Steamboat Springs I read with great respect the letter by Murray Tucker in the March 11 edition of the Steamboat Today. It was factual and mathematical, devoid of emotional rhetoric and one-sidedness. It looks like it came out of a college textbook, a thesis or a dissertation. Rare are such academic letters in newspapers.
I'd like to add another aspect to how we should think about the economy - Biblical teachings.
If memory serves me right, 20 of the 613 "mitzvot" (religious commandments) in the Law of Moses deal with diet, while at least 120 deal with financial transactions. Add this to the rest of the Jewish Bible, such as the book of Proverbs, which warns against co-signing six times, and we've got the best teachings on economics. The New Testament contradicts none of this and even adds such admonitions as refusing to feed a man unwilling to work. Finding a potential Achilles heel in the Bible, such as stoning for moral failures, does not nullify the God-given economic wisdom that we are paying the price for ignoring.
I view politics as dimly as George Orwell did. As we face a potential four to eight years of a president who openly substitutes pragmatism for idealism, we should start by reading 1 Samuel 8. The children of Israel felt vulnerable.
Although some of their own leadership was corrupt, they wanted a human king to "fight our battles." The good prophet Samuel warned them about rapine, the draft, taxation, even compulsory non-military service. The king would take the best of their lands and give them to his servants. The people would sell their personal freedoms for the sake of being like the other nations. Samuel warned, "And ye shall be his servants." But they wanted security.
Sound familiar? Listen to the news. Our nation feels some of this same vulnerability. It is falling for an intelligent rhetorician who speaks as if he has forgotten that our nation was founded on idealism, a whitewashed view of Athenian democracy and a heavy dose of a form of Christianity which recognized the value of including all of the Bible in life's teachings, philosophy, government and day-to-day activities.
Want a cure to this economic depression? Start and end with the Bible. It - uh, oh - discourages borrowing. It has more economic wisdom than anything we can think up ourselves. It's the only thing that will save our necks.
Howard M. Merken, Ph.D.