By Bart Gingerich
On October 25th and 26th, Christians from the right and the left convened at Cedarville University in Ohio to debate economic policy from a religious standpoint. Representatives from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Sojourners, Evangelicals for Social Action, and the Discovery Institute touted mathematical figures, ethics, and biblical interpretation before an audience of community business leaders, economics faculty, and students. The conference, part of a “Critical Concerns for Evangelicals” series at the school, provided a forum for Christian leaders to debate issues of social and political importance. Although last year’s lectures on immigration were decidedly one-sided, the “American Dream Conference” offered a lively debate between two prominent economic viewpoints.
Barry James of James Investment Research laid the foundation for the event in his evening lecture. In the true form of an economist, he set out to delineate perceptions from reality. He illustrated how even the poor in the United States are amongst the wealthiest in the world and also showed that America still has a great deal of income mobility (the poor are not perpetually poor nor do the rich remain permanently rich). James then described how—to a certain extent—tax cuts actually increase government revenues in the long run by growing the economy as a whole. He also sermonized on the grave dangers of the nation’s burgeoning debt and the harm of high inflation. The introductory lesson touched on the problems of government regulations, safety nets, tax uncertainty, outsourced jobs, and employment. “A government doesn’t create wealth, but it can destroy it,” James concluded.
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