Amos 5: 11 Therefore because you trample on the poor and take from them levies of grain… and push aside the needy in the gate…
According to God, one of the key indicators of the faithfulness of Israel is their treatment of the poor and dispossessed. In this verse God is calling the people to task. Yes they worship in the temple, make the appointed sacrifices, tithe their income… but their treatment of the poor is an embarrassment.
As I write this blog post Congress is in the middle of a major overhaul of the federal tax code. We are talking about a piece of legislation that will determine who gets to pay for our $4.094 trillion budget. (Hint: regular people like you and me will bear the brunt)
What concerns me is the way this legislation is bring written and carried through Congress. Very few people know what’s actually in the document and, to be frank, most won’t know until the legislation is passed (this is nothing new, by the way). Some lawmakers may have comments ahead of the vote, but so much of what they say is partisan spin it’s hard to take any of it seriously. Republicans will hail the bill as a major achievement while the democrats will say it’s the worst bill ever written. The truth will likely be somewhere in between.
Here’s one thing I do know – the ones with the most influence are monied interests (wealthy persons, big business, big government) who can afford expensive lobbyists to represent their interests during the writing process. The rest of us have little leverage until there’s an election when we can be heard at the ballot box. The poor have almost no leverage because so few vote. They are usually the ones who get the shaft.
My prayer is that, by some miracle, the tax overhaul creates a system of taxation that is more equitable, not less. I know – crazy idea.
Lord Jesus let it be so. Amen.