20th Century, Governors, History, Intercession, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Politics, Uncategorized

Benson Becomes Governor

J2 1936 p14

January 4, 1937

“Elmer A. Benson takes office as the state’s 24th governor.” * 

“He was elected in 1936 as Minnesota’s second Farmer-Labor Party governor with over 58 percent of the vote. He was defeated only two years later by an even larger margin. An outspoken champion of Minnesota’s workers and family farmers, Benson lacked the political gifts of his charismatic predecessor, Floyd B. Olson. However, many of his proposals—at first considered radical—became law in the decades that followed.”**

“Although the 1937 Legislature had given Benson–an early Socialist sympathizer–little of what he sought, many of his proposals became law during the 40 years that followed–property tax relief for homesteads; higher income tax rates for high-income individuals and corporations; mandatory workers’ compensation coverage for employees; a state Civil Service system; expanded state aid for schools, financed by income taxes; party designation for legislators.”***

“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof; and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” Ecclesiastes 7:8 NIV

Eternal Father, today we remember Your patience, and applaud Your forbearing spirit! You allow Your children to struggle as we learn, and do not rush to our aid at the first obstacle. You are perfect in holiness, and yet kind in Your judgments.

We remember with You the governorship of Elmer A. Benson today. We see Your image in his heart to correct monopolistic powers, relieve homesteaders, and ease the burdens of farmers. We see Your image in Governor Benson’s patience and faithfulness. His most treasured goals were not accomplished in his term in office, but like so many leaders, by faith, he eventually saw them put into law. We see that he sought to build consensus in his support for unions, and to establish his Progressive ideals through the law rather than might. Will You bless the changes he initiated, and his heart to make life better for those in society that were suffering?

Will You forgive also the sins of his idealism? Where he overstepped the bounds of the Constitution and inserted the government between employee and employer relationship, will You give balance? Though he acted out his ideals in integrity, will You forgive where his actions of benevolent state government actually diminished individual choice and responsibility for ones’ decisions and actions? In Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We ask that You visit with us the utility of the progressive income tax. In one sense, those most able pay more of the costs of society, and those less able pay less costs of the state. To be more exact, those who earn more, pay a higher percentage of their income, and those who earn less pay a smaller percentage of their income. This is my question to You; if some bear more of the financial burden of society than others, will the sense of ownership and participation be increased as one pays more, and diminished as one pays less?

To take the idea further, what other arena of life do we love more as we participate less? You have said, “Where Your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21) If this is true, then would not those paying a lesser percentage of their income also be investing less of their heart in Minnesota, and those who pay a higher percentage of their income be investing more of their heart in our state?

Help me explore some of the math of Your Word, Jesus. We know that the Israelites were commanded by You to bring 10% of their wealth as an offering. 

“‘A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.” Leviticus 27:30  

But what of the Levites, the priestly lineage, who were not allowed to make wealth, or own property in the same sense of the rest of society? 

“And the LORD instructed Moses, Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the LORD’s offering.” Numbers 18:25,26 NIV 

So, this is what we can gather from these examples from your chosen people; that You claim 10% of every type of wealth and resource in the land, and that those priests whose income and inheritance is dependent on Your Sovereignty and the gifts of the people must also give back to You 10% of their income. Is this an example of a graduated tithe, which to us may be similar to a tax? 

What we do see quite clearly is that giving is proportional, and flexible to the type and amount of wealth one has. Also, it is repeated frequently that no one is exempt from giving to the Sovereign of Israel, but exhorted with the command “none shall appear before me empty-handed”. Please ponder these verses below with the Lord, and see what you think.

“You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the month Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And none shall appear before Me empty-handed.” Exodus 23:15

“You shall redeem with a lamb the first offspring from a donkey; and if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck You shall redeem all the firstborn of your sons. None shall appear before Me empty-handed.” Exodus 34:20

“Three times in a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses, at the Feast of Unleavened Bread and at the Feast of Weeks and at the Feast of Booths, and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed.”

Deuteronomy 16:16

While modern society may not relate to commands of this type from You, Good Father, we catch some of Your meaning today. The tithe You command is a parallel to our concept of taxation. Offerings were a parallel of giving beyond the tithe, or what we might think of as charity, from out of a sense of devotion, sharing a blessing, or gratitude, and not necessity or compulsion.

May we find Your way to pay the costs of our society. May the future generations of Minnesotans show respect and humility before Your wisdom in this area. May we all contribute evenly and proportionately to the resources we are allotted by You. May we be free of the greed that comes from too much, and too little. May we not allow the enemy of all to divide us through bitter root judgments of our neighbors’ lineage, rank, or profession. May we trust in Your provision more, and not demand offerings from our community that even You do not demand. May we see the other side of the coin that, perhaps, Governor Benson missed; that failing to give in proportion will also yield a proportional lack of heart commitment to our North Star state! May we all have a sense of participation, ownership,  and even joy that comes from not appearing before You or our neighbors empty-handed!

“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.

“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’

“In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.  I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.

Malachi 3:8-12

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** http://www.mnopedia.org/person/benson-elmer-1895-1985

*** http://articles.latimes.com/1985-03-16/business/fi-27186_1_minnesota-politics

 

 

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20th Century, government, Governors, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Labor, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Politics, poverty, Uncategorized, Unions

Olson Becomes Governor 1931

Unknown

January 6, 1931

“Floyd B. Olson takes office as the state’s 22nd governor.” *

Governor Olson was many things to many people, but perhaps he is most known as the leader of the Farmer Labor Party. Why is this so critical to Minnesota, and our collective memory? After Olson’s victory, “the Farmer-Labor Party would emerge as the dominant political force in Minnesota. It became one of the country’s most successful third-party movements.” **

This famed reformer wore his Progressive Socialist agenda on his sleeve, and was happy to distinguish his movement from either Republican or Democratic thought previously known in the North Star state. He clearly advocated for the minimum wage. As a former Industrial Workers of the World unionist, he proudly supported trade unions and their most prized reform; collective bargaining. To properly finance his progressive view of social justice he proposed a progressive income tax. (A progressive tax is simply a plan based on the idea that if you earn more, you should pay more.)

How then would his policy stack up against historic economic theory regarding the utility of the minimum wage? “In economic theory, a price floor creates a surplus in the market place because there is more supply than demand at the set price. This theory applies to the market for labor as well. Some argue that when the minimum wage is raised, more people want jobs because now they are more lucrative. However new jobs are not necessarily created. Based on this standard economic model, when demand for labor is greater than the supply, a labor surplus results, creating unemployment.” *** To interpret, higher wages may attract more to the job market, new jobs are not necessarily created, and based on historical data; there is more unemployment.

Further, what are the strengths and weaknesses of unionism and collective bargaining as proposed by our Governor? Below is a quote by Labor Economics expert James Sherk.

“A union’s monopoly over bargaining makes it a cartel that prevents employers from hiring workers who would do the same job for less than union wages. That benefits union members at the expense of their potential competitors. It also means that state and local governments must pay more to have the same work done. Without providing financing for the mandate, the act will force these governments to either cut services or raise taxes.” **** By definition, a monopoly is the exclusive possession or control over something. So, perhaps it could be more accurately construed as “monopoly bargaining”?

According to the ideals of Governor Olson, for society to progress, it must have the tax base to right social wrongs and lift up the oppressed by the hand of government. “The income tax is the most just tax thus far devised because it is the most equitable tax; it is based on ability to pay,” he added.

Maybe this is why he borrowed from the collectivist visions of Karl Marx? Below are the first five planks of the original German interpretation of the “Manifesto of the Communist Party”, please note plank #2.

“1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes. 

 2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. 

 3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance. 

 4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. 

 5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with    State capital and an exclusive monopoly.” ******

Shall we pray? G-d, we give You honor as the Authority of Authorities, Provider of All to All, and Justice to all forms of Justice. We remember that Your Dominion is not a matter of talk, but of power. You are the Only Arbiter of Grace and Truth. You are the Only One who perfectly balances Justice and Mercy! 

We acknowledge our separations from You through the leadership of Governor Olson. We chose to follow the false god of Progressivism. We admit that we cannot bring a utopia through humanistic means. We are not able to grant unalienable rights or take them away for that is Your work; Your mystery. Though we try through the ages, we cannot improve upon the Shema of Deuteronomy 6, or by it recitation by Christ in Matthew 22:37.

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ “ *******

Will You forgive us where we failed to love You in this era, and where we failed to receive Your love in return? Our hands hold so tightly to power that we cannot grasp the manna You are giving us today. 

We acknowledge our separations from You in our trust in the minimum wage during the Great Depression. We have limited our neighbor’s right to negotiate a wage with their employer, and infringed upon that individual’s will. Though we try through the ages, we cannot improve upon the divine positive laws of the 10 Commandments. 

To paraphrase, the seventh and tenth commandments tell us to respect and honor the property of others, and to be content with our property. How can we simultaneously respect and honor an employer whom we force to pay us more? How can we respect and honor our neighbor’s will if we interfere with it? Father, where allowed the real pain and discontent of the 1930’s cloud our boundaries and honor for other Minnesotans; will You have mercy?

We acknowledge our offenses to You and our neighbor in putting faith in collective bargaining and unions. (I do not condemn either of these ideas per se.) Chosen collectivism is beautiful and admirable. Look at the example of the early Church

found in Acts 2:44.

“All the believers were together and had everything in common.” ********

Where collectivism breaks with Your example, perhaps, is that it may negate the will of its’ neighbor. Why should a worker be required to join a union to work? If labor is the possession of each laborer, then forced collectivization could become extortion or ultimatum.

Why should an employer be required by a third party or law to negotiate with his employees on a collective basis? For example, the words ‘labor strike’ do not imply mutual submission with a boss towards a mutually defined goal, but a choice to break that relationship. Where we have broken faith with You, our neighbor, or our leaders through forced unionism or collective bargaining; will You have mercy?

We acknowledge our offense to You and our neighbor through our faith in a graduated income tax. We, as a State, may have required more of our neighbor’s wealth than You. Below, the prophet Malachi reports to the peoples of Judah to give to G-d the 10% flat tax He required.

“You are under a curse–your whole nation–because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

If this is to be Your example to us, then is it true that those who fail to participate actually rob You and their neighbor? I’m not thinking here in terms of money, but of themselves. Those who do not invest in society may not develop an interest in society, or experience the gratitude of an unmerited gift from one who invests heavily. The relationship between giver and receiver is broken when it is required instead of choice. Further, for a progressive tax model to be truly even, could it require a non-monetary investment of time in lieu of a financial contribution? Will You have mercy on the uneven nature of our remedies to inequality?

In spite of these pondering prayers, will You bless the heritage of Floyd B. Olson? Will You remember his attempts to relate and create policies that contribute towards a better life for regular Minnesotans? Will You give honor and favor to those who labor at the minimum wage? Will You come to the aid of those who belong to a union, employ union labor, and collectively bargain in good faith? We want society to mature without acknowledging the revenge, envy, and discontent inside? Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on Minnesota! Will You perfect the progress of our inner lives? 

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” *********

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** http://www.mnopedia.org/person/olson-floyd-b-1891-1936

***  https://edgewortheconomics.com/experience-and-news/edgewords-blogs/edgewords/article:02-28-2013-a-9-minimum-wage-and-a-lesson-in-price-floors/

**** Article by James Sherk, Research Fellow, Labor Economics https://www.heritage.org/markets-and-finance/report/mandatory-collective-bargaining-creates-more-problems-itsolves

***** https://www.minnpost.com/minnesota-history/2013/01/gov-olson-80-years-ago-proposed-progressive-taxes-and-unemployment-insuran

*******  Quote of “Manifesto of the Communist Party” Chapter 2 (German original) https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch02.htm

******** http://biblehub.com/matthew/22-37.htm

******** http://biblehub.com/acts/2-44.htm

********* http://biblehub.com/malachi/3-9.htm

********** http://biblehub.com/ezekiel/36-26.htm

 

 

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