I’m sick of hearing about this widening gap. The gap has been there since the days of old, growing wider at times, narrowing at others, and growing wider again. The Jewish slaves in Egypt were about as far from the nobles of the land in wealth as one could imagine. Several thousands of years later, compare Chinese peasants to the wealth of any dynasty and tell me there was no gap. Or look at European nobles of the 14th or 15th century and compare their wealth to the commoners.
There have always been poor, there will always be poor, and therefore there will always be a gap.
Matthew 14:7 tells us, in the words of Jesus:
Rather than bemoan this Biblical truth, better to ask why there are the poor, and why there are the wealthy. Just as well as why some are sick and some are healthy. Life happens!
A CNN article today tells the story of Andono and Alan Bryant, two down-on-their-luck residents of an Atlanta suburb. Married, the couple has fallen from middle class to poverty. Alan cooks steaks at a local Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse while his wife, Andono, finds food for them at a local pantry. Ah, the humanity!
Their story is indicative of the widening wealth gap! Posh! No, it’s indicative of just what I said above: Life happens! The article explains:
“Then their financial tsunami struck in the mid-2000s. She lost her job at Publix after an injured knee prevented her from working 40 hours, she says. About the same time, Alan lost his job with DoubleTree — and with it, their health insurance.
In 2006, Andono suffered a heart attack. She spent nine days in the hospital, undergoing an angioplasty so a stent could be inserted to help blood flow. The result: a whopping $47,000 bill, the family says.”
What should be done about this? Um, nothing! No reason to Occupy anything! No reason to march on Washington! No reason to complain about the tax rates for the wealthy! This is NOT a case of wealth disparity as a social issue in America!
But what if it were?
The sentiment of the day seems to be such that some would suggest taking money from someone who has worked hard, built wealth, invested wisely, and not fallen afoul a difficult situation. Some would suggest they give up a portion of what they have to help out the Bryants. Maybe pay their bills for them. Maybe give them a better job. Maybe even just give them the money through redistribution programs out of Washington!
If not, then what’s all the fuss about? You can’t have it both ways. Take from the rich to give to the poor, tearing down the wealthy to a median level while building the poor up to the same median.
So stop and think about that for a minute. With all the poor in the world (or just America if you’d like), the median would be too high to achieve. You’d have to tear down the wealthy to such a level—well, it would be like the Bolshevik revolution scenes in Doctor Zhivago where the doctor returns home to find that the “Party” has placed less fortunate people in his mansion, allotting Zhivago and his family a modest room for all their needs.
Imagine one millionaire for every nineteen poor. A high percentage not based on anything other than my desire for simple math and an easy example of the ridiculous proposal. This millionaire has a net worth of $5 million. We’re going to play out the socialist revolt emanating from the White House and share this out across the now twenty people in the equation. Our millionaire now has not $5,000,000 but rather $250,000. Each of his neighbors who maybe had $500 to their credit now have $250,000!
A year on, just as if they’d won PowerBall or Lotto, the nineteen recipients of Obama-Bucks have frittered and squandered their hand-out back down to a sizeable debt, having not the sense as to how to manage their own lives much less that much wealth.
Our $250 thousand-aire has lost any desire to work hard and amass new wealth only to have it too taken away and given to those who will not work or who have done nothing to deserve the fruit of the sweat of his brow.
So how do you now lift the nineteen from poverty? And a self-inflicted poverty at that!
OK, so it’s all fictional and probably would not happen as laid out. Still, you cannot strip wealth from a class of business owners and social figures—or politicians—and redistribute it through Welfare, Social Security, or any other government program and expect a successful outcome.
The answer for the Bryants is to lean on their five adult children for help and support. Rely on the community to help them rebuild their lives. Look to the kindness and generosity of those who hear their plight and offer help. Volunteered help is sincere and can do mighty things. Forced help at the tip of the government sword is shallow, short-lived, ineffective, and self-destructive to a nation.