If the No. 1 reason people aren't rich is because they're lazy, the No. 2 reason may be that they're also wicked. Not that being wicked ever stopped anyone from getting rich.
Given all that, should we save taxes by stopping government entitlement programs? Does giving money to poor and greedy people reduce their numbers, or does it just ensure more poor and greedy people?
Great Spirit, Great Wealth
As you can tell, I'm in the same politically incorrect frame of mind as in my last column, "Lazy People Don't Get Rich." Many of you had a lot to say about that article, and I'll comment on that in an upcoming column.
For now, this week I derive much of its inspiration from the Bible. Since money and religion are controversial subjects, I should clarify my religious position: I prefer the Native American Indian term "Great Spirit" as a more approachable reference to God.
I also don't like religious fanatics, regardless of what religion they belong to, but I support freedom of religion. For that matter, I also support the freedom to not believe in a god at all.
As for my position on wealth, if you're reading this column you know it pretty well by now.
A Talent for Abundance
While I'm no Bible scholar, I'm going to use a passage from the New Testament book of Mathew to illustrate my point about wickedness and the lack of wealth. If I misinterpret its message or don't follow your interpretation I mean no harm, nor do I claim to speak for God.
I draw my politically incorrect message from the parable of a master who, before leaving to travel, gave one of his servants five talents (a valuable unit of currency), another servant two talents, and a third servant one talent. When the master returned, the first servant had doubled his money and gave his master 10 talents.
The second servant had also doubled his master's money and turned over four talents. To each of these servants the master said, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master."
The third servant was frightened of his master, so instead of multiplying the money he buried his single talent. To this servant the master said, "You wicked and slothful servant. You knew that I reap where I have not sowed and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest."
The master then took the servant's one talent and gave it to the servant who had turned 5 talents into 10. The parable ends with these words: "For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away."
Evil Is as Evil Does
My politically incorrect interpretation of this parable is that the poor are wicked and slothful -- in other words, evil and lazy. My favorite line from it is "Enter into the joy of your master." If your master is God, then God's joy is the abundance derived from making money, which in turn creates more abundance. If that means God doesn't like poor people, then so be it.
This is contrary to the ideas I often hear from socialists, religious leaders, and the poor themselves. I meet many people who believe that it's the rich who are evil, and that money is the root of all evil and rich people won't go to heaven. But this isn't what the Parable of the Talents says; I interpret it to say that the poor are evil and lazy. Your interpretation may be different.
For me, it brings up the problem of entitlements and government safety-net programs. My interpretation of the parable indicates that the government's social programs are evil because they support people who are wicked and slothful, and even create more of them.
That doesn't mean just more poor people, either. As we all know, some of the most corrupt practices in government are derived from the rich wanting more government handouts for their corporations, special interest groups, or political action committees.
Most of us are mature enough to know that it's only the less intelligent politicians who get caught. Some of our most wicked (and most famous) politicians are in important positions of power. Many of them are the ones we see posing for photo-ops in churches or at prayer breakfasts.
One of the more financially dysfunctional notions I hear from poor people is that "money doesn't make you happy." I don't know about you, but I'm much happier when I have an abundance of money.
So does God feel the same way -- is He happier when you're rich, or when you're poor? That's a question you'll have to answer for yourself. I think you know how I feel.