Everybody wants something done about inflation, but almost everyone seems to want the other fellow to do it. Sure, we want to cut back government spending—but not when it affects our pet interests or the economy of our localities. We can gripe about congressmen who protect government projects in their districts; but congressmen know that at election time voters are more impressed by his support of federal spending that benefits them than by a voting record that shows greater concern for inflation or the national interest. Sure, we want taxes kept at a high enough level to let the government pay its own way. But don’t change the law on tax breaks that we personally or organizationally enjoy.

Congressmen vote for some tax breaks because the beneficiaries contribute to their campaigns at election time. The ordinary guy complains that Congress doesn’t look out for him. But then how much do ordinary guys bother to contribute to costly election campaigns? A lot of little gifts can add up to more than a few large gifts. Perhaps there are not more consumer-oriented congressmen simply because consumer-oriented candidates can’t afford to buy enough publicity to be elected.

We complain about costly wage settlements for the other fellow, and we also complain when we don’t get the wage or salary increases we think we have coming. How about examining our attitudes toward inflation and asking ourselves what sacrifice we, personally, are making to control it? If we are in a labor union, are we making it clear to our leaders that we will not vote against them in the next election just because they exercised restraint in seeking higher wages? And will we try to convince our fellow union members that in the long run this will be better for us all? If we are part of management, will we do what we can to hold down price increases even if profit margins go down, because our suffering will be far greater if inflation goes wild? And all of us are consumers. Will we try to take our business to those firms whose labor and management seek to do something about inflation? Or will we reinforce irresponsibility by buying the products or services of companies that promote inflation?

Christians of all people are those who take the long view. In an economy where men are promoting inflation by being concerned only for present benefits, Christians should be taking the lead, in the small ways that are open to us all, to encourage others not to live just for the present but to think of the future consequences.

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