people, claiming to represent 99% of
Americans, are critical of the richest
1%. They want money taken from the
richest 1% and given to themselves to
pay off their college loans. If it was
stupid of them to go
into debt to attend a
left-leaning college (and it was),
then it is even more stupid to
confiscate wealth from some rich
people and give it to other rich
people (university administrators and
the people who loaned out the money
The "Occupy Wall Street"
crowd is incomparably wealthier than
millions of people around the world,
but instead of equalizing the gap
between themselves and the poor of the
world, they only want to increase the
inequality between themselves and the
world's poor by becoming closer to
America's richest 1%.
Basic Blessings The
"Occupiers" Should Be
22 November 2011
today face economic challenges,
but we have nothing to complain
We Americans are a blessed people, but
we are also spoiled. I know I am. I
can get flustered over the stupidest
things—like when my cellphone doesn’t
get a good signal, when a flight is
delayed or when my computer takes too
long to load a website. Most people in
the world don’t have iPhones, can’t
afford air travel and don’t have
computers. My impatience reveals my
So how can we avoid this virus of
selfish immaturity? Thankfulness is
the antidote. It melts our pride and
crushes our sense of entitlement. It
reminds us that everything we have
comes from God, and that His mercy is
the only reason we are blessed.
thankful instead! God calls us
to live above negativity. When
we give thanks in all things,
God gives us a supernatural
As you celebrate Thanksgiving Day, I
pray you will invite the Holy Spirit
to convict you of any whining. Here’s
a list of 10 blessings that many
people in the world don’t have. Go
over this list and then see if you
still have anything to gripe about.
1. Got clean water?
The next time you uncap a bottle of
water or grab a drink from the tap,
remember that one in eight people in
the world (that’s 884 million
people) lack access to clean water
supplies. Millions of women around the
world spend several hours a day
collecting water. When you take a
five-minute shower, you use more water
than a typical person in a developing
country uses in a whole day.
2. Do you have a bathroom?
About 40 percent of the world's
population (2.6 billion people) do not
have toilets. Lack of sanitation
facilities spreads disease and is a
major reason why more than 2 million
people die annually of diarrhea.
3. How’s your electricity?
The power in my house might be
interrupted briefly three times a year
because of Florida storms. But 1.6
billion people—a quarter of humanity—live
without any electricity. And, because
of unreliable infrastructure, at least
2 billion people on earth don’t have
any light at night.
4. Got a roof over your head?
One billion people live in slums.
That's almost one-sixth of the world’s
population. Of this total, 640 million
children live without adequate
shelter; they live in cardboard boxes,
tin-roofed shacks, one-room mud huts
or filthy, crowded tenements. It’s
been estimated that 1.4 billion people
will live in slums by 2020. Meanwhile
here in the United States, between 2.3
to 2.5 million people are classified
5. Is there food on your
table? In the United States
we are battling an obesity epidemic.
Yet according to UNICEF, 22,000
children die each day due to poverty.
Approximately 790 million people in
the developing world are chronically
undernourished, and almost 28 percent
of all children in developing
countries are estimated to be
underweight or stunted.
6. Got a stove? In
developing countries, some 2.5 billion
people use fuelwood, charcoal or
animal dung to meet their energy needs
for cooking. In sub-Saharan Africa,
more than 80 percent of the population
depends on these crude, traditional
means for cooking, as do over half of
the populations of India and China.
The really sad part: Indoor air
pollution resulting from the use of
solid fuels claims the lives of 1.5
million people each year, more than
half of them below the age of 5.
7. Got regular income?
You may have had to take a pay cut
during the recession. But keep in mind
that at least 80 percent of humanity
lives on less than $10 a day. The
world's average income is about $7,000
a year. Still, only about 19 percent
of the world's population lives in
countries with per capita incomes at
least this high.
8. Did you go to school?
Nearly a billion people entered the
21st century unable to read a book or
sign their names. Enrollment data
shows that about 72 million children
of primary school age in the
developing world were not in school in
2005 (and 57 percent of them were
9. Are you generally healthy? Americans
face illness like people in other
nations—and more than 12 million
Americans are battling cancer in any
given year. But many of us have access
to health care. In the developing
world, more than 2.2 million children
die each year because they are not
immunized. An estimated 40 million
people in developing countries are
living with HIV/AIDS. Every year there
are 350-500 million cases of malaria,
with 1 million fatalities, mostly in
10. Are you free to worship
God? More than 400 Christians
die for their faith every day around
the world, and most of these believers
suffer in Islamic countries—although
the top hot spot for Christian
persecution, according to Open Doors
International, is the atheist regime
of North Korea.
What will you be grateful for this
Thanksgiving? In these tough economic
times you may feel the urge to
complain. Be thankful instead! God
calls us to live above this
negativity. When we give thanks in all
things, God gives us a supernatural
attitude adjustment. When we thank God
for all He has given us, acknowledging
that we don’t deserve His goodness,
our grumbling melts into gratitude and
our impatience turns to praise.
Lee Grady is the former
editor of Charisma. You can
follow him on Twitter at
leegrady. His most recent book is 10
Lies Men Believe (Charisma
alone could eliminate all these health
and welfare problems for the world's
American Christians simply gave a
tithe rather than the current
one-quarter of a tithe, there would
be enough private Christian
dollars to provide basic health
care and education to all the poor
of the earth. And we would still
have an extra $60-70 billion left
over for evangelism around the
Review: The Scandal Of The
Evangelical Conscience - Acton
Christians prefer comfortable
entertainment in their mega-churches.
Some people complain that capitalism
is an "unjust economic system." They say this because
they don't have as much money as the rich. They want the
government to take from the rich and give some to them. Or they
say this even though they are richer than most folks, but they
want the power to take from other rich people and
decide who gets it.
Kevin Craig does not believe income inequality is inherently
Imagine that you have fallen through a tear in the space-time
continuum into the future: the 23rd century. You now work in a
museum, doing what only you can do: keeping records and
recreating the work you did when you lived in the 21st century,
for the benefit and delight of historians and anthropologists
who really appreciate the insights you bring from the past.
(This scenario assumes that you loved the work you are doing
now, and you're perfectly content doing that same work in the
- In fact, you're getting paid twice as much as you earned
in 2010. And you're able to use the extra income to buy an
extraordinary range of goods and services that were
completely unavailable to you in the 21st century.
- • You travel from place to place in a transporter beam
like on Star Trek.
- • The labor-saving devices in your kitchen boggle your
- • 23rd century health-care will keep you alive an
estimated 112 more years, in youthful vigor.
Here's the catch:
You and the others from the 21st century who slipped through
the wrinkle in time are in something of a separate caste.
Because human beings in the 23rd century are so much more highly
educated, morally developed, and psychologically balanced than
people of the 21st century, you are not allowed to vote.
Further, everyone else earns at least 100 times as much as
you and others from the 21st century do. It's like earning
$100,000 per year in a world where everyone else earns
$10,000,000 per year.
Because everyone in the 23rd century has their act together,
you are treated with respect, kindness, and genuine affection by
everyone else. Every conversation you have with 23rd century
human beings is rewarding and edifying. You are becoming wiser
with each conversation, and you're building many good habits and
admirable character traits the more you interact with people of
the future. As a result, your very generous employers give you
almost weekly raises. You still haven't figured out what
23rd-century inventions you want to buy with all the extra
income you already receive.
But the "income gap" between the 21st century
people like you and the 23rd century people is huge, and growing
"The rich get richer, and the poor get relatively
Is this really a problem?
Many left-leaning economists say it is.
blogger quotes the Center on
Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute,
two decades before the early 2000's, the average income of
this country's poorest families rose by 18.9%. During that
same time the average income of our richest families rose . .
. nay, exploded by 58.5%.
"Paul Krugman is very upset," writes George
In his Monday
New York Times Op-Ed column this week,
he complains that while the real incomes of the great majority
of Americans have essentially stagnated or declined over the
last thirty-five years, "income at the 99th percentile
rose 87 percent; income at the 99.9th percentile rose 181
percent; and income at the 99.99th percentile rose 497
Krugman calls it "a rising oligarchy." He also
speaks of "a new Gilded Age," and says, "if
the rich get more, that leaves less for everyone else."
But that just isn't true. Krugman admits that the rich of
today are richer than the rich of the Gilded Age:
We are now
living in a new Gilded Age, as extravagant as the original.
Mansions have made a comeback. Back in 1999 this magazine
profiled Thierry Despont, the ''eminence of excess,'' an
architect who specializes in designing houses for the
superrich. His creations typically range from 20,000 to 60,000
square feet; houses at the upper end of his range are not much
smaller than the White House. Needless to say, the armies of
servants are back, too. So are the yachts. Still, even J.P.
Morgan didn't have a Gulfstream.
Yes, the rich are richer, but so are the middle class. And
most dramatically, so are
the poor. Only an intensely envious
person would contend that the poor of 200 years ago were better
off than the poor of today.
The poor are not getting poorer, they are only getting relatively
And the reason why the poor are living better lives today
than 200 years ago is precisely because the rich are getting
There are several reasons why the "income gap" is
such a boogeyman among socialists:
that when the heads of corporations (that are creating all the
wealth that is being enjoyed by the poor and middle classes)
become richer, the political landscape becomes more
conservative; there is "a general shift to the right"
This may explain why the socialist revolution always kills
off the rich, leaving only democrats to be herded by The Party.
(I assume that Krugman assumes that he'll still be around after
the revolution as a Party advisor.)
The remedy is:
Laissez-faire capitalism is true democracy. Not the majority
voting for the rulers who will initiate force against the
minority, but the masses of consumers making their own voluntary
choices in every area of life.
A truly laissez-faire capitalist
society is one devoid of the initiation of force.
Under true laissez-faire capitalism, corporate CEO's do not
use the government to extort multi-million
dollar severence pay packages from taxpayers by
force when their corporations go belly-up.
People are free to begin a business, hire the employees they
want at the wages they want, sell the products they want at the
prices they want, and consumers are free to reject the price or
benefit from the product. If consumers choose to buy the
product, it will be voluntarily, and it will signify an increase
in their standard of living. The poor will get richer, and those
the poor by creating jobs for them and selling the goods and
services that enrich their lives, will get even richer.