Day 11: Trickle-Up Economy

They trample on the heads of the poor
    as on the dust of the ground
    and deny justice to the oppressed.   Amos 2:7

If it looks like the folks in the executive suite are having fewer money problems than the rest of us, that’s probably because they aren’t.

According to former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, “the share of corporate income devoted to compensating the five highest-paid executives of large corporations ballooned from an average of 5% in 1993 to more than 15% by 2005 (the latest data available).”

At the same time, wages for the poor, the working class, and the middle class are declining. Even as national productivity increases, wages stay flat; in other words, the benefits of increased productivity are primarily given to those at the top.

To add insult to injury, it is common for many of these CEO’s with stratospheric compensation — pay that sometimes exceeds $100 million per year — to be the same leaders who oppose any increase in the federal minimum wage, which is currently at about $8 an hour.

Is there any hope for a culture that so deliberately concentrates wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people?

If you are as outraged as I am, speak up about it. But be prepared to be dismissed, criticized, and demonized all the way. They will tell you are engaged in “the politics of resentment.” That you “want to take from the makers and give to the takers.” That you are a radical, unpatriotic, or plain jealous.

But let them talk. The folks who defend such a system have left a complete and utter mess. If they are proud of a system that has left nearly half the U.S. population near the poverty line, there’s no helping them. They are ignoring the cries of the poor, and the prophets and the Son have harsh words for them. For an example of a prophet who preached against injustice in blunt and harsh terms, read the prophecy of Amos, where he crusaded against the idle rich who oppressed the suffering poor.

New systems, new safeguards and new values (actually, ancient Christian values) are needed. Christians need to stop defending this status quo and create something new, fairer, more equitable going forward. That’s what it means to be salt and light.

Pray: For God to raise up people who will challenge the status quo and bring about an economy that reflects the person and example of Christ. 

Read: Amos 4

 

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