Multiply Justice

Archive for the category “Poverty”

Brian Fikkert: Seven tips for overcoming poverty

Brian Fikkert writes on Radical.net that the lie of American culture is that human flourishing can be achieved through greater consumption of material things, so we try to alleviate poverty by increasing economic growth. But human beings are created for relationship, not consumption. The selfish pursuit of ever-increasing levels of consumption is absolutely devastating American society.

Read his seven tips for overcoming poverty by clicking here.

 

Fight social immobility, not ‘inequality’

Scott Winship writes at e21:

With long-term unemployment historically high and still-pervasive economic insecurity in the wake of the Great Recession, it is understandable that many Americans have grown more concerned about the nation’s levels of inequality. Too many families struggle in poverty, too many workers have given up on finding fulltime work, and too many young adults have graduated into a weak economy that will lower their lifetime earnings. …

While upward mobility has not diminished over time, and while it has not been hurt by rising income inequality, it has nevertheless been stuck at unacceptably low levels for decades. If past patterns hold, 70 percent of poor children today will fail to make it to the middle class as adults. Four in ten will be mired in poverty themselves in midlife.

These are not the kind of odds those of us solidly in the middle class would accept for our children. The American Dream is in poor health if children who grow up in the bottom can aspire only to fill the same sorts of jobs as their parents hold.

The challenge is to identify real solutions to the problem of limited upward mobility. Fifty years after Lyndon Johnson’s declaration of war on poverty, we should establish a second front against immobility. Attacking inequality, however, is unlikely to mitigate either problem.

Attacking “inequality” by seizing wealth only weakens the engines of economic prosperity and further cripples the poor by worsening dependence. Far better is for those who know how to show those who do not. God’s justice is established as his people teach others how to walk in his ways. Do not blame the desperate poor for looking to the government when God’s people have ignored their cries. If you want to foil rabble-rousers and petty tyrants, show the poor where to find abundant life. If you want to help the poor, multiply justice.

Left with nothing

Is your congregation involved deeply enough with the poor in your community to know who is preying on them?

nothingMichael Sallah, Debbie Cenziper, and Steven Rich report for the Washington Post:

On the day Bennie Coleman lost his house, the day armed U.S. marshals came to his door and ordered him off the property, he slumped in a folding chair across the street and watched the vestiges of his 76 years hauled to the curb.

Movers carted out his easy chair, his clothes, his television. Next came the things that were closest to his heart: his Marine Corps medals and photographs of his dead wife, Martha. The duplex in Northeast Washington that Coleman bought with cash two decades earlier was emptied and shuttered. By sundown, he had nowhere to go.

All because he didn’t pay a $134 property tax bill.

The retired Marine sergeant lost his house on that summer day two years ago through a tax lien sale — an obscure program run by D.C. government that enlists private investors to help the city recover unpaid taxes.

For decades, the District placed liens on properties when homeowners failed to pay their bills, then sold those liens at public auctions to mom-and-pop investors who drew a profit by charging owners interest on top of the tax debt until the money was repaid.

But under the watch of local leaders, the program has morphed into a predatory system of debt collection for well-financed, out-of-town companies that turned $500 delinquencies into $5,000 debts — then foreclosed on homes when families couldn’t pay, a Washington Post investigation found.

Read the full text of this provocative story by clicking here.

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