If you’re an average American, your household income is about $50,000. You have two to three television sets; a DVD player; a computer; internet access; a cell phone; and at least two cars. You eat out four to five times a week. And, you’ve seen a movie in the theater in the past six months.
Yes we, America’s so-called “peasants” live quite well. As I’ve been listening to the rhetoric surrounding “Occupy Wall Street,” I can’t help but wonder if we Americans haven’t lost some perspective. Not that the Occupy folks don’t have some legitimate complaints. With unemployment near 10 percent and politicians seemingly colluding with bank and corporate executives, Americans are understandably frustrated. But, as we contemplate our situation, I think we need some context.
The average American household, for example, ranks among the richest five-percent of the world. Its members make a whopping 17-times more than that of a typical person. Even Americans the U.S. Government deems below the poverty line live well compared to the rest of the world. We consider a family of four with an annual household income of $22,000 to be poor. However, this same family ranks in the richest 20 percent of the world! And, that’s not taking into account government assistance – food stamps; home energy assistance; free pre-school; school lunches; and children’s health insurance.
Sure, as a nation we’re struggling. We’ve lost jobs. Our incomes have shrunk. And, there are people around us who live in relative ease. But, in the world’s terms, very few of us are poor. In fact today, if you have clean water, you’re faring better than 884 million of God’s children.
If you feel so led, go ahead – rage against the system. Occupy whatever city you wish. But personally, I’m grateful and sobered. And, I’m more concerned with what God thinks of how I’ve managed my wealth than I am with how some millionaire has managed his.