#Fiscal and #budget policy is not a part of #God’s economy

For a significant number of Christians, God’s plan for the economy means hard work on their part with no expectation of intervention and if a Christian fails, so be it.  For policy makers, such an attitude, especially among lesser educated and less affluent Christians, provides some wiggle room to support policy that may be less than optimal for providing growth opportunities for all Americans.

In a 2011 Baylor University study on the values and beliefs of the American public, it was determined that most Americans surveyed (73.1%) believed that God had a plan for them.  Those surveyed with the strongest conviction that a plan exists happen to have lower incomes and less education.  While 37.8% of Americans earning $100,000 or more in income agreed or strongly agreed that God had a plan for them, 53.5% of Americans earning $100,000 or more disagreed or strongly disagreed that such a plan existed.

There also seems to be a streak of self-determination, particularly among the higher educated.  According to Baylor’s study, 78.4% of Americans with a college degree or more disagreed or strongly disagreed with the notion that God has a plan for them.  An additional irony among the less educated is that they are less supportive of government intervention and believe that able bodied Americans don’t deserve unemployment benefits.  Success equals ability, according to those on the lower rung, while anything is possible through hard work.

And along with God’s plan comes a pre-determination for who will be successful and who won’t, no matter the level of skills, talent, or amount of hard work.  Almost 20% of Americans who believe that God has a plan for them also believe that some people were meant to be poor and others were meant to be rich.

I guess this puts a new spin on highly favored and perfected.  It also sheds some insight on what may partially be to blame for conservative approaches to fiscal and budgetary policy as practiced by the Republican Party.  As conservative philosophy converges more with Christian religiosity, the notion of self-reliance, particularly among lower income and lesser educated Americans may influence policy makers to shun legislation that extends unemployment benefits and food stamps.  The irony is that Christians are finding themselves promoting policy that appears to some as less than Christian.

For policy makers that want to expand the welfare state, they may have to address how religiosity is impacting representation in Washington and our state capitals.

About Alton Drew

Alton Drew brings a straight forward and insightful brand of political market intelligence. Alton Drew graduated from the Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in economics and political science (1984); a Master of Public Administration (1993); and a Juris Doctor (1999). You can also follow Alton Drew on Twitter @altondrew.
This entry was posted in atheism, Economy, free thought, freedom from religion, government, Political Economy, public benefits, religion, Republicans, unemployment and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to #Fiscal and #budget policy is not a part of #God’s economy

  1. Kenneth Ciszewski says:

    I’m not sure that Christianity per se has anything to do with the beliefs about being self-reliant or about being poor.

    In a country that was founded by those who came from other countries and were big risk takers and had to do or die (literally) when they first came to colonize these shores, being self reliant and hard working were critical to success, if it were to be had at all.

    I personally wonder if the sentiments against the poor are actually racist against African Americans in particular. I suspect that the GOP has tried to paint welfare as a bad thing, especially when given to African Americans (whom they don’t like, and they believe their constituents don’t like, and therefore wish to label as “shiftless, lazy”, and thus, unworthy), and I think “white people’ don’t realize how many poor “white people” there are.

    As for those who do or do not believe in “God’s Plan” for them–Americans are somewhat religious, but in the present day not very much into religion like they were, say 60-100 years ago. What God is planning is not something they worry about. Many think their destiny is in their own hands, not God’s. Christian religion doesn’t necessarily tell us how that works. I suspect that it mostly doesn’t know how destiny works or whether it comes from God.

    Then there are preachers like Joel Osteen, who regularly says that God wants people to do well and have a good life, and if we open our hearts and minds to Him, and take a positive approach, he will provide considerable help. In this view, we all have a (possibly) positive destiny. Joel is also some what from the American “Positive Thinking” school of thought in this regard, an ideology that goes back many years.

    “…policy that may be less than optimal for providing growth opportunities for all Americans.”

    Question: Alton: what policies are more … optimal for providing growth opportunities for all Americans.”? I’m curious to know.

    Also, do you think expanding the welfare state is a good idea?

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