Chosen Ones: Gino’s Folly

Gino looked worried, and dropped the basket. It rolled off and he could hear Pussy clawing from the inside, very upset at being dropped. “Now this is a surprise.” Dawes spoke, his eyes locked on Gino. “Why on earth are you in the city, so close to the capitol? Shouldn’t you be off with your sheep?”

Gino shook his head. “I have a duty beyond that, Dawes. I’m sure you know of it.” Dawes laughed. “I’m sure. You’re here because of Opal. Predictable, as always.”

Gino found himself getting angry. Dawes, once a close friend, had betrayed his comrade for a share in Nya’s empire. It had been him who had tracked down the two Chosen long ago, and it had been him since who had pursued them so mercilessly. Indeed, Dawes now held in his hand Opal’s consciousness. The betrayal kept getting worse.

Dawes realized Gino’s mixed feelings and began to take advantage of them. “You know how easy you’ve made it now, Gino. If I have you, and I already have Opal, what will these rebels do? Wander around in the dark, most likely, making bad decisions and eventually falling off a cliff.”

Gino didn’t say anything. If anything happened to Opal, truly the band would be directionless…and purposeless! But if Nya’s henchman knew that, he would test them sore. He couldn’t take that risk.

Suddenly, Dawes turned on him. “Why won’t you say anything?” He asked, angrily. “What could I say?” Gino asked meekly, before answering his own question. “Nothing. I will say nothing.”

Dawes laughed. “This silence becomes one of your class. Of course, you probably think that you’re perfect, with your ‘secret religion’ and your ‘special gifts’. It makes me sick.” He spat on the ground. “You used to believe in the One True God, just as much as I did.” Gino said quietly, though inwardly chafing at the rude remark.

Dawes shook his head. “And I also used to believe in sprites. What matters it? Your ‘strange’ friends won’t be able to get by without you. And believe me,” He thrust out his hand and grabbed Gino’s arm “I intend to find them, every last one of them, and destroy them. Men and women alike.” He hissed.

What happened next surprised both of them. Gino suddenly felt the ground spinning under his feet, and Dawes turned red in his eyes. He pulled his right arm back, while at the same time reaching with his left behind him. There was an explosion.

The next thing they knew, Dawes had fell back, and was shrieking and cursing. Gino stood there for a second, triumphant, with a pistol in his hand. “You took my fingers years ago, Dawes. How do you like it now?” He cried, stepping back.

The sky had been overcast for a few hours, but now lightning sparked its way across the sky. The sound jolted Gino out of his triumph, and he dropped the weapon as if it had been made of fire. Then he collapsed, and hid his face in his hands.

“No! No, Lord! I….” He sobbed, shaking violently. The slight pattering of raindrops mixed with Dawes’ curses and Gino’s sobbing. “Ruined! Oh, Creator, forgive me! Forgive me!”

Dawes’ men came running up and stopped at the strange sight. “Don’t just stand there, fools! Help me up!” Dawes yelled, half-ashamed at the cowardly way he had been carrying on. Gino didn’t move. “To fail now, and for such a thing as revenge.” He muttered. “Ruined.”

The rainstorm met the rest of the band under the grateful cover of the great forest that led into the capitol city. “We’re so close.” Caro remarked wistfully. “If only Opal would awaken, and we could continue our purpose.” Davis, who had been following (and indeed seldom left the prince out of his sight) agreed. “If the princess would awaken, and bring peace to this land, even I would believe in fairytales. But what’s all the ruckus down there?” He asked suddenly, as he heard the sounds of a great commotion coming from the camp.awakened

They descended the hill that had given them a view into the city, and were met by Rora. She looked as though she had seen a ghost. “Donnae blame me, sirs.” She panted, “Because I know nothing of it. One leaves, one comes back, and then she’s out of bed and babbling like…I don’t know what!” Caro and Davis exchanged worried glances. “What?”

Rora pointed behind her. There, pacing back and forth through the ranks of surprised men, as if life depended on it, ran Opal, with her cat in her arms. Puss had scratRora and Pussyched her way out of the basket and had returned to her mistress, who was now awake.

Caro ran to Opal, who was weeping and whispering at the same time. “Woe! For hope to me means death to another.” She cried, tears streaming down her cheeks. “Prince Caro, Gino is taken, and all is lost.”

He is Willing

Prayer is a major part of life for a Follower of Christ. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, wrote “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.” (I Cor 10:31) However, there’s a lot of trouble when we go about and actually pray.

It’s all well and good to talk about praying. After all, that encourages others and can add their prayers to yours. But the act of praying isn’t something to gossip about. As James said, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

One of the problems people have with prayer is they feel reluctant to ask for something. Maybe they grew up with parents who never said yes. Maybe they are used to doing things themselves; whatever it is, people struggle. For me, it’s the same thing I struggle with concerning my parents: asking them for something that benefits only me.

Jesus said “Ask, and it will be given to you, seek, and you will find, knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you is his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or of he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matt 7:7-11)

Like the poor father who cried in agony “Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!” we know that we can ask him, and should, but like frightened children we dawdle at the door. “Praise the Grace whose threats alarmed us, roused us from our Fatal Ease. Praise the Grace whose blessings charmed us, praise the Grace that whispered peace.” One hymn reads, while another says “’Twas the same love that spread the feast, that sweetly drew us in, lest we had still refused to taste, and perished in our sin.”

One of the things that God planted within us, as his children, is diligence. When we diligently seek him, pouring out our souls to his perfect will and pleading desperately for mercy, his heart is touched. Though we may not see the answer then, that day, that year or even that lifetime, God hears us. El Shama, God who Hears.

Though I could use more verses, I’ve found that one of the most effective ways of getting my point across is a story. If Debbie will forgive me, I will use a Narnia story and hope she doesn’t get too angry.

In The Magician’s Nephew, Fledge the Flying Horse, with two children on his back, have just set off on a long journey to bring something back to Aslan that will protect the land from the witch Digory(the boy) accidentally brought in. But when they stopped to rest, they realized that they had forgotten something in their rush to leave. Food.

“Well, I do think someone might have arranged our meals,” said Digory.
“I’m sure Alsan would have, if you’d asked him.” Said Fledge.
“Wouldn’t he know without being asked?” said Polly.
“I’ve no doubt he would,” said the horse (still with his mouth full). “But I’ve a sort of idea he likes to be asked.”

Another reason we can be afraid to pray is we don’t want to be rejected. We’ve tried so hard…will you deny us what we’ve been dreaming about for so long? It’s not fair! But while sometimes his plans are contrary to ours, it is always best to talk to him, even if it seems pointless.

And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

(Matthew 15:21-28 ESV

In this story, Jesus first ignores the woman, so much so that his disciples are disturbed by her cries (this is no gentle pleading) then insults her….twice! But, even through all that, she refuses to give up, and even uses his insult against him. He called her dog, she calls herself “little dog” or “pet.” In Ancient Israel, a “dog” was more like my doofus Tanner: a large dog, or a smaller skulking, unclean, dangerous dog. But a “little dog” as she called herself, was more like the little dachshund dogs that my friend owns: pets. She said, “You are right, but have mercy on me anyway, even though I don’t deserve it.”

She had faith.

That is how we all come, all undeserving. We know that we shouldn’t have this blessing, but we know that we must have it. For this woman, it meant the life of her daughter. But God is even willing to give us smaller things, if we ask. Here’s an example…

In the Book Prince Caspian, Lucy, using her magic cordial, healed Reepicheep of his wounds from the great battle with the Telmarines, but she couldn’t fix the tail, because it wasn’t there to heal. Aslan and the mouse had a discussion on whether or not he needs a tail.reep

“I am confounded,” said Reepicheep to Aslan. “I am completely out of countenance. I must crave your indulgence for appearing in this unseemly fashion.”

“It becomes you very well, Small One,” said Aslan.

“All the same,” replied Reepicheep, “if anything could be done…Perhaps her majesty?” and here he bowed to Lucy.

“But what do you want with at tail?” asked Aslan.

“Sir,” said the Mouse, “I can eat and sleep and die for my king without one. But a tail is the honor and glory of a Mouse.”

“I have sometimes wondered, friend,” said Aslan, “whether you do not think too much about your honor.”

“Highest of all High Kings,” said Reepicheep, “permit me to remind you that a very small size has been bestowed on us Mice, and if we did not guard our dignity, some (who weigh worth in inches) would allow themselves very unsuitable pleasantries at our expense. That is why I have been at some pains to make it known that no one who does not wish to feel this sword as near his heart as I can reach shall talk in my presence about Traps or Tasted Cheese or Candles: no, Sir-not the tallest fool in Narnia!” Here he glared very fiercely up at Wimbleweather, but the Giant, who was always a stage behind everyone else, had not yet discovered what was being talked about down at his feet, and so missed the point.

“Why have your followers all drawn their swords, may I ask?” said Aslan.

“May it please your High Majesty,” said the Second Mouse, whose name was Peepiceek, “we are all willing to cut off our own tails if our Chief must go without his. We will not bear the shame of wearing an honor that is denied to the High Mouse.”

“Ah!” roared Aslan. “You have conquered me. You have great hearts. Not for the sake of your dignity, Reepicheep, but for the love that is between you and your people, and still more for the kindnesss your people showed me long ago when you ate away the cords of the Stone Table (and it was then, though you have long forgotten it, that you began to be Talking Mice), you shall have your tail again.

Before Aslan had finished speaking the new tail was in its place.

In this story, Reepicheep had a very vain demand: a tail. He was already healed, and could have alone just fine without it. But because of Aslan’s mercy, his friends’ loyalty, and the whole situation, he had it.

Now there are many things to prayer I do not understand. Like why is it that husbands and wives seem to have different rules? And why is it that we seem to ask and ask about things but do not receive? Can something truly be wrong if you want it so badly? What if it’s something good?

Well, as Peter Kreeft said in his dialog (in the character of C.S. Lewis) “Do you think I carry God in my pocket?” Though I admire Kreeft, I think C.S. Lewis said it better himself, “He’s not a tame lion.”

I don’t know why some prayers seem to go unanswered. But I know there’s a reason. Because I know that our God, the God who is greater than our intellect, always keeps his promises. Even when that means someone is killed in an accident, or even martyred like Stephen (or worse). There are the things that we can’t understand.

Praises to his name, though, God does. I trust him. Do you?

Can Christians Oppose the Government?

At what point -- if ever -- can Christians oppose the government? Are laws directly ordering Christians to go against their faith the limit, or is defiance warranted sooner?

At what point — if ever — can Christians oppose the government? Are laws directly ordering Christians to go against their faith the limit, or is defiance warranted sooner?

“We should always be good citizens and obey our government, except when doing so goes against God.”

 

My Sunday school class members nodded in agreement at the teacher’s statement. Two or three piped up, and one mentioned how voting is important; another brought up the issue of prayer in public schools; and yet another introduced the very pressing problem of whether or not nativity scenes should be allowed on public property.

 

But there’s a gigantic flaw with this variety of good citizenship: If Christians are to obey the state under all circumstances, up until the point that it goes against God, how and when is activism for the cause of freedom justified?

 

Despite that the opposite seems true at first glance, opposing the government is not merely justified—it is necessary.

 

As it turns out, the state will rarely begin encroaching upon religious freedoms without warning (revolutions excluded).

 

Usually an unprecedented increase in the size and scope of government, excessive regulations, an explosion of new bureaucracies, intrusion into all financial sectors of the economy, gun and weapon control laws, a police state, an interventionist economy, skyrocketing taxes and a nightmarishly large welfare state crop up years (possibly decades) before direct legal persecution comes from the government.

 

In other words, before the state tells you to go against God, it will tell you to empty your wallet, drop your weapons, and register belongings. Only a large and intrusive government has the power to regulate worldviews and religion, and large and intrusive governments always begin with financially controlling and crippling the populace, disarming citizens, and keeping tabs on your life and property.

 

Being a truly good citizen is attempting to stop these phenomena in their tracks—to try and ensure that the circumstances in which the government can or would tell you to go against God would never come about in the first place.

 

It should also be noted that laws going against God are not necessarily applying to merely so-called “religious” issues, like prayer in public schools or nativity scenes at city hall: God has ordained a way for government to function, a way for financial situations to work, a way for children to be educated and raised, a way for charity to happen, a way for animals to be treated.

 

Not even individual denominations, much less the whole of Christianity or an entire nation, can decide amongst themselves what precisely these ways entail. The best option is to leave government out entirely and to fight to keep it that way.

 

Good citizenship never involves silently allowing one’s self to become a host or unfair beneficiary of a parasitical state; it never involves the doormat-like existence that some modern Christians suggest is ideal; it never involves handing over weapons, children, or freedoms.

 

The moral problems with government control of the economy and an intrusive state is a topic for another day; but excessive government intrusion makes a Christian lifestyle gradually less possible and inevitably leads to persecution and outright laws against its existence.

 

The prayer in public school issue and the debate over nativity scenes on public property are two very small facets of an ever-growing underlying problem—the expanding scope of government.

 

So, is obeying the state at all times a Christian imperative?

 

No—respect the government when respect is due, support it when it deserves support, and always keep Christ your focus in politics and in matters of the state, but realize that there is a time when you must oppose government. And remember in particular that this time comes a lot sooner than when Christian beliefs are under direct legal attack.

 

Goofy Dog’s tribute

Hi there. My name’s…actually, maybe I shouldn’t tell ya that. See, I’m not sure if I can trust you. I mean, weird things have been happening.

I have to explain what happened. See, usually, when ya see something that says “Dog” it means that Clara will be a’writing something here on this fancy calculator. But that isn’t going to be happening anymore. I suppose I should explain why.

It all started with those chickens. Clara didn’t like ‘em. I did. I thought they were kinda cute, and you know? They taste just like chicken too. Course, that there means that there will be trouble with the folks up at the house. You know me, happy as ever, but Clara didn’t like being chained up. It’s a sad one, that is. I can’t hardly explain it, but it can’t be that she liked the taste of them. It had to be that she loved to chase stuff.

So they tried to train her out of it. Don’t get me wrong, they did. Tried treats and tricks and shocky collars and time in the doghouse, but she wouldn’t budge. Wouldn’t even come when called. Well. They don’t like that in a dog. Not that she was a bad ‘un, but she just was a bit of a rascal. Wouldn’t listen at all.

So they put up a for sale sign, and wouldn’t you know? Some feller said he wanted a good dog for his kids. Oh, Clara was sad to leave the chickens, to be sure. She said something about the “Duty of all dogs” or something else, but well, they were very insistant. Last thing I saw she was grinnin’ off the side of a pickup truck with a girl and a baby, getting pet and everything.

Now don’t think I’m any writer, ‘cause that’s not true. Clara always had that. She gave me one last assignment, to get the chickens by a’making a poster that showed how terribly awful those chickens are and bad chickens are to people and Dogs. I even came up with an acronym and everything.

C.A.R.E. Chickens are really evil

C.A.R.E. Chickens are really evil

Clara will be so proud.

Poem: Christmas Carol

Oh, let us come; singing carols stand,

And with our songs rejoice,

Kindness and favor are in his hands,

And goodness and mercy his voice.

For he has forgiven the unpayable debt

And promised to take us home

Let Christmas not be the time we forget

For whom he had to come.

With grace God became a man,

And was born on the earth,

The ending of creation began,

It started with his birth.

For he who knew nothing but love

Was born trembling in the hay

The sweetest gift from above,

Was forgotten on Christmas day.

Oh let us remember him today,

The day that bears his name,

For the one who started every day,

Was not born into fame.

Was not born in a castle great,

But in a cattle stall,

He died to finally destroy hate,

He died to save us all.

 

Burned again

It’s getting alarming how our nation seems to be in one place to some and another to the others. We all would rather live in our own little worlds than try and stop the ticking time-bomb that is being tampered with by non-professionals. At least, that’s what you have to conclude when you look around at all the turmoil in our backyards.

Where’s our sense of nationalism? My chickens might be smarter than those in power. I don’t doubt that these men and women are intelligent. I just wonder if they’re behind their time. I have pet chickens. To me they are pets. To Mom, they are egg-producing wonders. But they are fiercely loyal to their pen and will fight any chicken that invades their privacy.

For those of you who don’t have chickens, consider this example. Poor, poor Sparkle was being picked on by her sisters, who are meaner than mean(she is too, but this was before she grew up). We had two little delicate hens in a cage all by themselves, and they never pecked each other. They had raised our chicks and were tolerant and kind little mothers.

Of course, that was before they began to lay. Suddenly they realized  that any chicken that invades their space might try to be the leader. She might destroy their eggs. She might set up a dictatorship. So what did they do? They chased her around until we decided that Sparkle would be safer back with the persecutors.

Now I’m not saying that politicians should act like chickens. That would be increasingly strange (though some people wonder if the people they elected suddenly turned into chickens when they have to make a decision) and rather cruel. Just because a being is nationalistic doesn’t mean it should be elected. Hitler was, and no one has him on their ticket.

But there is something to say about being loyal. This can be played both ways, as can everything, but let’s use a small example. First of all, did you know that one of the ways the Soviet Union kept their territories under their control was splitting them along ethnic lines? Suddenly, all reason to band together was lost. These people weren’t your friends or even allies…they were enemies! Why should we help them?

Secondly, how do you identify yourself: as a person or as a part of a family? To us, it is obviously a person. To an Asian, it’s obviously a family. They are loyal to their heritage, and we are loyal to…what?

Are we loyal to our community? The color of our skin? Our nation? Our state? Or nothing? That question must be asked. Those who formed our nation were amateurs. They had never run a country before. Indeed, at first it wasn’t a country, but simply a confederation of states. No state had dominance over the others. A Massachusetts man couldn’t order a Virginian to do something. They lived as separate countries.

But war has a funny way of either uniting or dividing. Suddenly they had an enemy. Should they fight or sue for peace? It divided them at first, but they soon realized that those armies weren’t going to go away on their own. The feuding states, like their delegates, must “Hang together, or we will all surely hang separately.”

Our forefathers learned very quickly that rich or poor, white or black, Northern merchant or Southern farmer, we need to work together. Some things that were big problems before are suddenly very small. After the war, the delegates had plenty of time to argue over whether slavery was right or whether representation should be proportionate to size or equal. But during the war, things were dropped.

Today we have reached a dangerous point in our nation. The parties, both R. & D. have been corrupted by those who claim to be our friends. People no longer trust our leaders, and consequently, don’t trust those whose job is to keep peace, namely, the military. Hypocrisy flows from Washington, and We the People are angry and upset.

My study of history has led me to believe that parties have always been more political than useful, but that is a story for another time. We’re facing a dilemma. Our nation is confused. We want peace, but those who are supposed to lead us are only pouring gasoline on the fire. No wonder we’re being burned.

It’s at times like this that we are particularly vulnerable, and those who want us destroyed can rise. Maybe they’re already there. I believe that the only thing we really can do is remember. This is my land, my Father’s land, my Home.

If I can’t be proud of anything else, I can be proud of this. In the end, these leaders will bite the dust, and be forgotten. No one cares who the Secretary of Treasury was under the Washington Administration (Alexander Hamilton) I doubt more than a dozen people know who the Attorney General was either. They are long gone. Soon these names will be just that, names! But the great story goes on.

We have to remember our ultimate loyalty. God First. Family second. Country third. No matter who you are or where you live, these things matter. Our ultimate loyalty is not to those who look like us. It’s to our God in heaven, who set up laws and officials. And he said that stealing was wrong, no matter what the cause.

I’m not going to pretend that we are perfect. As a nation, we have had our triumphs and our shames. But stirring up old wrongs to serve your own motives is disgusting, no matter who you are or what the excuse is. Some people have forgotten that.

 

President Obama Announces Plan for Jobs Growth

White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest Holds Daily Briefing

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest describes the President’s new jobs growth plan.

 

WASHINGTON – President Obama’s newest lame-duck project, the American Jobs and Reinvestment Act of 2014 (AJRA) offers up a bold new plan for United States jobs growth: nuking most populated areas of the country.

 

After the planned nuclear cataclysm, labor supply will be reduced sufficiently so that those seeking work won’t find it difficult to get.

 

“And on top of this, the destruction of most of U.S. civilization will leave a lot of jobs to be done—I think we’ll see a boom in housing, development, building sectors, possibly agriculture, and so much more,” said Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

 

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest explained: “The President will not be satisfied until every American who wants work can find a job. That’s why he is working to grow our economy, so middle class families feel confident in their futures and their children’s futures. Well, I mean, depends on if your kids survive … but you get the idea.”

 

Among other things, the first stage of the law’s enactment incentivizes finding a friend or family member and swapping a dollar bill back and forth for fifteen minutes every day to increase economic activity. The AJRA includes a provision that checks will be sent to eligible U.S. households, for the express purpose of being thrown into the wind—hopefully to reach some wind-energy farms and subsequently boost jobs growth.

 

After that, nuclear bombs will be placed in strategically significant cities throughout the nation and then set off; as a result, key American industries will receive a much-needed boost.

 

“New houses will need to be built, all agriculture will need to relocate, and manufacturers of all sorts will find plenty of demand,” continued Furman.

 

He went on to say that while opponents in Congress are calling this plan “radical” and “dangerous,” it is not much different from the government’s response to the financial crisis of  2008 and is extremely similar to President Roosevelt’s New Deal after the Great Depression.

 

“This is common-sense economic policy that has been tried many times before,” the President said, “It’s a natural extension of the policy we’ve been pursuing since 2008.”

 

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) added, “The whole purpose of this legislation is to up spending, consumer confidence, and get the money flowing back into the economy. In the second stage, we’ll self-induce a nuclear apocalypse.”

 

“Increased economic activity is what it will take for Americans to get the jobs and wages that they need and deserve. American industry and small businesses shouldn’t be shutting down—they should be growing and expanding. My new plan will do something to help get business back on its feet again,” President Obama concluded.

 

Black Friday’s Absurdities

black friday fallacy

On Black Friday you were bombarded with advertisements, inconvenienced by heavy traffic, and promised by local yokels and media that all the hectic and potentially lethal mobs descending on Wal-Mart and Best Buy were doing the nation’s economy a favor.

 

On small-business Saturday you were probably informed that not “supporting local business owners” could have disastrous consequences, warned of the evils of “big corporations,” and possibly guilted into dropping a few dozen dollars at the nearest mom-and-pop diner or antique shop. For the local economy’s sake, of course.

 

On Cyber Monday you might have sat home in your Snuggie (God help us all) and watched as your inbox and newsfeed blew up with allegedly unbeatable online deals; and if you didn’t, maybe you skimmed through the morning news and saw headlines about those wounded in the Black Friday skirmishes and later a few paragraphs about the economic condition of the nation.

 

And well, today, you might feel trampled—literally or figuratively, depending on whether or not you went shopping on Friday. The feeling may stick around for another month or so.

 

Although the private sector is almost entirely responsible for the December-long mall-raiding rampage, and although consumers make the choice to spend their money in this manner, there are some seriously outdated economic theories floating around in the political sphere about how consumer spending grows the economy, particularly the seasonal variety of binge-buying.

 

The Black Friday Lie . . . one of them . . .

 

You’re going to hear it from a lot of places:

 

“Strong consumer and government spending drove UK growth in the third quarter as business investment and exports contracted against an increasingly uncertain global backdrop…” – the Telegraph

 

“A pair of Commerce Department reports this week showed that consumer spending is recovering from a weak first quarter more slowly than economists expected, and some are worrying that slowdown in a sector accounting for 70 percent of the U.S. economy could foreshadow slower economic growth on the whole.” – International Business Times

 

“…holiday spending can start a virtuous cycle of spending, profits, hiring and more spending, said Richard Feinberg, professor of retail management at PurdueUniversity.” – Columbus Dispatch

 

And the Dispatch summed it all up in one fallacious headline: “Holiday spending can lift businesses, entire economy.”

 

All that trickle-down financial well-being, job growth, and impending prosperity you’ve been told comes about from the disturbing Friday, Saturday, and Monday splurges and the month-long Christmas frenzy? Lies, all lies.

 

Going bankrupt, spending well into the red, buying unnecessary products, and paying extra at small businesses for products available more cheaply elsewhere not only harms you financially, it has no aggregate economic benefit whatsoever.

 

You’re often told that consumer spending is crucial to growth because the more money individuals spend, the more money flows through the economy—and somehow that bolsters businesses and creates jobs. Savings are practically tantamount to holding back economic “growth,” or at least that’s what Keynesians have been broadcasting to eager interventionist listeners for over half a century now.

 

The problem is that Keynes’ theory disregards the difference between economic activity and economic expansion. Economic activity could be anything from a complex private sector banking system to two castaways sitting on an island and literally exchanging the same clamshell all day long. According to Keynes, the latter example is an engine for economic growth. Growth, however, is quite different from the Keynesian vision: it is greater productivity and efficiency in the allocation of resources, impossible to achieve without capital investment and savings.

 

The Law of Markets (Say’s Law) dictates that demand is caused by supply, and therefore there cannot be a consumer-led recovery at all. And even though spending may benefit some retailers a smidgen, consider what might have been. Other, possibly better, things are available, but only when consumption is delayed for a time.

 

Bastiat’s classic example of two brothers, one who spends all of his money as quickly as possible and one who delays consumption, demonstrates what savings actually do for the economy. Behind the scenes, in bank accounts and piggy banks, savings are invested in capital goods—goods that are used in the production of other goods, like factory equipment and technology. The greater efficiency afforded by such capital investment reduces the price of consumer goods, and thus technically consumer spending.

 

When a consumer decides to save and not spend, other consumers pick up the slack by borrowing those savings and using them to finance capital investment, which in turn results in a higher standard of living, greater efficiency, lower prices, and less consumer spending. Productivity and the efficient allocation of resources, not mindless spending and consuming, are the goals of an economy.

 

In short, less consumer spending can (and almost always does) mean greater capital investment and accompanying true economic growth. While the ultimate goal of the economy is to fulfill consumer needs, it can’t be done without saving.

 

Spending and consumption are not bad; you have the option to spend until you can spend no more, but keep in mind it is not the pathway to prosperity in the aggregate or otherwise.

 

The seasonal Christmas spending frenzy is pretty bad from a lot of perspectives, but the worst part is the assumption that this consumer spending leads to long-run growth.

 

 

It doesn’t.