The Middle Class Fell as Washington Rigged the Economy

Sad that the Middle Class is bearing the brunt of this economy.

 

The Middle Class – Its Rise & Decline

After World War II, American became the world’s first truly middle class nation. In the 30 years following the war, the real income of all American families, including the poor and near poor, doubled. The nation, by every economic measure, was becoming more equal. All that has changed.

For the past 30 years, the trend toward economic inequality has rolled back the post-World War II progress which had moved the nation toward a more equitable distribution of income and wealth. In the past ten years, the inflation-adjusted income of the median household fell 4.8 percent, the worst drop in at least half a century. And for many there is no income – more than 70 percent of Americans know someone who has lost a job. College graduates can’t find jobs. Americans are losing purchasing power and their net worth is falling. The value of their homes is shrinking. Their retirement security has eroded. Medical and educational costs are rising faster than the cost of living index. In 2009, 16.7 percent of the American population – 50.7 million people – was without health insurance, the highest since this record has been kept. One in four homes is now under water and over 4.2 million home loans are in or near foreclosure. Last year, there was an 11.6 percent increase in families consolidating and moving in together.

In contrast, the wealthiest ten percent of countrymen hold over 60 percent of total family assets. America’s richest one percent now hold more wealth than America’s entire bottom 90 percent. The last 20 years have witnessed the most colossal amassing of huge fortunes in U.S. history. The nation now boasts more than 400 of billionaires.

Washington Rigged the Economy

Since 1946, the effective federal tax for the richest Americans has fallen by 60 percent. Those benefiting the most from our economy in income and wealth are simply not paying in, in proportion to what they are taking out. Nevertheless, the top priority of Republicans in Washington has been tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporate and financial entities. Their Herculean efforts to restore the Bush income tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and to repeal an estate tax affecting only the wealthiest two percent underscore the intensity of the ongoing class warfare and linkage between political polarization and economic inequality.

We seem to have degenerated into a form of social Darwinism. The prevailing national economic strategy of Washington has been to make business more profitable and less accountable and to reward the owners, investors and other wealthier Americans, at the expense of the great majority of workers and U.S. households. Workers have fewer countervailing protections. Their representation in Washington has been sold out. Organized labor’s economic clout to win higher wages and benefits is withering away. Businesses and wealthy individuals contribute billions to influence elections, outspending labor unions many times over.

The soaring compensation of senior corporate executives, the increasing number of American millionaires and billionaires, the material excesses of our public and private elites – taken together – have very few precedents in American history. It is reminiscent of the last stages of other great empires. Many of the nation’s elites, including its elected leaders, are unwilling to broach the subjects of inequality and class warfare – the very real struggle for a piece of the American pie. They appear to be asleep to – or purposely ignoring – these realities.

The absence of effective social and economic countervailing forces to address the ominous rise in inequality is increasingly a cause for alarm. Washington can no longer ignore the challenge to spread more equitably the benefits of economic growth – now enjoyed by those at the top – without undermining the economy that supports it. But where is the national debate? How do we hammer out new policies to alleviate the growing economic imbalances in our republic and thereby stem the social unrest that threatens the public landscape? The need is grave and immediate that we re-establish the economic opportunity and prospects for upward mobility that have for 200 years sustained the American dream and served as the bedrock for a stable democratic nation.

Wait, We are Suspending Coaches for Praying After Games?

Wait, We are Suspending Coaches for Praying After Games?

 

Not only as a Christian, but as a general believer in something bigger than myself, reading and hearing about religious discrimination hits close to home. A few weeks ago, an assistant football coach was put on paid leave for praying during the games.

Coach Joe Kennedy was “booted from the locker room at Bremerton High School in Washington State,” according to Fox News’ article “High school boots praying football coach” by Todd Starnes. Kennedy was placed on administrative leave after refusing to stop his post-game prayers.

Kennedy is being represented by Liberty Institute, “the nation’s largest law firm dedicated to defending religious liberty,” according to the Fox News’ article. His attorney, Hiram Sasser, states the school district is “sending the message to all people of faith that they are not welcome.”

Sasser also said the school officials refused to meet with him and that he only spoke with their lawyer for half an hour, according to the article. It seems obvious the officials are avoiding Sasser and Coach Kennedy, which can lead to a questionable prosecution of how serious they are taking this matter.

I understand a lot of different people have different religious beliefs, which makes religious jurisdiction such a sensitive subject. After all, everyone has the right to believe what he or she wants.

However, Kennedy wasn’t leading a huge prayer organization during the football games. He was simply praying after them.

According to Seattle Times’ article “Bremerton coach’s prayers catch attention of Congress,” Kennedy prayed by himself at first, but a few other coaches, some players and even fans eventually joined him. He wasn’t telling people to pray with him and he wasn’t making others feel bad for not praying with him. All the praying was voluntary.

According to the Fox News article, “Liberty Institute has already laid the groundwork for a lawsuit against the school district – accusing them of religious discrimination.” Sasser said the school district is being “hostile towards Christianity.”

Leading schoolwide prayers have already been banned, including football games, and have been replaced with a moment for silence. Kennedy wasn’t performing this schoolwide prayer.

He was only praying amongst himself and any others who wanted to join. He wasn’t forcing his beliefs upon anyone.

When the U.S. was founded, it was considered taboo to not believe in anything. Times have changed, and it has become obvious the U.S. has people with a wide array of religious beliefs. Because of this, the most controversial debates in religion always seem to be about Christians “forcing their beliefs upon others.”

However, in this situation, this is not the case at all. According to Gallup’s poll in the article “In U.S., 77% Identify as Christians,” by Frank Newport, 77 percent of the adult population identified with a Christian religion in 2011.

It seems to me Christianity is being prosecuted for being the majority. I would never try to make anyone feel inferior or single them out for not believing what I do. However, the argument of “Stop forcing your religion on us,” is starting to sound a lot like “Stop believing in your religion because I don’t believe in that.”

An important part in the U.S. laws is to create an offense-free atmosphere, so everyone can get along as free citizens. The majority of people in the U.S. are Christians, therefore I can understand the feeling of being overpowered or forgotten, but that’s not how it is.

The U.S. is a safe and free place for all religions and beliefs, and it is a principle that must be protected, even in events as small as high school football games.

Our Founding Fathers Series on Christianity- Samuel Adams

Known as the “Father of the American Revolution” and the “Firebrand of the Revolution,” Sam Adams was arguably the most effective verbal rabble-rouser in American history. He was a leader in the events leading up to the American Revolution and helped to found the Sons of Liberty.

He was also a steadfast Christian. In “The Rights of the Colonists,” which he wrote in 1772, he said:

“The right to freedom being the gift of the Almighty…The rights of the colonists as Christians…may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutions of The Great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.”

After signing the Declaration of Independence, he proclaimed:

“We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.”

In his February, 1795 Proclamation for a Day of Public Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, then Governor Adams said:

“That with true repentance and contrition of Heart, we may unitedly implore the forgiveness of our Sins, through the merits of Jesus Christ, and humbly supplicate our Heavenly Father, to grant us the aids of his Grace, for the amendment of our Hearts and Lives, and vouchsafe his smiles upon our temporal concerns.”

And finally, these are the words in his Last Will and Testament:

“Principally, and first of all, I resign my soul to the Almighty Being who gave it, and my body I commit to the dust, relying on the merits of Jesus Christ for the pardon of my sins.”

Instant News = More Misinformation

 

The World-Wide Web was invented in 1990, with Facebook first launched in 2004 and Twitter following two years later. The internet’s rapid advancement and the creation of social media has changed how the world learns and communicates. News stories spread within minutes, and any social media user can post their immediate opinion online. Although this provides the opportunity for an incredibly informed population, the speed and convenience can have the opposite effect, eventually resulting in us knowing less.

Today, journalists find themselves racing against each other to be the first to report on breaking news. Often times, they are forced to rely on instant eyewitness accounts relayed within 140 characters or rumors that spread between worried mothers faster than wildfire. To report on an event instantaneously means not having time to wait for the full investigation to be completed, and often before any investigation can even begin. This instant delivery of a dramatic report gets scooped up and passed around the internet, with everyone who reads the same two-paragraph click-bait considering themselves experts.

 

It is because of the Internet that rapid false information can be spread and sensationalized before the truth is uncovered. Although credit should be given to those news sources that provide updates as details are revealed, the general public unfortunately already believes themselves to be sufficiently educated on a subject – enough to not look it up again. Sadly, those with enough intellectual prowess to be encouraged to search for more details are often still not given the facts due to the progress of search engines.

It is hard not to agree that the Internet is an amazing tool that gives quick access to material in a way that was never before possible. It even revolutionized education, allowing anyone to learn endlessly from anywhere that is convenient or comfortable. Special care is required to ensure the negative consequences do not outweigh the positive influence it has made. So even though the blitz for breaking news will never go away, I urge those who write and report to initially be a little more accurate, and those who read to be a little more aware.

Our Founding Fathers Series on Christianity – John Adams

This is a continuation of the article I wrote called,  “This Country was Established on a Christian Foundation” on November 15th.

On March 6, 1789, President Adams called for a national day of fasting and prayer for the country could “call to mind our numerous offenses against the most high God, confess them before Him with the sincerest penitence, implore his pardoning mercy, through the Great Mediator and Redeemer, for our past transgression, and that through the grace of His Holy Spirit, we may be disposed and enabled to yield a more suitable obedience. . .”

A few other quotes which demonstrate Adams’ thoughts about Jesus are below.

On April 18, 1775, a British soldier ordered him, John Hancock, and others to “disperse in the name of George the Sovereign King of England. Adams responded to him:

“We recognize no sovereign but God, and no king but Jesus!”

 

In an October 13, 1789 address to the military, he said:

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

In a letter to Thomas Jefferson dated June 28, 1813, he said

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity”

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