Economic Justice

The Moral Deficit

Currently, the United States has the largest debt of any country in the world, and the national debt continues to grow at a pace that assures economic crisis. For almost every year over the past fifty years, the federal government has spent more money than it takes in, a habit that is devastating on a household level, and exponentially so on a national level.

There is also a poverty crisis in the United States. In the past thirty years, the poorest 20% of Americans has only grown poorer. There are now more Americans living in poverty than at any other point in the last fifty years.

Both the poverty crisis and the deficit crisis point to a larger justice crisis: the richest twenty percent of Americans are growing wealthier while the country falls more deeply into debt; a debt that our children and grandchildren will have to repay. The undisputed facts should disturb any Christian:

  • In 2009, the bottom 80% of Americans owned 12.8% of the wealth, while the richest 20% owned 87.2% of all wealth. The richest 1% owned 35.6% of the total wealth, more than the total wealth of the bottom 90%.
  • In 2010, the average salary of a CEO was 185 times as much as an average worker’s pay. CEOs at Fortune 500 companies took home salaries that were 325 times that of an average American worker’s pay.
  • Even millionaires realize how unjust and dangerous the current situation is. In a letter to the New York Times in August 2011, multi-billionaire investor Warren Buffett insisted that the wealthy, including himself, must contribute more in taxes, and that the rest of us most stop “coddling the super-rich.” Read the Biblical Response and how you can take action!

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