Trickle Down

There has been a lot of discussion around the distribution of wealth and of government taxes recently in the U.S. Some have even argued that the raising of taxes on the wealthy is unfair and is moving our country towards socialism. Rather than “sharing the wealth” as some suggest, they prefer a more pure capitalism, in which the wealth of the rich trickles down to the rest of society.

As a Christian who takes serious both the prophets of the Old Testament as well as Jesus Christ of the New Testament, I cannot support an economic policy that desires to trickle down wealth. The very language and rhetoric of this economic theory exposes its intentions… to merely trickle down. The word trickle is not only passive (giving the image of one trying to hold on to and contain as much as possible, yet a little trickling down anyway) but the word definitely does not assume pursuit of justice, equality, nor any compassion for the poor, marginalized, and most vulnerable in our society.  When will this trickle down begin to kick in… generation after generation awaits the crumbs from the masters table!

On the contrary, wealth has actually not been trickling down much at all, rather the rich have been getting richer and hoarding wealth, while the gap between rich and poor increases (and the middle class shrinks). In the U.S., “the top 10% of Americans hold 71% of all wealth, while the top 1% alone holds up to 33% of all the nation’s wealth.” What happens when the rich hoard the wealth at the top, and refuse to increase the wages of their workers as their profit grows?

In 1960 CEO’s made an average of 41 times more than their workers and in 2004 that number had grown to CEO’s making an average of 431 times more than their workers. In 1980, the average CEO pay was $1.4 million (in 2004 dollars) and the average worker pay/hour was $15.68 (in 2004 dollars). In 2004, the average CEO salary rose to $11.8 million while worker pay/hour remained steady at $15.67. Not even a trickle…

In response to letting wealth trickle down, the Bible says “let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”  I know this is a touchy subject… but chime in and share your thoughts on this… freestyle with me.

(My statistics are widely availabe, I got mine from Census stats as well from United for a Fair Economy)