No problem in America has generated more widespread concern than the problem called “inflation.” Everyone is touched by this pervasive problem in one way or another:
(1) Harried housewives struggle week after week to stretch their household budgets in the midst of rising prices. Even Christian mothers who prefer staying home to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord often feel forced into the job market to help maintain the family standard of living.
(2) Businessmen find themselves being hit with rising costs for raw materials, supplies, and wages on one side. And on the other they encounter stiff resistance from consumers against needed price increases if their businesses are to remain solvent.
(3) Government officials, especially at the local and state levels, find that rising prices require increased taxes simply to maintain existing levels of governmental services Officials at the national level find themselves pressured to impose price controls on businessmen, who are wrongly blamed for rising prices. The public cry for government protection is ironic because the national government is actually responsible for the problem of “inflation”.
(4) Elderly people who have retired on fixed incomes find their incomes being eroded by rising prices. They turn to government for relief — either for increased “welfare” benefits, or for higher social security payments which haven’t been earned. This imposes still higher costs on those who produce goods and services.
(5) Christian institutions find themselves in an especially tight squeeze because they exist only on voluntarily contributed funds. Over the last two decades many private colleges have quietly closed their doors because of the difficulty of competing with tax-supported institutions which can mandate operating funds via the power of taxation. And foreign missionaries find they need more dollars each year to maintain their families and work in foreign countries because the American dollar has depreciated vis-a-vis foreign currencies.
From this black picture arises a crucial question: What attitude should Christians take concerning the problem of “inflation”? Is inflation primarily an economic problem about which the Bible has nothing to say? Is it primarily a governmental problem which is best left to the civil authorities to handle? Or is inflation a moral problem at heart and, thus, a problem Christians should take a strong stand on?
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