At our December C12 Group meeting I facilitated a spirited discussion about the misunderstandings that a significant portion of the population had of the fiscal cliff situation. The elements of the fiscal cliff problem combined government overspending, a weak economy, poor communication, arrogance and a lack of business knowledge, among other things. We spent a good deal of the time in our discussion about the gap between business owners and much of the population in understanding economic issues. So how do we close this gap, how do we help people understand that free enterprise is the economic engine of our country and taking more money from it and giving it to the government will make things worse, not better?
As I have written before, the core of these truths are biblically based and we need to continue to share the Gospel and disciple people so they can learn them, understand them and apply them to the world around us. We also have to keep the eternal perspective a higher priority than the temporary one of this life.
Beyond sharing the Gospel, we Christian business leaders should be using our platform to educate our employees, customers, suppliers and vendors. We can do this through company meetings, newsletters, corporate web sites and social media. We need to educate ourselves, arm ourselves with knowledge and information and share it in a productive way.
What are some of the areas that we should focus our time on? One of the first should be that the federal government is not good at solving problems or taking care of people. Given that truth, giving them more money doesn’t make sense either. Compare how poorly the government does at just about anything with how well private companies and ministries do solving problems and caring for those in need.
A key to understanding free enterprise and its positive impact on everyone is basic business math. Use your own business’s numbers or use hypothetical numbers if you prefer, but spend some time teaching the basics of revenues, cost of goods, gross profit, expenses and net profit. In the discussion of expenses highlight how much of those expenses are payroll and benefit expenses and how those are impacted by the decisions of our federal government. Explain how small business owners are taxed on corporate profits that most of the time don’t make it to the owner’s personal bank account.
One of the biggest issues that no one in government at least seems willing to tackle is the size of the federal debt and its continued growth unabated. We need to make clear the consequences of letting this continue which include downgraded credit ratings, devalued currency, and the size of the debt eclipsing the gross domestic product and ultimately more recession or even depression.
Here are some sources to help you educate people on these issues:
- Effectiveness of private organizations versus federal government: John Stossel has lots of information on his web site and recently published a book entitled “No, They Can’t: Why Government Fails-But Individuals Succeed”. http://www.foxbusiness.com/on-air/stossel/index.html
- Free enterprise benefitting society: US Chamber of Commerce and Free Enterprise.com
- Solving the federal debt problem: Heritage Foundation (www.heritage.org/federalbudget has the Federal Budget in pictures, a very useful tool and www.savingthedream.org has a 53 page document detailing how the budget can be brought back under control) , American Enterprise Institute (www.American.com)
- The long term negative economic impact: ITR Economics (www.itreconomics.com)
Take some time to read through the information from these sources. Use the platform that you have to share it with people through meetings, seminars, newsletters, blogs, and social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Do something else you probably haven’t done in a while, share it and your opinion with your elected government officials, including our president. (http://www.usa.gov/Contact.shtml)
Someone has to lead our nation through these obstacles; Christian business leaders have the talents, tools and biblical wisdom to do it. Step up to the challenge!