Saturday, April 23, 2011

I hope I die before I get old

Interesting topic for a panel--since "old" is always about 10 years older than you are at the time. The topic seems to be about poverty, or government spending priorities--at least whenever there is the word "justice" in a title. We know they aren't talking about God's justice, rather some sort of redistributive method to even things out that happens in Washington, not in the church. Before discussing economic justice perhaps they should address some Biblical values like stewardship, servanthood, authority, etc.

I wasn't impressed by the speakers' list of Christians invited to respond--Jim Wallis (of recent fame for denying he's taken money from George Soros), Tony Campollo, Gideon Strauss (CEO of the Center for Public Justice), Ron Sider (Genesis House), Jordan Ballor (Acton Institute)--all quite to the left of me or at least not conservative in thought word and deed. I didn't recognize the conservatives. Considering how our government has all sorts of programs for the poor--all supported by both parties over the years, not to mention Medicaid, billions thrown helter skelter at the schools, and a housing crash run up based on the falty idea that even low income families "deserve" a mortgage they can't afford, not just the middle class.

I saw a statistic the other day that only 10% of the U.S. elderly today meet the government standard for poverty, compared to 30% about 40 years ago--now whether that has to do with the success of government programs, or a more successful market economy remains to be seen, because even much of higher education which leads to higher income is often government supported; many medical advances in public health have been pioneered by the government; safer environment in work and home and transportation have been regulated by government. All this leads to old age and less income (although income isn't wealth)--and probably to a more comfortable old age. I know many seniors (if married) who have 5 or 6 streams of income--2 pensions, 2 Social Security checks, personal IRAs and investment accounts. They live carefully, and well--they travel, enjoy an extended life through a variety of medications, and have lots of friends and family.

One panelist said he doesn't see solutions coming from the conservative churches--he might have added he doesn't see solutions or generous giving coming from the liberal churches--they have turned over that responsibility for the poor to the government.

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