God On Wall Street: Can the Market Save the Middle Class?


By Curtis O. Robinson Sr.

On this day the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down sharply 70.4 points to close the day at 16,912.11. The NASDAQ was off slightly to close the session at 4,442.70 and the S&P 500 was of .45 percent to end the day at 1,965.95.

To your average working class citizen, these statistics harbor on the cliff of “What did you say” and “Could you please pass the mustard.” Some by way of 401k statements may have developed a working language for the dry and sometimes seemingly irrelevant terminology that is spoken in this arena.

However, when we talk about the idea of the richest one percent having more wealth than the poorest 45 percent of the people on the planet, then a more lenient banter should begin to be spoken across our dinner tables. Fact: in 1989, the median household income was $51,681.

Fact; in 1999 the median household income was $56,080. Fact: In 2012, the median household income was $51,017. So the trend is down, and if the trend is your friend, it will continue to go down.

And the reason that I say this is because of the despairing gap between income earners. CEO salaries loom over workers compensation like a plague. Larry Ellison of Oracle – $78 million.

Bob Iger of Disney – $34 million, Rupert Murdoch of 21st Century Fox – $26 million. That’s why we need to curb our enthusiasm because people like the gentlemen that I have just mentioned make decisions that impact middle class lifestyle.

And unlike the days of feudalism when the monarchs felt an obligation to return a portion of goods or profit to the village, the monarchs of today just continue live beyond the reach of 99% of America.

I have a former work associate who was our banker and responsible for deal flow for the branch. I cannot tell you how many times he found deals that started out great but fizzled because the company could not keep pace with consumer and market dynamics

But one day he finally got the sauce right and sold a company to J.P. Morgan for a cool $100 million dollars. A poor kid from the Bronx comes to San Francisco and makes a mint behind a technology company.

So even if it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get into heaven…maybe so. But Jesus didn’t say that he couldn’t get in.

Curtis RobinsonCurtis O. Robinson Sr. is the senior pastor of Faith Baptist Church and senior managing partner of Imani Nathan Capital Management, LLC of Oakland. Contact Pastor Robinson at [email protected]


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