Monday, August 31, 2009

Keep Climbing, cash for (fill in the blank....)

Somedays, you just have to keep climbing...know what I mean??? Here's a shot from along Knife's Edge at Mt Katahdin this summer....we all climbed this bad boy....can't even tell you how blessed I was to have all 4 of my kids stand at the top with me! When I think about that, other stuff seems rather trivial. So just keep climbing whatever mountain God has you on right now...
Here's a question: Is it ever moral to save money at someone else's expense? We've always taught our kids that if only one person pays for the salad bar, no one else can have even a bite. That the guy who keeps a cup from every fast food place in his car so he can get "free refills" any time is as much a thief as a bank robber. That if you are given too much money back at the grocery store, you should make a trip back to turn it get the point. So when the government says they'll give cash for energy "defficient" junk (cars, now appliances apparently), with money that doesn't even exist, we teach our kids that it's wrong to save money at the expense of their grandchildren. It's just not the right thing to do. I'll keep my 80s fridge till I can save enough to buy a new one myself. I'll just trust God that doing the right thing will pay off in the end. Even if that's not in this age....


  1. Thinking about "Cash for Clunkers", by not participating you have not changed the amount owed by your grandchildren. I agree that we should not have wasted federal dollars that way, but I'm not sure what avoiding the program would accomplish.

    If the government offers a tax break on the installation of a solar hot water heater which would make the hot water heater pay for itself in 3 years instead of 7 years, should you not claim the tax credit?

    How about the deduction for mortgage interest? Afterall the government is just incentivizing home ownership.

    Not participating in a government program based on how much it will cost your grandchildren is a slippery slope.

    Oh, here is a good one. How about the child tax credit? This was great food for thought.
    (Bill not Steph)

  2. Just a thought on the "savings at someone else's expense". If one's conscience tells them to avoid Gov. incentive programs, then they should go with it.
    But one needs to then extrapulate (sp?) that same standard and conviction to other consumerism. For instance: If I buy a $3 mark down t-shirt at Walmart, who is paying for the savings? The person who works hard for a very meager living in the country where that shirt was made is getting paid diddly squat perhaps. So I've essentially saved money at that person's expense. Is that moral?
    Or another example: I purchase coffee that is on sale (& use a coupon to boot - and stock up to ensure further savings) that was produced and processed by a large corporation that got that coffee from growers in another country and those farmers weren't paid nearly enough for it. I've saved money at that farmer's expense. He and his family most likely won't have all they need. Is that moral? Better to pay more money for fair trade coffee and be sure that I'm not immorally stealing from the coffee grower's family. (especially when I already have plenty and can get by without the savings alot better than said poor farmer).
    So, my point is simply that it IS moral to consider such questions in our consumerism, but it needs to extend to ALL aspects of our bargain hunting, and not just the ones that go against a government admin. that we are against already anyway. :-)

  3. Oh, and also, if I'm using products that contribute adversely to the planet God so awesomely created in a perfect way for humans to be able to exist on (like no other planet out there! What a gift!), than that too is immoral. I am stealing from others in the sense that I am contributing to the decline in resources - not just simply here where I live, but many poorer countries that end up with the "raw end of the deal" when it comes to consumerism and using up the environmental resources. So, if those incentives help to create a more equitable availability of natural resources across the planet, I'm morally obligated to think of the needs of others more highly than myself, and consider the robbery of their resources that I would be responsible for by saving $$ by using something that is not environmentally responsible.

  4. Billy: You are right, it is a slippery slope, and I'm not as consistent as I'd like to be. Obviously, I drive on roads maintained by the government, use the post office, love the library and will call the fire dept. if my house catches on fire. I fully admit (though it makes me gag)that we live in a totally Fabian Socialistic country that likes to pretend it is a free market society. But as much as possible, I avoid government programs. Mike and I turned down thousands of dollars in grants for my college when we were first married (and neither one of us had jobs...but God provided them AFTER we made the decision)...we just couldn't be part of the problem. I think if they were solvent to start with, it might not bother me AS much...but I'd still avoid it for myself and my kids. I let Mike deal with the taxes/write-offs; I remind him when I sign that HE will answer to God :)!! Oh, and the child tax credit is SOOOO unjust...why should my childless friends pay MORE taxes than I do when they use the system LESS? Fair Tax or consumption tax all the way, baby!!

    Lori: I know what you are saying and I do try -probably not as much as I could- but I do try to keep these things in mind....being a good steward of the earth and the resources. I've read articles from both sides on the whole "fairtrade" issue...I'm not sure where to land. Just as an example: if I buy the more expensive coffee, the really poor worker who lives where there is no fairtrade coffee gets nothing, I pay higher taxes to a corrupt system, and I have less money to give away or buy another product to help someone else. I use to tie myself in knots over this stuff: Don't buy from China, they exploit their workers; don't use this product, they support get the idea. I finally realized I would have to stop living at all because everything is so interconnected. So, I try to be mindful and prayerful and do my best to live up to those things to which God convicts me. Have you checked out gifts at Samaritan's Purse, Voice of the Martyrs and Gospel for Asia? I think IJM has a program now also...great items to help those who need it most AND give them the true gospel, not just the social gospel.

    Thanks for the input!!

  5. Yup - of COURSE I know all about Samaratan's Purse gifts, et. al.