Economy

What percentage are you?

In case you missed the whole Occupy Movement, in a nutshell it was raising up the economic disparity in America. The chasm is great between the have and the have nots. As such, here is a little tool to help you see perhaps where you might fall into the income percentage in your area of the United States.

I am not sure if you are supposed to do your before tax income (I think that is the intention of this tool), but you can do your post tax income if you would like.

According to this my household is in the top 40% in my area. It makes me wonder if my socio-economic level pushes me farther away from the needs of people in other income brackets? It makes me wonder if I am in fact richer than I think I am.

Economy

If you are like me there is a huge question mark about the why we are in the current economic situation, but more than that a larger question mark over a way out.  While this video does not offer practical solutions, it does highlight some obvious facts about wages and a large justice issue.

Agree or not, it does feel like the majority of us are fighting over scraps (as the video says).  I don't recall when the economy was benefiting from the 90's web explosion, massive immigration laws passed (well known) in Arizona and (less known but stricter) in Alabama.

As Gandhi said "There is enough in the world for everyone's need; there is not enough for everyone's greed."





As another point of thinking about justice and distribution of wealth

Myth of "lazy jobless people" busted again...

There are a number of seemingly intuitive myths that operate in our culture.  One of those myths is that we give too much support to those who are unemployed.  The idea is that if you give someone an unemployment check for any period of time, then "those people" become addicted to the handouts and you remove the incentive for people to find a job.  So the policy becomes we ought to cut unemployment benefits because we are just 'enabling' people.  


Whelp, that is just crazy talk to me.  I sit and listen to people talk about being so depressed and at a low in their life when they are unemployed for long periods of time.  Depression sets in.  Suicide attempts increase.  People feel hopeless and helpless.  The only thing that is keeping them able to pay the bills, and thus focused on looking for work, is a meager unemployment check.  At least with that money that comes in through social services gives a sense that someone cares about them.  Society cares about you even if you are not in a position to "produce" at this time due to there being 5 people for every 1 job opening or the fact that some businesses are adopting a "do not hire the unemployed" policy.  


Then this little study comes across the interwebs:



It is this sort of counter-intuitive news that, in my understanding of the message of Jesus, is congruent with the Biblical witness.  Jesus is constantly sharing news with people (we call it Good News) that sounds like crazy talk.  

Equal wages for all.
Love the enemy.
Self-sacrifice is the way to life.
"Sinners" will see the Kingdom of God before the righteous.  
In order to lead we must serve. 
Give to Caesar what is Caesar and give to God what is Gods.
Leave 99 sheep to find 1.
Throw a party when you find all your coins.
Peacemakers are blessed.
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter into the Kingdom.
Care for another is care for God.
Sharing can create an abundance of bread and fish.
The king invites to the party those who society believes to be 'hell bound sinners'. 
Forgiveness of crushing debt.
Forgiveness to those who blow the inheritance.


Jesus is constantly proclaiming a counter-intuitive message.  Sharing with people that, that which they think is reality is in fact a myth that holds little water.  

Providing benefits to the unemployed sounds counter intuitive.  

Some say they are not comfortable giving people something they did not earn or work for.

Christianity calls that Grace.

Why not see the market the way many see the homeless?

I agree giving money to a homeless person may not be the best way to help that person because that person now has cash, but no accountability to this new capital. Accountability is something America is founded upon, just look to the way the government is set up. Three branches each trying to hold one another accountable to the others. Congress makes laws, Presidents enforce laws, Courts interpret laws. No one branch can do it all.

And yet, when it comes to commerce in America we seem totally against any sort of accountability to the Market. It is as though the only thing holding the Market accountable is individuals. But this is only possible if individuals are rational.

People are not, I am not, always rational.

I appreciate the Libertarian movement, but I wonder who is holding the Market accountable?

This report from New York Times is a series of videos talking about the way Private Equity Deal makers take advantage of the market for gains for the investors but many times at the great expense of the long term health of the company and the employees.

How Private Equity Deal makers Can Win While Their Companies Lose