One thing which is lost in the “1% vs 99%” class warfare debates here in the U.S. is this...America is absurdly wealthy. Even our poor and lower middle class are considered wealthy everywhere else.
Don’t complain about how the rich aren’t helping the poor around the world.
You are the rich. You are the 1%.
Don’t believe me?
· In 2010, the “poverty line” in America was $23,050. If you’re a single-family income making less than this, you are considered “poor” and qualify for government assistance. By comparison, only 21 countries in the entire world have an average annual salary above this line. This means that if you are on food stamps here in the U.S., you are considered “middle class” or higher in 175 of the 196 countries in the world.
· If you make $34,000…you are in the upper 1% in the entire world. Let me repeat that: $34,000—not that much above what we consider poor—is the threshold for being in the upper 1% of wealthiest people in the entire world.
· In fact, if you only make $12,000 per year…about half of the poverty line…you are richer than 90% of the world’s population.
· In most of the world, 95% of those working earn less than $10 per day.
· The poorest 5% of Americans are better off than 2/3 of the world population.
· Only the richest 3% of Indians are above the poverty line in America.
And these numbers are adjusted for buying power. In other words, these are not offset by high local cost of goods—these are equalized, purchasing-power dollars.
Today, of our poorest Americans:
- 99% have electricity, running water, flushable toilets, and a refrigerator
- 95% have a television
- 88% have a telephone
- 71% have a car
- 70% have air conditioning
We love to moralize about how we shouldn’t support ‘sweatshops’ but in my experience traveling internationally, those are the jobs people fight for, the jobs people aspire to for their kids.
We have lost perspective, people.
And it’s hard to imagine Jesus returning and being all that happy with us as a result.