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Monday, June 24, 2019

Above My Pay Grade

The Illinois governor is one of the wealthiest men in our state. I don’t begrudge him for that. Like most of the very wealthy, to the best of my knowledge he did not cheat his way to the top. Neither did Bill Gates. Or Warren Buffett. Or the Walmart founder. They’re business people. Successful business people.

I’ve got less respect for government people who find their way to riches after laying claim to being a “public servant.” Willie Brown was a California assemblyman for 15 years. I lived in that state for a good part of his tenure. Later, he became the mayor of San Francisco.

A former shoe shine kid from Texas, Willie became known for his trademark Brioni suits and Borsalino hat. His “public servant” life was one that took him from rags-to-riches. Willie often socialized with movie stars and pro athletes. He hung out past the midnight hour at trendy nightclubs and bars. And he jet-setted tor trade missions and weekend getaways around the club. On whose dime? Oh, you know.

Of course, he’s just one example. A plethora of politicians have enjoyed the life-of-rich-Riley on the backs of taxpayers. The socialist candidates of today preach a message of wanting to balance the scales. But the scales always seem to tip their way in power and pleasure.

The latest socialist offer is the GMI — the guaranteed minimum income. This social welfare provision would guarantee that all citizens or families have an income “sufficient to live on,”* provided they meet certain conditions. It also goes by the name of Universal Basic Income.

Mind you, it’s not just socialist-minded politicians who favor this. Chris Hughes is the co-founder of Facebook. In his book, Fair Shot, Chris makes his case that US workers, students, and caregivers who make $50,000 or less a year should receive a guaranteed income of $500 a month. Quoting Hughes, he said “Cash is the best thing you can do to improve health outcomes, education outcomes and lift people out of poverty.”

Just this past week, the Washington Post gave us a story about venture capitalist Nick Hanauer. This successful entrepreneur is categorized as “mega-wealthy”—a lifestyle for which the average American dreams. Nick funded education initiatives for years—believing a good education was the ticket out of poverty.

But no more. Here’s his new pitch: “I woke up one day and realized that it is false to say that education is the principal way of distributing opportunity in this country.” Hanauer is now championing paying Americans a so-called “livable wage.” That’s where his philanthropy is headed next.

For others, that’s not enough. Listen to Candi CdeBaca. Earlier this month, she won a runoff race against a former Denver City council president. Her campaign rode on the message, “I don’t believe our current economic system actually works. Um, capitalism by design is extractive and in order to generate profit in a capitalist system, something has to be exploited, that’s land, labor, or resources.”

She wasn’t finished, saying “…we have to move into something new, and I believe in community ownership of land, labor, resources, and distribution of those resources. And whatever that morphs into is I think what will serve community the best and I’m excited to usher it in by any means necessary.”

Wow. Who knows what that means?

Maybe if all these visions for economic wellbeing come true, America could become like, say, Cuba! Or….Venezuela! Their socialist leader has taken them straight to economic hell! By 2016, Venezuela’s inflation rate was 800%, the highest in its history. The International Monetary Fund projected inflation in that country to be 1,000,000% last year!! Craziness!

God’s idea of living wage has a big gap from our ideas. As Jesus said, “Don’t worry and ask yourselves, ‘Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?’ Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of these. But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.” (Matthew 6:31-33, CEV)

How is God able to make this work? I don’t know. It’s above my pay grade.

That’s Forward Thinking. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook. 

(* Next week, a closer look at what “living wage” actually means.)

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