By SUSAN K. SMITH
Crazy Faith Ministries
There are many reasons about which to be concerned about the attack on democracy that is being waged by Republicans and Republican sympathizers, but one of the big ones is the belief of many in this group that “entitlements,” i.e., assistance given to people who are either poor or old or old and poor, is a waste of taxpayer dollars.
This thought, coming from a group of people who hardly pay taxes, and/or who pay far less taxes than their wealth indicates they should.
Democrats and so many others are being silent about the real dangers this country’s citizens are facing; there is an exasperating complacency that comes from a belief that “it can’t happen here.” But it is happening, right in front of our eyes.
In Politics According to the Bible by Wayne Grudem, the mindset of these Conservatives is laid out in clear if unsettling clarity, including opinions about the problems with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Grudem bemoans the increase in the number of Baby Boomers who will or who have already become eligible for Social Security. Because of those increasing numbers, he says, Social Security’s surplus is already in decline; in order to make up for the loss in revenue caused by fewer people in the workforce, Grudem says, “…Social Security and Medicare will consume an estimate of 60% of income taxes collected by 2040.”
The root cause of the problem with Social Security, he says is that it is “wastefully paying healthy, potentially productive people not to work,” which, he says “drains life and vitality out of the economy.” He refers to the Bible which he says tells people to work for as long as they are able to do so; he refers to 1 Thess.4:10-12, which says “We urge you, brothers…to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs and to work with your hands as we instructed you so that you may live properly before outsiders and dependent on no one.”
He further quotes 1 Thess. 3: 6-12, which says, among other things, “if anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”
He shares that the Conservative viewpoint on health care for all – provided by the Affordable Care Act and Medicare, is also wasteful of tax dollars. He proposes “tax credits for people to use to purchase health insurance on their own, the capacity of people to join together in voluntary groups in order to obtain preferable and affordable health care rates, the passage of a federal law which would prohibit individual states from forcing companies to cover high-risk people at the same rate as everyone else, and for Congress to pass medical malpractice reform that would bring immense savings by limiting the awards that can be given in medical malpractice suits.”
He says that some provision should be made for those who truly cannot afford health care, “…some kind of pooling of high-risk patients to be covered by funds in individual states as their legislatures decide…and some kind of fund that would enable the ‘truly poor’ (quotation marks are mine) to obtain a basic health plan.”
Grudem spouts the concern that Medicaid is being given to illegal immigrants, and also to immigrants who have come to this country legally but who have refused to assimilate into American culture. He quotes, as justification for setting up restrictive immigration policy, the words of the Bible, which say that all people are to be “subject to the governing authorities,” from Romans 13:1.
If Medicaid were defunded, it would affect the lives of immigrants, surely, but also a huge swath of American citizens, including the elderly and disabled, children (estimated at 79 million) and others whose income is so low they cannot afford health care, according to the Peter G Peterson Foundation, a non-partisan organization that works with leading policy experts, elected officials, and the public to address America’s long-term fiscal challenges.
Grudem gives detailed arguments about why these programs are bad for America, bolstering his claims by using the Bible.
When things are good, when people are fairly comfortable, they fall into a behavior pattern of silence, which is dangerous on many levels, first, by allowing those who work against their needs to move forward unhindered, and secondly by spreading a sense of false security.
This country is in such danger of the masses being controlled by a few people who have been forming and shaping policies that are more oppressive than this country has yet experienced, reminiscent of policies enacted in other fascist countries. While in office, the former president voiced little concern about the American masses; the job of government, he said, was to “control” the people, as reported by The Washington Post.
As we move toward the 2022 mid-term elections, I hope leaders will share the reality of what we are up against. The masses of people – including those who are hardline supporters of the former president – will be hit with oppressive policies and, if things keep going the way they are, they will be in danger of being silenced and maybe even imprisoned if they criticize the government.
Those in power will say it’s all in the Bible, and will carry out their agenda, ignoring the cries of those who are suffering. This country is saturated with the politics of racism, as well as with the politics of sexism and misogyny.
In spite of our weariness with the political confusion and ruination we see, we cannot remain silent, nor can we decide not to vote. All of us need to know what is at stake, and act accordingly.
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. She is available for speaking. And she is an award-winning author for her latest book, “With Liberty and Justice for Some: The Bible, the Constitution, and Racism in America,” available through all booksellers. Contact her at email@example.com.