The Haves, the Have Nots and the Have Yachts
“And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.” Luke 12:18 As we continue to see soaring unemployment among the rank and file of America’s working class, it is quite clear that corporate America is content with increasing profit margins at the expense of not hiring people who need to work. In spite of the government’s efforts to create capital pipelines to help stimulate job growth, like a recent $600 billion dollar bond auction to help boost employment, October’s jobless rate remained at 9.6 percent. The wealth chasm has become gigantic and almost uncrossable. Data released Nov. 18 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that while layoffs and firings have slowed, hiring hasn’t picked up. Job gains from new or expanding businesses were 6.1 million in the first quarter, the lowest quarterly increase since the recession ended. Job losses from closing or shrinking businesses fell to 6.4 million, the smallest on BLS records going back to 1992. So in spite of what we may hear, I think that we see differently. Families who celebrated Thanksgiving in their homes last year have lost those homes to foreclosure in a real estate market that reminds me of a draconian atmosphere that is flippant, callous, insensitive and cannibalistic. The recent economic debacle has brought out the beast in the wealthy, in that while wealth has been eroded among many in this democratic landscape, private jets flights have increased significantly, yacht sales are making a comeback and the super wealthy are getting back to their Hampton type settings. Then there are those who are not as bad off as some, but they still gripe because they had to sell some of their vacation property. Then you have the homeless. There is more homelessness today than we have seen in more than half a century. I am not one who will suggest social programs are the cure-all for what is going on in this country, but there is such a thing called gleaning in that resources are deliberately left so that those with lesser options can at least have the dignity of trying to sustain themselves. Recently, Messieurs Gates and Buffet have suggested that if you take everything from your source and return nothing, then in the end everyone will have nothing. This is why they have been noted as saying that they want to return a significant portion of their wealth in order to develop a new platform of growth. In an article in CNNmoney.com, they released a challenge to every billionaire in America. Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett are asking the nation’s billionaires to pledge to give at least half their net worth to charity, in their lifetimes or at death. If their campaign succeeds, it could change the face of philanthropy. The Fortune 400 has a net worth of roughly $1.2 trillion dollars, and the $600 billion would represent half of their total net worth. This alone would create a dynamic growth paradigm for future prospects. But I suspect that because of a lack of tolerance for the disenfranchised and institutionalized racism, this may be a dream in a far away land that may never come to fruition. Just know that the rich don’t pay taxes, the middle class pay the taxes for the rich, which is why I maintain that being middle class is overrated. Why not go all the way because the only real difference between the classes is money? And we all put our pants on the same way, one leg at a time. Pastor Curtis O. Robinson, Sr. is Interim Pastor at the Faith Baptist Church located at 2680-64th Ave. in Oakland. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.