Is greed out of control on Wall Street? Typically, liberals, Democrats and socialists say yes, and conservatives, Republicans and Tea Party supporters say no. But just because you are not a socialist doesn’t mean that you have to support the wild greed that is happening on Wall Street right now. As the rest of the U.S. economy deeply struggles, the major financial firms down on Wall Street are projected to pay out an all-time record of $144 billion in compensation for 2010. Just think about that. Not 144 million dollars – what we are talking about is 144 billion dollars. Not that making money is a bad thing. Capitalism is a great thing (although what the United States has now is not capitalism). Free enterprise is a great thing. But any economic system begins to break down whenever massive amounts of financial power is concentrated in just a few hands. Wall Street firms have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbying to get the game rigged in their favor, and Wall Street firms have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on campaign contributions to keep things that way. For example, three of Barack Obama’s six biggest campaign donors were Wall Street firms (Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup). These big Wall Street firms dominate the U.S. financial landscape to a degree that is almost impossible to understate. Now of course part of the American Dream is being able to work hard and make as much money as possible, but when monolithic financial firms are able to corrupt the game so severely and funnel such massive amounts of money to themselves, at what point are we going to finally admit that there is something fundamentally broken about the system?
But let’s just not pick on Wall Street. The truth is that wherever they live, the wealthiest people in the world are gobbling up an increasingly large percentage of the world’s wealth. In fact, according to a report on Zero Hedge, the wealthiest 0.5% now control over 35% of global wealth.
Meanwhile, billions of people around the world are hanging on to life by the ends of their fingertips.
Tonight, approximately 1 billion people around the globe will go to bed hungry.
Tonight, someone in the world will starve to death approximately every 3.6 seconds and about 75 percent of them will be children under the age of 5.
Tonight, approximately a third of all the children on earth under the age of five suffer from serious malnutrition.
As the wealthy continue to pile up endless billions in their bank accounts, the poverty of billions of deeply suffering people cries out for relief.
All of this reminds me of the words that we find in James 5:1-5….
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence.