Saturday, November 20, 2021

In Context: Understanding what fixes

Of the two tracks of the Biden/Schumer agenda, the bipartisan bill went to President Biden, and the partisan reconciliation bill goes to Senator Manchin.

Even from the bill that is now law, action is not imminent. Notice the absence of “shovel-ready” to describe any of these projects. The government faces the same workforce shortage as everyone else, a problem it is making worse through excessive overreaching mandates and penalties.

Senate Majority Leader Schumer illuminated Thursday how the legislation approaches issues. Take, for instance, the voter pain point of prescription drug costs, specifically insulin. The list price costs have been rising, so Democrats think “Build Back Better will make it so Americans with diabetes don't pay more than $35 per month on insulin” and since that amount is lower than what people have been paying, “people will have more money in their pocket.”

(1) It’s never that simple because problems are never that isolated. (2) Any time any government directly modifies prices previously agreed upon by sellers and buyers there are unintended consequences. Artificially pushing down prices both increases demand and decreases supply. (3) In this case, government isn’t just changing prices for patients, but is also shifting costs to insurance companies.

The party that prides itself on governing takes a similarly simplistic and isolated approach to other issues as well. If you want to solve “gun violence,” eliminate guns and there will, supposedly, be no more violence with guns. If employers aren’t paying enough, they just make them pay more. There’s very little understanding or consideration of how the diverse parts of the economy fit together and affect one another. The underlying assumption is that most everything man does is fine, and we just need laws to fix everything else.

That underlying assumption is wrong. The problem is not just the symptoms, the policy, the party, or the circumstances that just need ever more chasing of that “more perfect Union.” The problem is our disunion from God, as individuals, and our cultural drift from God’s natural law. Both of these are Gospel issues. Individuals need salvation (which cannot be legislated), and our violations of God’s law (sin) inform why we need salvation. Man’s laws laboring against God’s law fixes neither the individual nor the culture.

The only fix for this and the right fix for this is to recover the teaching of God’s Word in all areas of life including economics, public policy, freedom and natural law. Whether that comes from churches, seminaries, or comes at all is the open question.

Father, we thank You for Your Church and the many parts, members, and functions of the Body. We thank You for people willing to serve in it, and for the diverse Body You have brought together. We ask that You would give her clarity and thoroughness of purpose You have for the Body of Christ in this Nation, and specifically how it can illuminate and season public civic life according to Your Word in this Nation.

“If there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.” (Galatians 3:21)

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