Bible Studies
Written by Jim Jordal   
Monday, 06 February 2012


By Jim Jordal

 Woe to those who devise iniquity and work evil on their beds! When the morning is light, they practice it, Because it is in the power of their hand. They covet fields, and seize them; And houses, and take them away: And they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage….You strip the robe and clothing from those who pass by without a care, returning from battle. You drive the women of my people out from their pleasant houses; from their young children you take away my blessing forever.

Micah 2:1-2, 8b-9, WEB

Some economic commentators dare to openly mention it now—that the vaunted recovery from the 2008 Recession never really was. What they mean is that amid soaring corporate profits and bloated CEO salaries accompanied by rising stock values, the working and middle classes have been largely left behind. The jobs promised by both parties have been countered by an equal number of layoffs, so the high unemployment rate remains. And most of the jobs that have been created (and crowed over constantly) are in the service sector of the economy and thus by definition pay low wages. But the jobs terminated are largely in manufacturing or construction, both of which usually pay wages sufficient for a family to live on. Go figure!

The so-called rising tide of prosperity has lifted the yachts of the rich while the sad skiffs of the poor remain mired in the mud of despair. Now they’re saying that the unemployment rate (now 8.5 percent) may be "structural," which is another way of telling us that it’s now build into the system. So the message is get used to it because it won’t go away. That’s small comfort to the 45 million Americans now requiring food aid because they cannot earn enough to put food on the table, or the 25 million who languish in part-time or unsuitable jobs or who have given up seeking work at all.

The prophet Micah commented pointedly on a similar set of circumstances in his day. Oppressors lay awake at night devising evil plots to seize the lands and homes of the poor, stripping assets of warriors returning from battle, and robbing little children of their deserved heritage. Sounds a bit like the foreclosure debacle, doesn’t it?

So are we recovering from the Recession of 2008? Not really! The rich never were in recession, so they don’t need recovery. Big corporations were hurting, but have largely recovered due to government aid packages, frantic efforts at increasing efficiency (newspeak for laying off workers), and hoarding of cash. But for small business and the working and middle classes recovery remains an elusive hope.

Real recovery from our desperate financial situation will require shared sacrifice from all Americans. But what we have at present is a segment of Congress willing to play chicken with the national welfare for the ridiculously untenable idea that the wealthy and their favored corporations should be shielded from any new taxes. So the rich will be allowed to continue their tax shelters, offshore tax havens and unneeded deductions, no matter how perilous may be the nation’s predicament.

So that leaves the several trillion in budget cuts promised by the new agreement (and more to follow if the special committee can agree on them) to be borne by recipients of various entitlements and safety net programs.

What will it take for even a moderate economic recovery for all Americans? Jobs. Jobs. And more jobs. Jobs paying living wages. Economists report flat consumer demand because too many consumers don’t have jobs and are unwilling to go further into debt to keep up their purchasing power. How can demand increase and recovery occur when a compliant Congress continues to allow corporations to claim tax deductions for their costs in shipping American jobs overseas? And what is the effect of corporations holding trillions in accumulated profits while refusing to hire more workers? How does this help the job market?

Somebody in leadership is soon going to have to take the job situation seriously if this recession is ever to end. It doesn’t appear to be our President, who speaks pointedly and effectively, but does little to create needed change. Congress doesn’t appear to be able to help much since they still march to the drums of big business and the banking industry. So perhaps it will have to be the people themselves who agitate for change through mass grass roots organizations (like the Civil Rights movement) aimed at creating change wherever needed.