I posted an email I received on my Facebook wall, & a great debate ensued.

The folks who are getting free stuff, don’t like the folks who are paying for the free stuff, because the folks who are paying for the free stuff can no longer afford to pay for both the free stuff and their own stuff.

The folks who are paying for the free stuff want the free stuff to stop, and the folks who are getting the free stuff want even more free stuff on top of the free stuff they are already getting!

Now… The people who are forcing the people to pay for the free stuff have told the people who are RECEIVING the free stuff, that the people who are PAYING for the free stuff, are being mean, prejudiced, and racist.

So… The people who are GETTING the free stuff have been convinced they need to hate the people who are paying for the free stuff by the people who are forcing some people to pay for their free stuff, and giving them the free stuff in the first place.

We have let the free stuff giving go on for so long that there are now more people getting free stuff than paying for the free stuff.

Now understand this: all great democracies have committed financial suicide somewhere between 200 and 250 years after being founded. The reason? The voters figured out they could vote themselves money from the treasury by electing people who promised to give them money from the treasury in exchange for electing them. Thomas Jefferson said it best: “Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not”.

The number of people now getting free stuff outnumbers the people paying for the free stuff. We have one chance to change that at the next election in 2013 will we? Failure to change that spells the end of Australia, as we know it.

“The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” — Margaret Thatcher

Marsha, “And guess what? Now julia is taking more money from the people paying for all the free stuff and giving $250 carbon tax cheques to all the people that aren’t paying tax in the first place, and the people that are paying all the tax, aren’t eligible for it! Grrr grrr grrrr”

Lyn, “yes, indeed, Grrrr, Marsha. The sooner this government is voted out, the better!”

Curtis, “Man!! this free stuff thing is crap….. Vote them out i say!!”

Jamie, “Glad to hear you are committing yourself to complete abolition of all middle-income and upper-income welfare. No childcare subsidies, no first home grants, no private health insurance subsidies, no child support subsidies etc., etc. for these folk who can afford it. Help should be given to those who need help, not to the middle class which wants its share as well as keeping what it has. I am glad you agree that only those who are on miniscule wages or unemployed should be helped. That will go a long way to re-dress the present injustice. Oh, and we should get back to the policies of Menzies, that great Liberal leader, who had a tax rate of over 66% for the upper-income level and over 50% for the middle-income level. It was much fairer that way and as a country we were more able to be a Commonwealth where the wealth was shared between all and not kept by the few. I concur with you wanting to move back to that much fairer tax system and rolling back what has happened under Howard, Keathing, Hawke, Fraser and Whitlam. It is time for us to stop being hard-hearted, tight-fisted and derogatory towards the poor, dispossed, disabled and helpless and it matches Deuteronomy 15:7-11. It is too bad that our human nature is such that we have to be forced to help the helpless and give from our abundance for their benefit. As I said, I am glad to hear your heart for the helpless and I agree that we can help them by stopping this middle-class/middle-income welfare system that has mutated over the past 15 years or so into the monster it now is.”

Marsha, “What is your definition of middle class Jamie? I am middle class. I get a bit fat zero from the government. Middle and upper class SHOULD get heaps of Benefits and subsidies, because they are the ones lining the purse!!!”

Lyn, “We’re not being hard hearted toward the poor – those who can’t find a job for lack of opportunity, disability, family situations and so on.”

Jamie, “@Marsha Gray Upton, I fit in that category as well, but I do not think I deserve anything just because I pay tax as I know I can, with frugal living, pay my own way as well as helping those who are not as well off as me. I am thankful for what I have been blessed with and feel privileged to share it with those who do not enjoy the same blessings. @Lyn Wetzig, some comments sound very hard-hearted but I guess that in the passion of debate that can happen and I am glad to see that you are not one who is hard hearted. I do not know you personally, so I would not say that of you as I am sure that is not you, just as I know that Dave is not that way at all, as I have ascertained by reading his many comments over the last few months and that is why I commended him on his attitude about the need to wind back the welfare system that is spinning out of control. But it must be taken away from those who can afford to pay their own way, even if they think that somehow ‘deserve’ payouts because they pay taxes. I am content to pay taxes without expecting something back for I know that will take away from those who really need help and I believe that the tax levels should get back to what they were under Menzies if we are to continue to be a country of ‘fair go’ and ‘commonwealth’.”

Marsha, “I’m all for helping geunine people that just need an extra bit of help but I am very weary of a lot of it going to bludgers who spend it on alcohol, drugs and cigarettes, then jumping up and down demanding more because their is nothing left to feed and clothe the kids. Give them more money, and where does it go? More alcohol!!! When will the insanity stop?”

Jamie, “And therein lies the quandary. How to be compassionate and wise at the same time. There are no easy answers and there is no ‘silver bullet’. It is our heart attitude and the unspoken thoughts in our minds that we must guard against so that we can remain both empathetic and helpful.”

Marsha, “Our local food vans that feed the homeless are pulling the pin because the people they are feeding and trying to help have become increasingly violent, demanding ‘more food’ while reeking of alcohol. It is no longer safe for the volunteers”

Curtis, “?@Jamie, i totally hear what your saying.. We should be helping the poor and destitute… But what constitutes poor?? You see there are alot of people on our welfare system who are there beause they just dont want to work.. They dont have an illness, they arent elderly so dont require a pension! They simply want to live off the government… Its these people that need to wake up, because i talk to these same people day in day out when they have spent all their money on Alcohol and smokes and pokies. (i Work for Westpac) Why cant the government adopt mandatory Military service for people who just dont want to work?? Not only will it teach these people discipline, but also respect for themselves and this country… To get them out of this Dole bludger mentality???”

Jamie, “@Curtis Griffin, I agree with what you are saying and we do need to break the generational welfare situation in some way. I believe that it is happening to a certain extent, for we have people who have to work with us in a voluntary capacity for a certain number of hours per week and prove that if they are to obtain unemployment benefits they have applied for. Something like should apply to all forms of welfare, such as first home buyers grants etc.”

Duncan, “Socialism is like prohibitions they don’t work and both have been tried restlessly and failed. All both do is make people who haven’t earned it wealthy and those who have earned it poorer…I am tired of being told I am to blame and therefore should pay financially and emotionally for someone else’s problem they live here and have the same opportunities but I took mine and that’s my fault.

Yes I already know the answer we all don’t have blah blah…from broken home…blah blah somebody else’s fault.”

Dave, “The line and wisdom between users and abusers is when welfare becomes an (unnecessary) lifestyle, instead of a second chance.

Far from being anti social justice, moderate conservatism doesn’t discriminate between classes for welfare, but adopts a principle of reward for effort.

While middle class recipients may be less needy, they will typically be more profitable an investment for the taxpayers.

I haven’t read all above comments fully, so in depth responses maybe later ;-)”

[LATER] “I believe the resentment of tax-payers regarding welfare is directed principally at Governments bent on redistributing hard-earned middle class wealth, where the philosophy of taxation seems to be “the more successful you are (measured by earnings), the higher a percentage you should pay, as if the earnings above the average are evil, undeserved, and the public domain. To do so of course removes or reduces the incentives to prosper above average. I’d hate to think of how many jobs would go if above average business owners were satisfied to maintain the status quo. If there were a flat level of taxation (perhaps with an appropriate tax-free threshold) the person earning $50k would pay a quarter of the tax of the person earning $200k, without losing the incentive to work harder, employ more people, & produce more outcomes for the GDP. I digress.

The other resentment of tax-payers is the lethargic, dole-bludging “any-class” who deem wealthier people, the enemy, as greedy if they resent disproportionate taxation aimed at the sweat of their brow.

I believe most wealthy people are generous and philanthropic with their abundance. Social justice is of great concern. I know in my business I am.

Politically, I believe assisting those who provide jobs is more likely to help break generational welfare cycles than more welfare to those it hasn’t helped for generations. A complex subject requiring a great deal of balance & no absolutes, I’m sure.”

Esther, “From a child care point of view, i agree that it’s completely backwards. Those who are working parents have no help from the gov and pay full fees. Yet the parents who don’t work at all, get full subsidy from gov and pay a few dollars each week. Why?? They don’t need care for their kids. They’re home, so they should care for their own kids. The working parents who pay taxes and full fees, pay for those who do nothing and get it for free.
Sick of it.”

Norm, “I’m loving this debate”

Robert, “WWJD”

Dave, “@ Robert: A naturally wise perspective, but not an answer to a complex issue in itself. What do YOU believe Jesus would do with tax policy as it relates to the rich, the middle class, the genuinely poor, & the happily lower class? ?”

Robert, “Jesus would not concern himself nor entangle himself with the affairs of this world and He would look past all of those issues concerning people and see the hurt the lost the hungry thirsty and dieing and Offer his compassion. I think that judging by some of the remarks been made is slightly overbalanced toward blatant rascism and any f/b friend of mine that has that kind of nature will be deleted from my friends list.as christian men and women our concern should be about the Fathers business of saving souls instead of adding to the nasties the worldly views that bigots dish out. And by no means am i calling you a bigot. However some people really need to take a deep look inside their hearts and who knows what kind of nasties are in there and root them out so that the love of God may shine forth in their lives towards those who are less fortunate.”

Dave, “Thx Robert: I’m concerned you see any rascism, but I understand we all have perspectives that filter what we read & hear, as well as how we write & speak. I can honestly examine my heart & to the best of my ability say there’s no cultural or racial subtext intended at all. So sincere apologies if I’ve less than effectively communicated what I am trying to say.

I would try to clarify by saying my preferred approach to social justice would be to assist the orphans, widows, sick, depressed, downtrodden, neglected and needy to rise up, grow through, become strong, independent & fully availed of every opportunity that anybody else in our very blessed country to have. In short, to help the poor become rich – not rich because rich is something in itself, but rich in the sense that the Bible teaches prosperity or “Shalom” with God, ourselves, and each other & the world.

What I think is a proven failed approach, by the evidence it perpetuates poverty & growing class gaps: is taking from the rich & simply giving to the poor. I don’t see that kind of spoon-feeding socialism in Jesus’ ministry, but in fact I see him unconditionally meeting people with mercy and grace, compassion and no judgement (before they even repented), but then required of them some effort to do better for themselves – “go and sin no more,” “take up your bed & walk,” “go and show yourself to the priest,” and many more.

Jesus was always asking people to be involved, where possible, in their own solution, with whatever they had to offer, and always left them feeling equal, empowered, and responsible. Although His ministry was spiritual and physical, they tie into social welfare as much as financial does. And those who were unwilling to contribute to the betterment, such as the rich young ruler, went away sad and without anything but an opportunity from Jesus missed.

Equally so, as much as it is within my imperfect nature, I believe social justice and Australian welfare should leave a person of any background or belief equal, empowered, and responsible for their future. Don’t hear what I haven’t said – I don’t mean wash our hands of anyone after they are helped the first time. But I do see a lack of purpose and vision in a lot of welfare, and that’s as good as waste – waste of resources provided by people who didn’t come by them easily and deserve the best possible outcome for the way those resources are invested. Maybe that’s a good way of saying it: “Welfare should be an investment in the recipient, not merely an obligation – which it also is.”

I *sincerely* appreciate strong disagreement from yourself and Jamie, as I am passionate about not only bringing Godly, Biblical influence into national, political debates; but doing so with the Father heart of God. Too long has the Church’s voice been lacking in Grace & Empathy, and too many people have been hurt by our good intentions. My challenge is to be unfaltering in communicating the Gospel to the lost sheep, and righteousness to society/government, with Grace, Compassion, and Love; and without compromise, condemnation or judgement. No easy task, but we as the Church MUST get it right!

What good is being light if it’s not set upon the hill (for the whole community to see); and what good is salt if it adds no flavour (to the community)? I believe there is *strong* Biblical requirement to “concern ourselves with the affairs of this world” in a political sense. I promise you, if it wasn’t for Christians in politics and political parties, both Labor & Liberal would succumb to pressure quickly on issues like Gay Marriage, prostitution, abortion, legalised drugs, freedom of religion & speech; and they are of course slippery slopes to all kinds of evil I do not want my kids to inherit in our future community.

Politics and evangelism is not an either/or scenario. Having a voice for righteousness and faith in our community does not (or should not) preclude the possibility of sharing the love of God with the lost.

Jesus had to deliberately avoid the political scene of His day in His 3.5 year ministry because He came to a subjugated, occupied people – any opinion would have been seen as rebellion (not democratic participation); and the Jews’ agenda was exactly that: they were looking for an all-conquering, Roman-slaying earthly King. Now his Heavenly Kingdom IS established (that very specific mission has been “finished”), and we have little danger of being mistaken for national coup instigators.

Proverbs instructs that rightousness exalts a nation. Now that sounds like Biblical, top-down welfare to me! How exciting for everyone in the nation when it is exalted and blessed by God. I want a part in that on a national level, as well as practical, social-justice solutions at the grass roots level.

The point of this whole discussion (prior to becoming spiritual), I believe (on behalf of those who took the cheeky original words as having a dig at socialism and liberal welfare & tax philosophies), is that welfare should have a purpose and be equitable – not that it should be either doled out like some mandatory guilt offering for being “better off”, OR abolished. It should have a purpose, actually improve the recipients’ circumstance/condition, and accompany as much responsibility as the recipients can manage.”

Lyn, “Just throwing a thought in here… and not saying that this is my firm belief either…. but why do we expect the government to look after us? James 1:27 – Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. Is it possible that it is the church that is empowered, anointed, created to do this, to look after the sick, the powerless, the poor, and so on? Indeed, it was the Church (such as it was then) all through the Middle Ages which did just that – the church ran the hospitals, fed the poor, gave alms. I’m not saying that our government should give up “looking after people” – it is because of our Christian heritage that it does – but just posing the question.”

Marsha, “I find it interesting talking to several people I know from other countries. (India, Philippines, PNG, Bali, Thailand etc) In their countries “You do not work, you do not eat”. Family takes care of family, not the government. They understand that to dig yourself out of poverty, you have to work long and hard hours and sacrifice a lot. They all are hardworking, honest people and find it disgusting and appalling how people in Australia always have their hands out expecting more. Out of their excess wage, they post money back home to their family in their birth country. Never expecting anything in return. Even in poverty, they find happiness, generosity and appreciation. Something that is lacking in our society of abundance. I like their concept.”

Josh, “The role of government is not to provide for the citizens but to provide services for the citizens and govern the laws of the land to make it easier for the citizens to provide for themselves. It is, however, one of the main roles of the church to provide for the orphans, widows, homeless and needy. The under active church and the over active government need to swap roles and get refocused back on their own primary missions.”

Dave, “I want to add here what all Lefties think all Righties forget or ignore.

Social Justice. It is important that we look after those who can’t look after themselves. The frail, sick, disabled, dispossessed, orphans, etc. Correct me, anyone, if you disagree that we should ALWAYS help those that can’t help themselves, as much as they can’t help themselves – distinct and separate from those who refuse opportunities and any responsibility, GENERALLY speaking.”

Marsha, “WWJD?! 2 Thess 3v10-12”

2 Thessalonians 3:10-12

New Living Translation (NLT)

10 Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”

11 Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. 12 We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living.

Dave, “Forgive the theologian in me, Marsha, but while that reference IS topical, it must be read in its context. It is talking about lazy Believers, and it’s fair to say a higher standard is required of us than the lost.

Your point is not invalid, though: those who can work should not expect someone else to pay for lunch.

I just have to point out that, IMHO, proper use of the Word wouldn’t use that particular reference to apply to welfare for the wider community; not as much as the references to true religion in James do.

How about Proverbs 13:4, “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper;”
or Proverbs 26:16, “Lazy people consider themselves smarter than seven wise counselors;”
or a really good one, 1 Thessalonians 5:14, “Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.”

All of 1 Timothy 5 speaks of the Church’s and Believing family unit’s responsibilities with welfare, much as Joshua Pellowe alluded to as being ideal.”