Money, Economics, and Answering The Pro-Socialists In Congress: What does the Bible have to say about money? What about economics? Is money a spiritual entity? Tune in today to find out the answers to these questions and more!

Air Date: 02/20/2019

Guest: Bob McEwen

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith And The Culture

Rick:

Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we talk about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture. Always doing that from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.

David Barton is with us, he’s America’s premier historian and our founder here at WallBuilders. Tim Barton’s with us, national speaker and pastor, and president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator.

Check us out at WallBuildersLive.com and WallBuilders.com. That name, WallBuilders, comes from that old testament scripture in Nehemiah that says, “Arise and rebuild the walls that we may no longer be a reproach.” It’s all about restoring those foundations, what made America great in the first place. And we do that by studying that history, studying that constitution, studying that biblical perspective. So, our topics vary from everything from education, to economics, to politics, to whatever it might be that influences the culture and impacts the future of our nation.

Alright, guys, later in the program, Congressman Bob McEwen will be with us. But let’s start off by just talking about economics and that intersection of faith and culture because some people would say money and economics doesn’t– there’s no faith base for that, God doesn’t give us instruction on that. But actually, the Bible talks a lot about how economics ought to work.

David:

Rabbi Lapin is a guy that we spend a lot of time with. We use him a lot to answer questions. And he has addressed our Legislators Conference before on how the fact that money is actually a spiritual entity. It’s not a secular entity – it’s a spiritual. He goes through and shows scriptures on that, he gives so many good questions. And that’s one of the things that I think the American education system has gotten away from.

Questions Were So Much A Part

David:

In Jewish education, and Jewish history, and Bible history, and even as we see the life of Jesus, questions were a part of what happened in so much of that education. So, Rabbi Lapin and starts asking the legislators questions about economics and pretty soon it’s really clear that, hey, economics really is something spiritual. It’s not a secular kind of entity in the way that we think of secular today. There is a huge spiritual component and that’s what makes good economics work is that spiritual component.

So, even, Rick, as you talked about – we’re going to look at some economics stuff today and most people don’t see that as very spiritual. There are some great teachings that we would encourage people to get from Rabbi Lapin. You can go to his website and get that about the spiritual nature of money. And it is great and I think it’s kind of ironic that where do we see “In God We Trust” the most? On our money. So, even America has this backhanded acknowledgement, if you will, that money is a spiritual entity really.

Tim:

Well, and even if you think about through the Bible, or the Gospel specifically, with all the parables Jesus taught, He taught more that dealt with money and the application of principles. And Jesus in these parables would often say, “The kingdom of heaven is like this.” And then He explains a parable that deals with the application, the use, of money, and how we operate with money.

And one of the things that I think is so powerful that Jesus pointed out is that if we cannot handle unrighteous money, then God can’t entrust us the true riches. Money is something that is incredibly spiritual and in America we recognize the biblical principles that apply to it.

In fact, if you go back to the Pilgrims now they initially wanted to be like the early Christians. And the early Christians had– the Bible says in the book of Acts they had all things in common, they shared together, and did things together. So, the Pilgrims said, “Let’s make our community like that.” Well, the book of Acts also points out that people had the option, they could give what they wanted to.

Not The Spirit of Generosity

David:

And, by the way, you’re talking about a socialistic system. Essentially, that’s what the Pilgrims adopted was socialism.

Tim:

Well, it’s what we know as socialism. It was a mandated socialism where people were compelled. And this is where it was different from the book of Acts where people freely wanted to give from their own earnings, from their own hard labor, and they shared with other people. So, it was a great spirit of generosity. Socialism is not the spirit of generosity.

David:

That’s right.

Tim:

It is compelled theft is essentially what it is. Well, nonetheless, the pilgrims, they tried this. The problem was that they did not have the levels of productivity to make this prosper. Which, by the way, socialism has always had that problem. They don’t have enough productivity to make this work because it doesn’t allow for the depravity of man.

David:

There’s no incentive. You’ve got no incentive to work. You don’t get rewarded if you do work or if you don’t – you get the same reward for everything.

Tim:

So, the Pilgrims changed this position. In fact, there were several early colonies that had to learn these tough ideas. And the Bible teaches from 2 Thessalonians 3:10 that if a man doesn’t work he shouldn’t eat. 1 Timothy 5:8 talks about individual responsibility and a man providing for his own house, not everybody else’s house.  

So, these were lessons that we even learned in America. And it was these biblical principles that led so much of even the economic ideas of rewarding productivity and rewarding ability. This is what we understand with economics today.

How Should We Do Things Now?

David:

But there are so many questions about how we do things now – whether it’s this big move toward socialism, or what the government is spending and the debt we are taking on, and obviously, that’s not a good situation for people wondering. Debt is not a good thing. We want to get rid of that. And this is– just the economic topic in general, there are so many questions that our nation has to figure out if we’re going to get things right. And we’ve even had listeners ask questions related to some of this.

David:

Yeah, we have a question today that came in and it deals with, actually, the way the Constitution sets up how Congress, how the President, etc., deal with financial policies, national financial policies. So, when we got the question, we said, “We can answer this, but, my goodness, let’s go to Congressman Bob McEwen because he’s the economist and he is so good. He’s like Rabbi Lapin – so good at breaking this down into a really understandable level.

So, we’ve got a question from a listener we’re going to pass on to Congressman Bob McEwen and see what he says about the constitution and national economic policies.

Rick:

Bringing in the big guns to answer this one. Stay with us, folks. Congressman Bob McEwen with us when we return on WallBuilders Live.

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Historical Light On The Creation Of The National Bank

Rick:

Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us today. Bob McEwen is back with us, congressman from Ohio. Bob, always good to have you, brother. Thanks for coming on.

Bob McEwen:

The honor and pleasure is mine. Thank you so much.

Rick:

Hey, man, you always give us a good historical, and constitutional, biblical, perspective. This was is a constitutional question and it came from one of our listeners and it’s about the whole national bank thing. I guess Hamilton’s the one that was the champion for this. Can you give us a perspective on this?

I’ll just read you the question real quick. He said, “I was wondering if you could shed some historical light on the creation of the National Bank. I know the Constitution gives the power to regulate currency to Congress.

Was this an unconstitutional federal power grab already so early in our nation’s history? What were the arguments for and against and how were the proponents able to overcome the language of the Constitution, which puts currency control in the hands of Congress? I guess he means in Congress – not somebody they delegated to. So, here’s what we always do to you Bob – it’s like, okay, here’s this question you could write six books on to answer, you have ten minutes, let’s see how well we can do.

Bob McEwen:

Yeah, let’s have a run at it.

Rick:

Yeah.

One Of The Important Things

Bob McEwen:

One of the important things is I always say that everything in life is either physical or spiritual. And one of the first examples I use is money. I have people decide is money either physical or spiritual. Because wisdom is being able to tell which is which. The answer is that money is spiritual. If I lay a one dollar bill, ten dollar bill, fifty dollar bill, they’re all exactly the same physically. But spiritually, one is 50 times greater than the other. It’s faith and confidence. Money is a representation of a contribution that I’ve made to someone else.  

So, this piece of paper represents something good I did for someone. It’s was a way of keeping track of the contributions people make to others. As long as it has a standard it doesn’t inflate or deflate and you’re willing to do that.

But– so what do you use as your standard. Well, traditionally, we’ve used gold as the standard because gold is the most stable thing that there is in history. An estimated ninety three percent of all the gold that’s ever been mined is available today. So, the gold that was in Pharaoh’s crown back in Joseph’s time is possibly hanging around somebody’s neck at the moment. So, it is– since that is the most stable, that’s the best thing to tie it to.

Now, let’s put that aside for a second and focus on the Constitution. Perhaps the most motivating cause of the meeting in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 was financial. And the fact that some states had money that others didn’t like, when southern South Carolina farmers went to Charlotte North Carolina to buy grain they wouldn’t accept the money, they rioted, they took the money anyway, they took the grain anyway.

And in all these fights back and forth there was a major ingredient in forming an alliance in which they met in Philadelphia to form some sort of pact as Washington had negotiated with Maryland and they want to make it up and down the coast.

Well, when they started to do that financially, one thing led to another and eventually they needed to have taxing powers which the Articles didn’t have and they eventually came up with the greatest Constitution in the history of man.

The Birth Of The American Dollar

Bob McEwen:

So, at that point, as I said, one of the motivating factors was that the money was no good. Well, let me just tell you this – when they did that and they gave the power, they have to give the power to someone, they agreed to have one currency – no longer 13. And that one currency– and George Washington and Alexander Hamilton said, “We’re not going to trust people’s goodwill. We’re not going trust some banker deciding that he’s going to print more notes and reduce more notes. We’re going to tie it to gold.”

And when they did that in George Washington’s third inaugural address there’s this statement that said, “The American people live at that high peace and prosperity that could hardly have been hoped for. The American dollar stands at that high precipice that three years ago it would have been a species of madness to have foretold.”

In other words, George Washington said in his third inaugural address, “If I would have told you that the American dollar was going be the strongest currency in the world you would have said I was crazy.” Well, the reason that they did it was, the reason people trusted the American dollar, was because it was tied to gold. It was a decision that was made by George Washington’s administration under Alexander Hamilton and they began to print dollars based upon the assurance that it was good as gold.

So, somebody has to print the money. Somebody has to be allowed to do that. It’s either an individual banker, as many banks did, or if there’s a nation does it, hey have a national bank. Now, once you have a national bank or a national currency, then somebody has to decide how much of that currency is going to be printed. And in most of the nations of the world it’s done by the parliament.

So, if the folks in Caracas want to print a boatload of money then they have it such that it takes wheelbarrows to buy a loaf of bread in Caracas Venezuela today, just as it did under the Mymar Republic and elsewhere. And Americans in 1913 decided to have one bank in the Federal Reserve. And rather than having Congress do it, they would have this step off, that would create an entity to do it for them.

Is This Appropriate?

Bob McEwen:

And then the question is is that appropriate. Well, quite frankly, as I look at the folks that were sitting on their hands when Donald Trump was giving his State of the Union address the other day, I would rather have a Federal Reserve that is appointed by their president and confirmed by the Senate than that those people would be making that decision. Still subject to the Congress, the Congress can undo it at any time. But I would rather have them doing it than having the Congress do it which is what our Constitution provides.

Rick:

Interesting. So, first of all, that’s the best description of why the gold standard was such a wise idea. And I didn’t realize that it went all the way back to Washington. That’s phenomenal. Okay, so that in and of itself, I’d love to be able to spend all day with you on that one and learn more about why that helps, and what FDR, and the whole gold standard issue, and Nixon, and that whole story.

In fact, people need to get some of your books on this. You’ve taken these complicated subjects and made them easy to understand and applicable to our lives.

Bob McEwen:

Well, let me just emphasize again about that money is spiritual. And they– as long as people have faith and confidence in the country so that– When Greece was printing more and more money a few years ago until finally people said, “Alight, I don’t trust it anymore.” And boom! They couldn’t sell any Greek bonds and that’s what the crisis was in Europe. It’s faith and confidence in the country.

Now, the place that people trust more than any place else on the planet is the United States of America. Now, we’re printing too much and we’re doing ornery things, but it’s all relative because compared to what. And the reason that the American dollar is increasingly stronger as we sit here in the year 2019 is that people don’t want to hold these other currencies. They would rather have American currencies because they trust the American economy.

Where Do You Find The Balance?

Rick:

Now, I know we could spend a lot more time on this one, but you just made a good case for the Fed. And a lot of, let’s just say the last 10-15 years it’s been under attack big time and conservatives typically say we’ve got to audit the Fed, we’ve got to do this, we’ve got to do that. Where do you see as the balance? You’re saying that actually assigning that task to someone outside of Congress as long as Congress has the oversight is a better way to do it. Do you agree that we need more of the oversight piece? Or where do you find that balance?

Bob McEwen:

Ssure. Oversight is always good. Insight is good. If so, what–

Rick:

It’s easy to demonize this group that nobody knows, right? So, that tends to be our– it’s their fault for all of these things happening. What you’re saying is that entity needs to be there for this to work well. But, sure, yeah, we need more oversight.

Bob McEwen:

Rick, the only thing is you have to ask the question, “Then who is going to print the money?” And that’s where they all fall apart. You only have two options. You let everybody print it for themselves is what we did throughout much of our early history. We let banks print money, and then you find out the bank closed up and your money wasn’t worth anything. So, they wanted to have it in the bigger banks, or they wanted to have the federal government do it.

If the federal government’s going to do it and that’s where people can put their trust, then who in the federal government? Are you going to let an individual? Or are you going to let the Congress? So, you have to answer the question is to replace it with what. And the Congress is the last group that I would want setting the standard for our money. The Federal Reserve looks at the price of gold and they can tell when there’s too much money or too little money.

Maintaining The Gold Standard

Bob McEwen:

And under Jimmy Carter there was too much paper money. So, that meant that it was worth less. It took eight hundred and some dollars in order to buy a piece, an ounce, of gold. When Ronald Reagan came in and he stabilized it, it went from 800 down to 364 and then it stayed there to 2000. So, it went for about the next 18 years it stayed perfectly steady.

And I once said to the chairman of the Federal Reserve who had written a book on gold, Alan Greenspan had written, and I said, “Are you keeping us on a gold standard Mr. Chairman?” And he just looked at me and smiled and wouldn’t answer the question. But that’s basically what it was. He was maintaining a gold standard. They still had the option, but he basically maintained it at 300 and some dollars an ounce.

Now, when Bush and Obama took off immediately jumped up to 12 and now it’s stabilized again. But that’s the barometer, that’s the measure of the value of money.

Rick:

That is fascinating. So, in other words, some of us have complained about we’re not on the gold standard anymore and you’re saying, no, we are, because the Fed is watching the price of gold and they’re making everything else–

Bob McEwen:

The whole world is.

Rick:

That’s amazing. Yeah.

The Most Important Thing To Understand

Bob McEwen:

And here’s the most important thing that everyone should understand – you cannot change economic laws by passing legislation.

Rick:

Yeah.

Bob McEwen:

And this is the place where they want to do it. They want to pass laws to make you rich and they want to– so, they just print more money and it doesn’t work. An economic law is immutable is unbreakable. And when money is only worth as much as people have faith and confidence in it. You can’t play any games and if you start to play games they’ll move elsewhere or they’ll abandon you. And the American dollar is the most trustworthy government on the planet.

And that’s why wherever you are– And I don’t know if we have enough time, just real quickly–

Rick:

Go for it.

Bob McEwen:

I attended the prayer breakfast in Buenos Aries and the night before were all the leaders of these folks that did finance the breakfast in the morning with the president. And the topic of conversation in the newspaper that day was that this dilapidated telephone system was going to be privatized, that people could invest and have a private corporation, and improve the phone service in Buenos Aires.

So, I asked these businesspeople, I said, “Are you going to invest?” Everyone, “Oh, no, no, we’re not going– No, we’re not going to that.” I said, “Well, why not? They said, “Well, the government can’t be trusted. We’ll take our money, we’ll improve a good telephone service, get new equipment, and then the government will come back and steal it.”

And I said, “Well, who’s going to invest?” They said, “Oh, some stupid insurance companies and banks in Spain or someplace. But all of our money is in America. When we make money we invest it in America.” Which makes, of course, Argentina poor because they can’t trust them.

Just As Was Predicted

Bob McEwen:

Advance six years, I’m walking in the kitchen one day, and there’s the economist’s news magazine on the table. My wife has circled it. Said, “Look at this.” Sure enough, the government of Argentina had again nationalized the telephone company in Buenos Aires. Exactly as those people knew they were going to do. They brought in the private money and then they stole it. America we don’t do that. So, people trust us.

That’s why this cry by the left to have socialism is so frightening that two thirds of those under age 40 actually believe in socialism whereas just a decade ago it was the worst thing you could call a person was a socialist.

So, it’s very, very, important. Now, what is socialism? It’s government control of the tools of production. Government controls businesses, telephones, hospitals, and those things. In America, they’re privately owned and therefore people have the freedom that goes with it. But, you’ve got the picture and I’m glad that you’re making the calls for us, Rick.

Rick:

Oh man, that’s so good. And I assume you were encouraged as well that the president in the State of the Union called out the folks that are trying to turn American into a socialist country and said, “We’re not going to allow for it to happen.” I was thrilled that he made the statements he did.

Bob McEwen:

And– Charlie Kirk with Turning Point who gets shouted down and kicked off college campuses and things. Somebody said how hard it was and how do you deal with these people.

He said, “These people are not anti capitalists. These kids that say that they prefer communism or socialism to America–” said, “–they’re really not anti capitalists. They know nothing about capitalism. And when I start to talk and explain free enterprise, explaining freedom–”, he said, “–you’re talking to a blank slate. They begin to open up and understand.” But they’ve been allowed to go through high school and college having been taught by people who know nothing about what made America great.

Rick:

That’s right, that’s right. That’s why this is so important, that’s why we love having you on. Thank you for sharing. And we love sharing your resources with people as well. So, Congressman Bob McEwen, God bless you, brother. Keep up the great work.

Bob McEwen:

It’s an honor and a pleasure every time you call. Appreciate you.

Rick:

Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim.

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Rick:

Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. And thanks to Congressman Bob McEwen for joining us as well.

Back with David and Tim, and guys, as always, good education on economics. And in this case, specifically who has the authority to do what. I thought it was interesting he actually– I haven’t talked to anyone in a while that was not pro-Fed, but definitely saying, “Look, this is a better way of doing it than leaving it up to Congress to constantly be changing that monetary policy.”

A Comment With A Historical Background

David:

Actually, he had a comment that has a historical background that I think is really good to understand. When they got together to do that national monetary policy he said they needed taxing power, which the articles didn’t have. And what he’s talking about there is the Articles of Confederation. One of the things the Articles of Confederation did not do was allow you to have national taxing.

So, here we’ve got a national army, the Continental Army, in the field and we’ve got no way to pay them.

Tim:

That’s a problem.

David:

That’s a problem. We can’t get the states to come up with the money to pay them. So, we have a national activity, but no national funds for it. That almost led to a military coup. But that’s part of the background on why he’s talking about they needed taxing power which is part of what led to the national federal policy.

Tim:

I thought it was interesting, too, when he pointed out how that the USA is one of most trusted economies and trusted dollars. And as he explained, it’s because in so many other nations there’s such corruption that you can’t trust what’s going to happen in that nation and those regimes.

What’s made America unique and different is we recognized kind of almost the spiritual underpinnings and values where the Founding Fathers talked about in the Declaration the laws of nature nature’s God. And along those lines he pointed out that you cannot change economic laws by passing legislation. There are certain principles, these are laws of nature, right, the law of sowing and reaping. There are economic laws that are part of the way God made the world operate and you can’t pass legislation that will supersede or change those laws.

Who Do You Really Want Holding The Power?

Tim:

We’ve talked about before you can’t pass a law and say that a mama bear can’t defend her cubs, it’s illegal. No, it’s still going to happen because that’s a law of nature.

Well, when we try to fight some of these economic laws by passing legislation thinking that’s going to change how things work, you can’t change economic laws by passing legislation. And that’s where we are seeing things, even the move toward socialism, we think, “We can solve this problem, we’ll just have better laws.” You’re never going to change economic laws and this is where we have gone astray with some of these economic thoughts.

David:

And also, I’ve got to point out that the Fed is constitutional in the standpoint that Congress has the constitutional authority, but they can delegated it to someone else as long as they maintain oversight. So, Rick, even in the questions you were asking on the Fed, that doesn’t mean it’s unconstitutional because it’s not the federal government doing it. They can delegate those authorities. Just like parents can delegate education to a local school if they want to, but parents have to be involved.

But I thought the point he made that, “Congress is the last group I would want setting the standard for money.” – these guys can’t even balance a budget right now. They get us into debt. Are these really the “professionals” you want running economics.

And then AOC which, Tim is–

Tim:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

David:

Is that really who you want making economic policy?

Tim:

No.

David:

No.

Money, Economics, and Answering The Pro-Socialists In Congress

Rick:

Well, it’s made me rethink because I’ve been one of those really criticizing the Fed and Bob’s really got me thinking about this. So, this is going be a fun one to further pursue.

But I want to come back as we’re closing out to what you said at the beginning, David, and that is Rabbi Daniel Lapin – great resources, easy website, YouNeedRabbi.com, YouNeedRabbi.com. And believe me – David, Tim, and myself, we all consider Rabbi Daniel Lapin our rabbi and he’s got great, great, material and just a great education there. So, go check out that website today.

And then also check out WallBuilders.com for some great resources. And make sure you stop at that donate button and consider supporting the program. As a listener supported program, it’s folks just like you that make these interviews possible and make it possible for us to help impact the culture by educating people about these principles. So, please consider making a donation today either one time or come alongside us as a monthly donor. We greatly appreciate it.

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