Do we own Wall Street?

Father David Epps's picture

I heard a few days ago that a news network was going to do a program about how the American taxpayers came to buy Wall Street for $2 trillion. I’ve also noticed that people are saying that certain banks are now owned by the taxpayers and how much more the taxpayer is going to own in the months ahead. Um — I don’t think so.

When I want to buy something, I take my money (or my checkbook, credit card, debit card, or whatever) and I go to the local establishment and I choose what I buy. The item is then mine to keep or to give to someone else. I buy, I own, I control. That is not what is happening in this country.

For one thing, I don’t give my money to the government and authorize it to act on my behalf. They take my money without even politely asking. In the case of most people, the government takes what they want before the poor worker ever sees his paycheck.

The government takes the money by force. Don’t believe that? Well, just don’t pay your taxes for a long enough period of time and you will either wind up in jail or on the President’s staff.

And speaking of ownership — suppose you want to sell Wall Street or one of the banks that you “own.” Think you can do that? Of course not.

One politician said something like, “The taxpayers will get a return on their investment in the long run.” You buy that? Do you really think that someday you will get a fat check from Uncle Sam with a letter enclosed that says, “Thanks for buying Wall Street. We sold it and here’s your share.”

Nope. You didn’t buy Wall Street. You were nonviolently mugged, and then your money was used in ways you never imagined and in ways of which you would have never approved if you had a say in the matter.

Suppose a drug dealer holds you up at gunpoint. If you resist, you get beat up, or worse. He takes your money and buys drugs that he sells at a large profit. With some of the money from the drug profit, he buys a car, let’s say, a Mercedes.

Now aren’t you glad you own a Mercedes? If you follow the government’s logic, the car is yours — your money bought it. Now go try to drive it.

I wish the government would just say, “Listen, we are smarter than you are, so we are going to extort you for all you’re worth because you have more money than you actually need. If you resist and try to keep more of the money you earned, you are going to be arrested. So, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll pony up. Oh, and to make you feel better, you can say that you ‘own’ the bank or the car company, or the stock exchange.”

It’s a lie, of course, but if they just keep repeating it, some of the people who were mugged will come to believe it and feel good about owning so much.

Have you ever seen the guards at military bases keeping people out? Why can’t we just stroll in there and see what we own? Since we own a ballistic missile or two, can’t we at least inspect them?

I want to see a real nuke — where do I go to see “my” nuke?

Why do we have to have guided tours at the White House, and why can’t we go into all the rooms, including the First Family’s living quarters, if it belongs to us, the taxpayers?

Why do I have to pay tolls if the roads already belong to me?

Why can’t I go for a ride in the space shuttle? I thought we owned it.

For that matter, I want a ride on Air Force One. If the President, who is just a temporary employee, can ride, why can’t the owners?

And when I visit the Smokey Mountains, I want to feed the bears. They are, after all, my bears!

Nope, we own nothing. We who pay the taxes are not so much partners as we are victims, even if some significant good is occasionally accomplished.

The muggers are in control.

[Father David Epps is the founding pastor of Christ the King Church, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277, between Peachtree City and Newnan. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. He also serve as a bishop to the Mid-South Diocese and is the mission pastor of Christ the King Church in Champaign, IL. He may be contacted at]

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