartland Brewery CEO Jon Bloostein raising the alarm to anyone who will listen. He’s describing the overall effect on his business as that of a “bomb dropping on the city.” And to say that in New York you’ve got to be pretty serious. (Fox Business News)

I’m taking it personally now,” Bloostein told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on “Varney & Co.” on Friday.

He said restaurant owners “can’t absorb” six minimum-wage increases in a three-year period.

“A bomb fell on the city in 2015,” he said. “I think Albany thinks because it’s New York City we can just add menu prices as high as we want – doesn’t work.”

In response, New York City restaurant owners are pushing for lawmakers to allow them to add a 5% surcharge to offset the cost and help prevent rising prices on the menus, Bloostein said.

Bloostein isn’t objecting to the idea of an increased minimum wage. He just needs the increases to stay somewhere close to other costs and not completely tank his business model. At this point, he’s not even lobbying to have the increased wage scaled back. He’s asking that merchants be allowed to add a 5% city surcharge onto the bill so they can make back some of the losses without having to increase their menu prices, likely scaring more customers off.

Unfortunately, due to New York City’s oppressive nanny state rules, he can’t even do that without getting the permission of City Hall. 

[….]

Allowing restaurants to put such a surcharge on their customers’ bills would be a reminder of exactly who raised the menu prices and what the money was going toward. Even as overwhelmingly liberal as the city is, sooner or later the government is going to price them out of existence and just possibly convince New Yorkers to take a look at some other candidates when they go to the polls. But de Blasio just won another term in office handily, so it’s hard to be too sympathetic to diners facing higher prices when they go out to dinner. You keep voting these people back into office and you really do get what you deserve.

Steven Crowder Interviews Thomas Sowell

(Should start at the interview if “play” is pressed.) Talking all things media malpractice on the YouTube headquarters shooter, Detroit zoo poo, Japanese pregnancy forgiveness, and more. Dr Thomas Sowell stops in to talk economics and Owen Benjamin swings by to discuss his new YouTube strike and Twitter ban!

Trump Gets No Love – Larry Elder

By the way, for any squishy Leftists reading this…. the “love” Larry Elder mentions is not the emotional kind (like when someone has “puppy love”).  This is the deeper issue of the media and it’s bias guiding American thought. From winning pulitzer prizes for hiding 5-million deaths by starvation in a single year by the USSR, from leading Democrats personally asking the Kremlin for help in defeating Reagan, to bar code reader lies being used to make Republican’s look dumb to negative comments on the economy when a Republican is in office to when a Democrat takes over and the economy doesn’t change one iota but the press calls it wonderful. Or when PBS does a “truthful” hard hitting documentary on bill Clinton and LIES about the economy involved… this is the “love” Larry Elder tweeted on:

How To Turbocharge The American Economy

“Small businesses are the engine of the American economy.”

Roughly half of the United States’ workforce depends on small businesses thriving. But high taxes and intrusive government regulations hurt these businesses and their workers. How would tax cuts for these small businesses benefit the U.S. economy and help just about everyone?

Corporations Pay ZERO% In Taxes

I feel like I shouldn’t have to upload this ECON 101 type stuff, however, many may not realize this fact… ESPECIALLY if they went to college. I clip Dennis Prager noting this truth and then add a classic from Milton Friedman (longer video is HERE). See as well Congressman Bill Posey make the same point on the House floor.