Over the past month or so, I have read in my “local” paper (Boston Globe) a wealth of stories of rescue, though most lacking in the heroism department. There have been cries to bail out wealthy coastal residents on Plum Island and the Cape, cash-strapped school systems, the public transportation system, the state’s healthcare law, Bear Stearns and the rest of Wall Street, and of course homeowners, mortgage lenders and banks that in many ways orchestrated the start of this train wreck that is now our economy. I asked of some friends the other day if they knew where the bail out line was, because I’d like to get in it. But then I remembered that as a tax payer I’m already in it, only I’m in the giving line, not the receiving one.
I realize I’m treading dangerously close to the sentiments and beliefs of some that I usually write off as being a bit loony. I’m hardly one who doesn’t believe in helping others out. I more rightly line up with a camp that believes in many principles of Biblical economics including not charging interest on money lent and observing the practice of Jubilee, a Sabbath year in which debts are forgiven and slaves set free. In other words, I think we’re rightly called to help one another in difficult times, even if in some ways we’ve brought these difficult times upon ourselves. Yet what’s happening in these bail outs of today is pushing me to the brink of holding onto this idea and I find myself more and more ready to adopt another Old Testament practice, i.e. packing up my belongings and heading back to my tent, out into the wilderness away from all of this insanity.
I in no way claim to understand economics. The only business class I ever attempted in college was accounting and I only lasted a few weeks in it. When it comes to these matters I know only how to do two things, (1) balance my checkbook and (2) pay my bills. Yet more and more today I’m thinking that if I’d only stuck it out in accounting – and maybe a few other courses in the business track – I’d have learned the tricks of those who do neither of these things, yet continue to go along their merry way.