Tag Archives: Poor

The middle class is not mentioned in the Bible

Homeless man begs for money in the Financial District in San FranciscoRead this thought-provoking piece by Ryan McAnnally-Linz and Miroslav Volf are the authors of “Public Faith in Action: How to Think Critically, Engage Wisely, and Vote with Integrity.” McAnnally-Linz and Volf explore politicians’ (all of them) focus on the middle class (which didn’t exist in Biblical times), at near complete exclusion of the poor (who did).

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When was the last time a poor person created jobs?

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Rich people have paid sick days. Poor people don’t.

Screen-Shot-2016-03-31-at-12.26.06-PM-600x550So says my friend, Doug Hall, very eloquently, here. He writes:

One significant reason to pass paid sick leave legislation is that failing to do so further exacerbates disparities based on income. The Economic Policy Institute shows in stark terms that “rich people have paid sick days [while] poor people do not.” While only one in five (20 percent) of private sector workers in the bottom 10 percent of wage earners has earned paid sick time, nearly nine in ten (87 percent) of top-five wage earners have earned paid sick time.

Credit where it’s due, the Paul Ryan version

paulryanThe newly-shaven Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, told a group of Washington interns yesterday that earlier statements he’d made about the poor were “just wrong.”

Does this mean, as posted here, that Ryan has shrugged off Ayn Rand? (You can watch the speech at that last link, but here, as far as I’m concerned, is the take-away:)

“There was a time when I would talk about a difference between ‘makers’ and ‘takers’ in our country, referring to people who accepted government benefits. But as I spent more time listening, and really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized I was wrong.”

“‘Takers’ wasn’t how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, just trying to take care of her family. Most people don’t want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong. I shouldn’t castigate a large group of Americans to make a point. So I stopped thinking about it that way—and talking about it that way. But I didn’t come out and say all this to be politically correct. I was just wrong.”

 

 

Tax liens and the poor

rosalind_cobb_tax_liens_final__1_of_1_I wrote this for WNPR. This is a really questionable way for cities to raise money.

In last week’s reading of the Hebrew scriptures…

Alms-For-The-PoorIt’s still a slog, and I’m in Deuteronomy, the Second Law Book, and things aren’t getting any happier as I trace the steps of the Israelites as they seek to follow Scary God into Canaan.

(As a reminder, I, the fundamentalist with Mad Bible Skills, have started re-reading the Bible, from Gen. 1, using a guide I loaded onto my phone. Obviously, people read the Bible and find different things. Here’s what I found last week:)

But I came across this one verse, the last part of Deut. 15:11 (Revised Standard Version): “Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.”

Finally, Something that feels familiar. The lessons I’ve held onto from my fundamentalist background were lessons about Jesus’ commands and examples to pay attention to people who struggle, that we can lift both them and ourselves by giving them a hand. The same law is mirrored in the one Christian scripture verse that serves as my theology, James 1:27:

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Obviously, there’s more to the law in regard to Christians, but the rest of us seems pretty self-explanatory, and this is the part I like best. It’s simple. It’s easy to commit to member. It would serve as a great political platform, because it’s rooted in love. I’m not rooted in love, but I like the idea of it, I like the vision of a world rooted in love, and this verse, to me, encompasses all of that. So Deut. 15:11 was like this oasis of light in what (again, for me) has been a pretty dark series of commandments followed by threats of smiting.

As I type this, I can hear church bells off in the distance. Onward.

Politicians poisoned the water in (mostly black and poor) Detroit

B9318035830Z.1_20150710085857_000_G0BBAEEPA.1-0The toxic drinking water in Flint, Mich., is a result of a series of stupid decisions on the part of political leaders and others.

This Ebony piece compares the situation to the fumbling and worse after Katrina. Bankole Thompson writes about water so nasty General Motors wouldn’t even use on their car parts:

For 18 months, residents complained that the water from the Flint River looked, smelled and tasted funny. They warned that the water was making them sick and some were already developing skin rashes. The state did not respond to their cries. Instead, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality gave false assurances that the water was safe and denied that there were high levels of lead. Local health officials also conducted their own research only to confirm the suspicions of residents that the water was unfit to use. Even General Motors refused to use the water for its vehicle parts because it was damaging their machines.