Four in 10 Americans struggled to pay for their basic needs such as food or housing last year, according to a new study from the Urban Institute, a Washington-based think tank. Despite a growing US economy and a low unemployment rate, 39.4 per cent of Americans between 18 and 64 years old said they experienced at least one type of material hardship in 2017, Xinhua quoted a study as saying, which surveyed nearly 7,600 adults about whether they had trouble paying for housing, utilities, food or health care.
We’re told this is the best economy we’ve had in many years. I’ve even heard someone claim that it is the best economy ever, which is an exaggeration of course.
In many ways, things are good economically. Many people have jobs. The stock market is going strong.
But then there’s this study from the Urban Institute that shows that four in ten Americans are struggling to pay basic necessities. I know these people. I come in contact with them daily. Some days it feels more like eight in ten considering how many people I talk to are struggling to buy food, find adequate housing, deal with debt, are one paycheck away from losing it all, are homeless, etc.
The question that is on my mind is this – how can we have such a great economy yet have so many people struggling to survive?
Here’s my hunch. The economy is great – for some. But it’s crappy for a significant portion of the rest of society.
But when the ideology and theology behind those who are advancing their economic agenda is that the strong survive and the ends justify the means, well, then there are going to be those that suffer. And worse yet, those who suffer will be on their own – they are considered not strong enough.
This isn’t a Jesus economy. It would be far different if it was. It would take into consideration the poor, the outcast, the vulnerable, the weak. Not to cut them lose to see if they could survive, but to reach out to them and bring them along. A Jesus economy recognizes that when more people are doing alright, then it is better for everyone.