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One of the primary obstacles facing Progressives is the tendency for voters, politicians, and pundits to moralize economic issues: Debt is evil, spending is bad, taxation is theft, government assistance encourages laziness, depending on others is irresponsible, ect.

Personally, I think economic science should be the guiding light of economic governance, but I think it's worth pointing out that elite consensus on the Federal budget has anything but a moral foundation. And don't just take it from me, ask Jesus.

For those of us that didn't attend or weren't paying attention at Church, Jesus has a teaching known as the Parable of the Talents. The basics of the story is this: A king, or master, entrusts a large sum of money to his servants, telling them he'll be going away for year. When he returns he asks his servants for an accounting of the money. Two of the servants explain that they have invested the money and earned back a return. Each are rewarded. The third explains that he is very risk-adverse and simply buried the money in the ground. His master calls him a 'wicked and slothful servant' who he has thrown into the 'outer darkness.'

The lesson is pretty clear: use your talents, use your opportunities, don't waste them and let them sit idle. Jesus' moral teaching here is that Christians shouldn't squander their God-given gifts, rather they should use them to benefit the kingdom of God: it is immoral to waste opportunities given to you. But there is also an economic lesson - sticking your money in the ground is a sub-optimal investment strategy.

What does this have to do with the Public debt? Well, in the Jesus' parable the master essentially gives his servants a no-interest loan, payable in a year. It shouldn't be hard to make money on a no-interest loan - it's quite the opportunity. The Federal Government has a similar opportunity.

Right now the yield on a CPI increased 1.6% between Jan. 2012 and Jan. 2013. So lenders get 1.78% return, but 1.6% is eaten by inflation. The 'real' rate of return is almost nothing: basically the Federal Government can borrow money for free. This simple fact is rarely mentioned in any discussion about the budget or deficit reduction. Elite pundits, conservative and moderate politicians, and 'everyone' in Washington, seems completely oblivious to this fact.

What are the moral implications? Well, Jesus says the servant who does nothing with his free money is 'slothful and wicked.' The focus on deficit reduction, in light of 'free' borrowing costs, is also 'slothful and wicked.'

Are we really led to believe that their is no investment, no spending, that can justify a no-interest loan? A working person is infinitely more productive than a unemployed person. Occupied housing is infinitely more productive than empty housing. Operational factories are infinitely more productive than closed, idle factories. And there are plenty of idle resources (including labor) in this country today. Is there no way for the government to spend (free) money to make these things happen?

Spent wisely, this money will not be difficult to pay off. And by wisely, I mean the rate of return has to be better than one-tenth of one percent, annually. That is not a high bar.

God has given us a wonderful gift in extremely low bond yields. We are compelled to use this gift wisely, yet, the 'economic moralists' among us prefer to bury it in the ground.

Originally posted to sanchez 101 on Tue May 07, 2013 at 11:49 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Excellent points... (13+ / 0-)

    I am not sure when it happened but somehow, Christians have abdicated their role as morality leaders defending the poor and the downtrodden and have become cheerleaders for the rich.

    Everything Jesus stood far was helping the poor, defending the weak, healing the sick and forgiving the sinners.  Now, church services are more often about promoting war, holding the lazy accountable, bashing the gays and shaming the sluts.

    What has happened to Christianity?  I believe WWJD is more than a bumper sticker, it is a philosophy of life.  I have left my church because of its hateful sermons and simply follow WWJD and preach the love that I see Christianity is supposed to stand for.

    "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

    by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue May 07, 2013 at 12:13:32 PM PDT

    •  Christians where long ago displaced by Christ-ies, (0+ / 0-)

      i.e., those who crap all over his teachings, while screaming how holy they are and the media and VSP simply looooove.

    •  this isn't true (0+ / 0-)

      never been to Ohio (assuming the reference to buckeye means your from Ohio), but I've been to Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Churches that would really challenge your "Now, church services are more often about promoting war, holding the lazy accountable, bashing the gays and shaming the sluts" interpretation.

      It's certain "cultural, traditional" minded people that espouse those 'beliefs' not Christians. Many people talk about  Christ, but are really motivated by racism and homophobia.

      I would encourage you to attend a mainstream church. You'll find they rarely reference abortion or 'gay marriage.' (again, this coming from my experience in southern California, other parts will differ)

    •  Well said. Many churches have gotten so far (0+ / 0-)

      away from the Christian churches of my youth (the 1960s) that they're almost unrecognizable. Where are the soldiers of the 60s? Where are the Berrigans, a Dr. King? I could go on and on. Much of the moral fire of this country burned at the pulpit in those days. And boy was it ever exciting.
            And how about now? With some wonderful exceptions, many of the leaders in the Christian faith are motivated by ego, money and power. It seems to have really taken off with Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Jim and Tammy Faye, and their ilk and showed no signs of abating until recently.
            I know it's early in his papacy, but I am very encouraged by Pope Francis. Maybe just maybe, we can get back to the garden. A guy can hope.

      The Republican motto: "There's been a lot of progress in this country over the last 75 years, and we've been against all of it."

      by Hillbilly Dem on Thu May 09, 2013 at 03:07:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'd take a slightly reading: (20+ / 0-)

    the Republic deficit hawks would be like the master saying, "Ya know what?  Screw investing in my workers.  It's time to tighten my belt, and let them fend for themselves.  No more handouts."  How's that for a parable?

    This is fun:

         Then the King will say to those on his Right (sic), "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world:
         For I was hungry and you said "Get a job, bum!", I was thirsty and you called me a government parasite, I was a stranger and you shot at me from your front door.
         I needed clothes and you took what little I had off my back, I was sick and you let me die without insurance, I was in prison and you passed laws to keep me there forever."
         Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when did we do all these awesome things?"
         The King will reply, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

    Verily, verily.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Tue May 07, 2013 at 01:24:08 PM PDT

  •  Oddly, most Christian fundies ignorant of Bible. (15+ / 0-)

    It's almost paradoxical, really, but the more devoted and extreme the fundamentalist, the less they seem to know what the Bible actually says Christ taught us.

    That's a head-scratcher fer shure.

    •  Can they read? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Portlaw, Calamity Jean

      DO they read?

      Just askin'.

      Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

      by Youffraita on Tue May 07, 2013 at 03:08:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's part of the authoritarian thing, they're (10+ / 0-)

        taught to allow their authority, preacher, pastor, whatever, to read and interpret for them.

        They're told that Satan will tempt and twist their understanding, so they must listen to whoever is God's chosen vessel to interpret His Word for them.


        Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
        ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

        by FarWestGirl on Tue May 07, 2013 at 05:31:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yep. They're not allowed to think. (4+ / 0-)

          If they bring up any of the myriad contradictions in the bible, they're told that they have to think -this- way, the way the preacher says, and querying that is EVIL.

          That, and most fundie preachers tend to pound on the Leviticus and -utterly ignore- things like the Sheep and the Goats section of Matthew, the full meaning of the Good Samaritan, and, y'know, the fact that Jesus' disciples were basically those rejected by society -- whores, tax collectors, ne'er-do-wells, etc.  If they acknowledged that they'd have to actually go out and deal with icky people, as opposed to living in their own walled enclaves of thought and society.

        •  What would Martin Luther think? (3+ / 0-)

          The whole point of the Reformation squandered.

          We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

          by Mosquito Pilot on Wed May 08, 2013 at 04:11:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Re: Satan (0+ / 0-)

          If you read Elaine Pagels The Origin of Satan, you will see that the gospels back up the fundies views on Satan.

          •  Haven't read Pagel (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            but as someone who has spent much of his adult life studying scripture, I can assure you that the Gospels don't do any such thing unless you're reading them to find support for that view.

            Like so much of the Bible, what you find is often predicated on what you're looking to find.

            A missionary once went to a remote group in Africa and tried to convert them to Christianity. He was astonished at how readily they listened, and how much they seemed to welcome his message. Then he realized that there was one slight difference between what he was preaching and what they were embracing: their culture valued trickiness, and they considered Jesus a well-meaning fool. The hero of the story to them was Judas.

            As with so much in life, input tends to determine output.

            "Do it in the name of Heaven; you can justify it in the end..." - Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter

            by pragmaticidealist on Wed May 08, 2013 at 11:09:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's Pagels, with an "s" on the end. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              And she is a well recognized and well published biblical scholar. Her lectures overflow with audiences everywhere.  You might want to reconsider your statement that the views about Satan are not in the gospels unless you are looking for them. Pagels does not go into her analyses for any of her research or books with an angle in mind.

              •  Sorry -- missed the "s" (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                As I said, I haven't read her, so I don't offer a view on her work. However, I've read a lot of other scholars' work over several decades, and think my statement is valid.

                My observation was primarily aimed at the fundamentalists themselves, rather than Pagels. My assumption, given the title and subject of the book you cited, was that she was looking at the origins of Satan as moderns perceive him -- which means, for the most part, as fundamentalists perceive him. Thus, she would be looking at the Gospels with that question in mind: where did folk get the ideas they have, and do the Gospels support that view?

                From that starting point (which is completely appropriate for a researcher looking into that question) it would be quite possible to find evidence for the fundamentalists' image of Satan.

                My point was simply that one can read the Gospels and not read support for that image, too. It depends on what you're looking for. If you are researching where fundamentalists got their view, you'll find support for it.

                I'm not criticizing Pagels or her work. Not knowing her, I can't argue that she does or does not "go into her analysis ... with an angle in mind." However, the Biblical researchers I have known do approach their work looking to address a particular question or set of questions. That's not the same thing as making assumptions about what they'll find -- but if they're researching where a particular idea came from, and whether there's supporting content in Scripture, that's the lens they'll be reading through. There's nothing pejorative or untoward about that; it's how research usually works.

                "Do it in the name of Heaven; you can justify it in the end..." - Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter

                by pragmaticidealist on Wed May 08, 2013 at 12:37:14 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  I've read most of what Pagels has written; (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            You have to understand that she is an exceptionally contrarian and idiosyncratic biblical scholar whose work is respected but also widely regarded as more than a little quirky. There are many very knowledgeable authorities who disagree sharply with her conclusions.

            And one of my favorite quotes:
            "The Bible is just like a person. It'll tell you anything you want if you torture it enough".

    •  They never make it past the first five books. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alice kleeman, radarlady

      Which shields them from the responsibility of living up to Christ's words/example.

      "Good men don't need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many." Doctor Who

      by evil claims rep on Tue May 07, 2013 at 05:01:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, fundies tend to be very knowledgeable (0+ / 0-)

      about the Bible - the Old Testament, at any rate. As far as they're concerned, the New Testament is librul hippie shit put in to appease the PC brigade.

      "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

      by Australian2 on Thu May 09, 2013 at 01:00:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This just isn't true. (0+ / 0-)

      Fundies can go toe to toe on what the Bible says with any progressive Christian.  As a rule they also have a more comprehensive and holistic reading of the Bible, reading it in terms of all the books, and not just the parables, sermon on the mount, and beatitudes.  They're not evoking these things out of thin air or making them up.

  •  Here's the thing (8+ / 0-)

    The "elites" aren't just moralizing.  They are dumping real world economics -- conservative and liberal -- down the drain because they perceive Americans to be unworthy.  This view is far more fundamental for them than supporting the 1% (which they'd like to trim to the 0.01%), their wacko social views, their imperialism, or anything else.  In their eyes, Americans are too big for their britches and need to be put down.  In a more normal era, we'd call this unpatriotic, or perhaps even treasonous.

  •  Forgive us our debts (11+ / 0-)

    Jubilee was at the heart of Biblical justice; the seisachtheia ("shaking off" of debt burdens) was the source of Athenian democracy.  

  •  Joseph (the Israelite) was a Keynesian (10+ / 0-)

    Whatever Pharaoh's dreams portend,  the Nile Valley winds its way through a desert.  Too little flooding, or too much and there's something between a food shortage and a famine.

    So the obvious move was (one wonders why the Egyptians hadn't figured this out earlier) is "build granaries;  store grain in fat years, distribute it in lean years.  

    Similarly, from 150 BCE to 200-someting CE the Roman State bought huge grain reserves to stabilize the price of food ... and, by averting famines, retain the goodwill of the proletarii, 4th and 3rd Classes of Citizens.

    For "grain" substitute "money."  A stable State will tax during the fat years and spend during the lean.

    Bush/Thacherism posits that this isn't the best plan possible.   A better system would be:  let the ultra rich gather as much wealth as possible to themselves at all times -- and then all the times will be GOOD times and there will be no need for the State to redistribute any Wealth.

    It was a Noble Notion.  It was tried.  It didn't work any better in Thacher's time than it did in Dickens'.

    That said:  the early Evangelicals were no doubt fine and spiritual men ... but they were not economists.

    The shepherd does NOT leave his flock to the tender mercies of wolves, lions and other shepherds in order to go hunting prodigal lambs.  As Mark Twain said, "It might be good  theology, but it's damned poor sheepery."

    And the good servant MIGHT risk his master's wealth in speculation ... and so long as there was an increase, might be praised and rewarded for it.  But since loss is at least as likely as gain in Markets ... what happens to the servant who LOSES some or all of his master's capital?

    But, the Parables were, of course, about
    making converts and growing a Church,  not about balancing Supply, Demand, Debt and Wages in a Free Market.

    •  Economics is not a science (0+ / 0-)

      any more than betting on horses.

      Joy shared is doubled. Pain shared is halved. Spider Robinson

      by nolagrl on Tue May 07, 2013 at 02:38:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  lol 'Damned poor sheepery', thanks, that one's (0+ / 0-)

      going in my quote collection. lol

      Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
      ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

      by FarWestGirl on Tue May 07, 2013 at 05:34:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I never thought of that, but yes, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radarlady, wavpeac

      That's Keynesian economics.

      When things are good, save up money, store the grain, pay off your debts.

      When things are bad, spend money, eat the grain, go into debt.

      Brilliant.  Thanks.

      "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

      by Dbug on Tue May 07, 2013 at 10:42:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wrong (0+ / 0-)

        When things are good, save up money, store the grain (Save for the bad times)

        When things are bad, spend money, eat the grain (Use up that which was Saved)

        Never, ever does the bible support excessive debt, such as the US has.

        •  Excessive debt....... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          If I have an annual income of $30,000 and a mortgage on my house of $175,000 at 1.6%, am I carrying excessive debt?

          The debt/austerity worriers always put the debt in terms of family finances but never, ever notice that most families and businesses carry both long and short term debt to accomplish important goals, and what's more, can't seem to work a simple mortgage calculator:

          A 30-year mortgage for $175,000 at 1.6% results in an annual payment of $7343.28, or a tad under 25% of an annual income of $30,000.  

          This is exactly equivalent to a national annual income of 2.9 T  and a 16.8  T national debt.

          IF, as the diarist premises, the debt is being used wisely to benefit the income side, and if the long-term goal of reducing the debt is not forgotten, the Nation is financially not in danger from debt.

          The reality is of course a bit more complicated since around a third of both the income and expenses go to SS and Medicare, but the fix for both is not difficult, as has been explained well elsewhere.

          We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

          by bmcphail on Wed May 08, 2013 at 09:16:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  First, please explain why the need to borrow (0+ / 0-)

            $15,000 a year, if our $30,000 income is sufficient to make the mortgage payments.

            Second, the national debt is not a secured mortgage, it is personal unsecured debt.  No one would be able to qualify for an unsecured debt ratio of 25%, even if it where even possible to get a 30 year fixed 1.6% rate. The most unsecured debt a person should ever carry is 10%, and that would be in very, very bad times.  The reason is life happens, and money should not be tied up in unsecured debt that cannot be liquidated.

            •  Sovereign debt is like "personal debt" ??? (0+ / 0-)

              Well, morally maybe.  There's politicians who can make parables and morality tales of Biblical proportions about just about anything.

              But a Sovereign State's finances and economics are so utterly unlike personal finance that we shouldn't even use the same descriptive words.

              But we do.

              It sows confusion

              And it helps to support the proposition that Governments should NOT feed the hungry, clothe the naked or tend to the sick if that means increasing the taxation on the Rich and Blessed.

              Just sayin'.

              •  Thanks for agreeing. (0+ / 0-)

                Governments should not be the caretakers of the needed, quite frankly they suck at it.

                Poor monetary policy hinders the government from doing things it could do for the less fortunate, not that I agree that is should, but I do understand mankind does not gravitate to doing the right thing in its personal quest to satisfy self-first.

                •  Thanks for standing my meaning on its head (0+ / 0-)

                  As I see it, for 1800 years, the Church and its individual members did one damn poor job of "caring" for the sick, the hungry and the poor.  

                  State Welfare, however underfunded and impersonal, at least  attempts to serve  ALL the needy ... not only the handful of Deserving Poor;  humble, psalm-singing, grateful and submissive.

                  Individual "Charity" is a spiritual exercise, not a social policy. It does not seek Justice. It does not aim at actually raising anyone out of poverty ... ("the Poor you have always with you," so why distress yourself, overmuch?) ... but rather it seeks raising the Charitable to a higher state of Virtue .

                  Two thousand years of faith based charity never proposed a minimum wage or public education.

                  At it's best it's a whole lot better than nothing at all.  And presumably those who give coins to beggers and distribute food baskets on holidays WILL be better, happier  people than the unredeemed Ebeneezer Scrooge.

                  But at it's worst alms giving and poorhouse- building  andit's are just pious hypocrisy ... inadequate, begrudged, far more to the benefit of those who collect and give than those who  receive.  In a simpler form it's " Lady Bountiful distributing foodbaskets at Christmas"  and the keeping of Pet Perpetual Paupers

                  "Soup as thin as Christian Charity" was a working class cliche during the Victorian era.

              •  I will assume you have no response (0+ / 0-)

                to the first question.

                •  Not all questions merit answers. (0+ / 0-)
                •  My calculations were directed towards the US (0+ / 0-)

                  ability to pay.  We are NOT in a debt crisis. Our debt is manageable.

                  To the first question,

                  1. Deficit spending is justified in the short run to maintain and restore productivity.  As in Keynesian stimulus.  

                  2. The other thing a private person can do to improve their finances is get another job i.e. increase income.  For a country this means tax revenue.  But noooooooooo.

                  We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

                  by bmcphail on Fri May 10, 2013 at 07:01:33 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Well, the Bible forbids usury altogether (0+ / 0-)

          And, of course there's the whole thing about  the inalienability of land title  and the forgiveness of debts during the Jubilee ...

          So, seeking Biblical permission for municipal bonds or interest bearing savings accounts,  much less deficit finance is likely to be a fruitless exercise.

          Without some very heavy interpretive lifting, S cripture is not so very supportive of Capitalism.  (But with so many modern Christians so deeply invested in Capitalism, well "many hands make light work" of that heavy lifting.)

          But looking to Scripture for a instruction on how much debt a Constitutional Republic is allowed to assume is likely to be fruitless as well ... if one is hesitant to be "putting words in the Almighty's mouth."

          The Bible, of course,  does not anticipate the existence of a Commonwealth, much less a Democracy it assumes that a Government will be some variety of a Monarchy or a Sheikdom.

           In the kind of Monarchy Moses was familiar with, the Monarch already owned pretty much EVERYTHING and could tax whatever was necessary to cover whatever expenses or debts the Monarchy incurred.  

          The early Christians lived in an Empire that dealt with budget shortfalls by debasing the currency and extorting its tributary States.

          •  Prejudice tends to make assumptions. (0+ / 0-)

            I never claimed that governments needed Biblical permission for how they operate.

            I did say that the Biblical wisdom of saving up in the good times and spending that savings in the bad times is proper for governments based on the context of the original post.

            I did say that excessive debt is not supported Biblically. I drew no other wisdom into this discussion.  Obviously, our government officials did not heed this wisdom. They choose poorly.

            I would hope that we can agree that excessive debt held by our nation is a major hindrance in the current environment.

  •  Hmmm..christians is a label I believe nowdays (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Portlaw, FarWestGirl, radarlady, sfbob

    true people of faith try to help the poor, and live the way instructed.  How many so called christians are playing the stock market which gambling....Might as well go on to Vegas..if so is hypocritical thinking to think otherwise.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Tue May 07, 2013 at 02:43:24 PM PDT

  •  The bible has many teachings against hoarding (8+ / 0-)

    Hoarding is plaguing the world economy now. The big corporations and their billionaire owners are sitting on piles of cash.

    Any preacher who actually paid attention to Jesus and the Christian communities described in Acts would be urging that the hoarded money be invested to benefit everyone, especially the poor.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Tue May 07, 2013 at 02:51:04 PM PDT

  •  A borrower is servant too the lender (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FarWestGirl, pbriggsiam, JTinDC

    For  those who believe in the bible ,the bible speak out against excessive interest that lender  charge borrower,

  •  Did Jesus ever benefit from taxpayers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bmcphail, ssgbryan

    If he preach in the public square built by Rome and travel on the road ,the Roman paved and drunk  from the communal well the Roman dug, you would say Jesus got some assistance from the government  in some form

  •  No doubt the Republicans read it as (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FarWestGirl, alice kleeman

    poor people have no talents and are lazy (they bury thier inheritance), otherwise they would great jobs just like them.
    They are so disconnected from reality. People are struggling through no fault of their own. Lots of them. Some of them are in my family. They are hard working and want jobs. Everyone needs some kind of job, it is what gives us self worth.

    "Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things." Thomas Merton

    by createpeace on Tue May 07, 2013 at 04:29:45 PM PDT

  •  I've always hated that parable. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It doesn't mention what happened to the guy who was given one talent and lost it through bad investments or Acts of God.  Probably because they didn't find the body, if how the guy who was given one talent and returned one talent was treated is any indication.

  •  weep,again. (0+ / 0-)

    Then try to convince alot of Jewish folk he is the messiah, again.

    Then someone can attempt to explain Christianity!!! (tm) to him....

    Then more weeping.

    The eyes, they roll back in the head and gots stuck this time.....

  •  Greek bond yields were 4%... (0+ / 0-) Nov 2009.

    When you're heavily in debt (even at 'low interest rates') things can spiral out of control in a hurry.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Wed May 08, 2013 at 05:01:31 AM PDT

    •  Among many other complications (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ssgbryan, AdamSelene

      A sizable percentage of Greek debt is held outside the country and leaves more or less permanently upon payment.

      In the case of the US, in spite of talk of how we are now owned by China, only about 30% of the US debt is held by foreign entities public or private (China, 7%).  The remaining 70% or so is divided about equally between private investors and Social Security recipients, the vast majority of which when paid remains within our economy.

      We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

      by bmcphail on Wed May 08, 2013 at 09:30:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Foreign held debt in Greece is about 57% (0+ / 0-)

        According to the European Tribune.

        Macroeconomically this matters a great deal.

        We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

        by bmcphail on Wed May 08, 2013 at 09:35:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  At the start of the Greek crisis (0+ / 0-)

          however, 95% of debt in Greece was denominated under Athens law. In other words, the bonds issued were issued under Greek law. This literally meant that any default would be litigated in Greece and Greece only. It would have killed the vulture funds out there.

          For some bizarre reason, the Greeks agreed to swap this debt with new debt issued by the EU which falls under the jurisdiction of British law.

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Mon May 13, 2013 at 08:12:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  great point (0+ / 0-)

      because austerity has worked so well for Greece!

      you've simply proved my point

  •  Please stop perpetuating the right wing myth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that the US Govt is a household or business and as such must borrow or collect money in order to spend.  The US Dollar comes from the US Govt.  The gold standard has been over since August 15, 1971.  The US is a monetary sovereign with a fiat currency monetary system.  The US dollar is not a commodity, it is a public monopoly or utility.  The US does not borrow money, it allows people to deposit money into savings accounts at the Fed bank.  There is currently $16 trillion on deposit at the Fed bank receiving interest and many many more trillions as bank reserves that receive almost no interest in reserve = checking accounts at the Fed bank. Chase has $1 trillion in deposits, this is the exact same type of "debt" that the US Govt has, but seeing as all net financial assets come from the US Govt, because they are the only ones legally allowed to make debt-free money (bank money has a corresponding debt from the private sector's POV)

    MMT = Reality

    "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens

    by Auburn Parks on Wed May 08, 2013 at 05:27:22 AM PDT

  •  Yes, let's have another conversation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    on today's economic problems based upon what a mythological character in a set of 2000 year old texts "said".  Really?

    Setting aside the fact that there is no evidence this guy existed, look at how he lived.  Did he go out and invest money? Did he even earn a living?  No, he wandered around the countryside living off of the generousity of other people.  Now that's definitely a qualification for an economic advisor!

    And by the way, no deity has any influence on bond interest rates and no deity "gives" us anything in the world of reality.   How about having the conversation within that world, please?

  •  This is a misreading of the Parable of the Talents (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JTinDC, Anjana, AdamSelene


    I'm on your side politically.  I wanted to point out to you that using biblical passages to advance our cause for justice can do just the opposite when misinterpreted.

    Would you take a look at this exegesis by Ched Meyers?

    This parable reads much more coherently as a cautionary tale about the world controlled by great householders (this is even clearer in Luke’s version of the story, Luke 19:11-27). Jesus may even have been spinning a thinly-veiled autobiographical tale here—for he, too, will shortly stand before the powers, speak the truth, and take the consequences. To read in it a divine endorsement of mercenary economics and the inevitable polarization of wealth is to miss the point completely—and to perpetuate both dysfunctional theology and complicit economics in our churches.
    Based on the parables told before and after this one and based on the original Greek, this story makes a hero out of the third slave.
    The third slave now begins to speak truth to power. “I knew you were a harsh man” (the Greek is skleros, a word associated with old Pharaoh’s disease of hardheartedness). “You reap where you did not sow, and gather where you did not scatter seed” (25:24).
    With these words the third slave becomes what Herzog calls a “whistle-blower,” having unmasked the fact that the master’s wealth is derived entirely from the toil of others. He profits from the backbreaking labor of those who work the land. Unwilling to participate in this exploitation, this third slave took the money out of circulation, where it could no longer be used to dispossess another family farmer.
    I've been fortunate enough to hear Ched Meyers do bible study on this and several other important topics at our church in Pasadena - All Saints Episicopal.  He knows what he's talking about and even our church could use the radical discipleship his prophetic message represents.  

    If you feel up to it, perhaps you would consider revising your diary posting if you find Ched's interpretation to ring true to you too.

    •  People, learn your bible dammit (0+ / 0-)

      So much of the "good" book is being used erroneously - even the liberals. If you go with the standard interpretations (i.e., turn the other cheek) you will be wrong every time. Ched Myers turns the text on its ear and gets to the real story. The writer of the original post needs some theological schooling - and then needs to rewrite his piece.

    •  Liberation Theology (0+ / 0-)

      I couldn't disagree more.

      Going back thousands of years, this parable stood for the basic idea that God gives us talents, creative capacities, that we ought not to waste because it would be a waste God-given gifts.

      The idea that this story is actually about horrible land owners and class warfare is not only obviously anachronistic (Jesus was a communists!), it totally obscures the moral of the story.

      Ched Meyers is a politician shrouding himself as a theologian - just like your typical evangelical Republican

      •  And the basis for your conjecture is? (0+ / 0-)

        Believe what you want but you offer absolutely nothing but an opinion.  At least Ched has studied the bible back to early languages Greek and Hebrew.  In my readings of Marcus Borg, Parker Palmer, John Dominic Crossan as well as my participation in my church, I have learned a thing or two about what my faith is about.

        The lessons gleaned from his exegesis are wholly consistent with a Christianity that is counter-cultural to this world - a world where the capitalist ethic of profit and accumulation are king.  The Kingdom of God is about the things Jesus speaks of in the Sermon on the Mount.  Glen Stassen of Fuller Seminary teaches on this part of the bible well.

        We are called to be God's hands and feet in the world and participate in the Kingdom of God substantively.  This is what Christianity is about.  For a liberal to misuse biblical passages to suit their ideology is no better than it is for a Conservative to do likewise.  That's my point.

        Read your bible.  ((ha that's pretty funny coming from a liberal)) I'm one who actually does, who wrestles with it daily, and is moved by those who are on the margins of this unjust society we've created here in America.  We can do better.

        •  I love this... (0+ / 0-)

          "We are called to be God's hands and feet in the world and participate in the Kingdom of God substantively.  This is what Christianity is about. "

          Really? Hey folks, pay attention... this guy has GOT IT!

            It's so nice of you to share the true meaning of Christianity with everyone.  I mean the TRUE meaning... the really really true true meaning!  Why have you been hiding this from everyone?  If you would just speak up about this, I'm sure the war within Christianity between the fundies and the liberals will just STOP!

          You know, I read that whole bible and lots of auxiliary information on it as well. I agree you have to wrestle with it. It's like a floor mat war... between reason and absolute delusional fantasy. It does wear one out!   My conclusion that I wouldn't want to be the hands, feet or even friend of that god. Too immoral for me. And The Kingdom?  Even worse.

  •  Jesus save me from your followers! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Nothing the god of biomechanics wouldn't let you in heaven for

    by Greatwyrm on Wed May 08, 2013 at 10:26:07 AM PDT

  •  Calls this to mind (0+ / 0-)

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Wed May 08, 2013 at 10:43:17 AM PDT

  •  Your diary implies that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Christianity is the ground or foundation of morality.  It's one thing to suggest that contemporary economic policy is not Christian, it's quite another to suggest that it is not moral because it is Christian.  

    Personally, I think economic science should be the guiding light of economic governance, but I think it's worth pointing out that elite consensus on the Federal budget has anything but a moral foundation. And don't just take it from me, ask Jesus.
    Morality and religion are independent of one another and no religion is needed in order to know moral truths.  You really shouldn't perpetuate the myth that religion and morality are synonyms.  At its best, religion might remind us of moral truths that we could have known anyway without religion.  It is not the origin of moral truths.
  •  So I come back to check on this (0+ / 0-)

    conversation and what do I see?  People going back and forth over what the bible means and whose interpretation of certain passages is right or not right... who is misreading this text or that text... aauugghhh! And these are Christians who are supposedly on the same side!

    No wonder Christianity is such a mess!  It is a circular firing squad and has been for 2000 years because no one will admit that the texts are incredibly flawed and useless as guides to anything.  As long as liberals hang on the same book with the same words in it that back up the fundamentalist's views, they are tied to the hip with them.  You can't point the finger at fundamentalists "getting the meaning of Christianity all wrong" when no one can agree on that definition.

    In the meantime, we have big ongoing world problems and need everyone with clear heads thinking about them rationally and doing what needs to be done.  Get your heads out of these texts, folks, and join the real world, please!

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