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Integrity and the Underground Economy

I am sure you had a few choice words for companies such as Lehman Bros., AIG and others (just as I did) as we saw our IRAs, 401Ks, and other investments shrink considerably. We complained of the corruption and excesses exposed at these highest levels, but are we doing any better? The dollars may be smaller, but are we an example of integrity in our own business community?
Consider God’s checklist for us as business owners. The Lord wants us to:
1. Be completely honest. – Leviticus 19:11
2. Keep our contractual agreements no matter the cost. – Ecclesiastes 5:4-6
3. Avoid areas where we have a conflict of interest. – Philippians 2:3-4
4. Exercise truth in advertising. – Proverbs 12:22
5. Stay away from the “underground economy.” – Romans 13, 1 Peter 2

Given our political and economic environment number five is becoming a larger issue. Some economists estimate the underground economy in the U. S. at $2.25 trillion dollars a year. This sector of the economy includes evil businesses, such as drug dealing and prostitution. The problem is that this sector of the economy also includes practices that many consider a normal part of doing business, such as providing “off-the-books ” services for cash, or the underreporting of wages and income to evade taxes.
With the government’s insatiable appetite for taxes, the burden on businesses will grow exponentially over the next few years. As the burden grows we can quickly fall into resenting the government taking more and more of our hard earned money.
We need to review these verses: Psalm 24:1, Psalm 50:10-11, and Deuteronomy 8:17-18. It is all God’s stuff, and He is the one who provides the ability to produce wealth. Are you going to obey the tax laws, which will testify that you trust God, or are you just going to give lip service to the concept?