The U.S. economy is in trouble. Since the recession began in late 2007, Wall Street has recovered and is once again paying huge bonuses. But many American households continue to struggle.
As this is being written in mid-2011, millions of people remain out of work. Record numbers of families continue to lose their homes. State governments, required by law to balance their budgets, are cutting services, laying off workers, and (incorrectly) blaming state employees for their financial woes. Corporations are sitting on record amounts of cash but they are doing little hiring or investing because the economic future is too uncertain.
The economic problems in the United States did not start in 2007. They began some 40 years ago. Incomes for households on the lower and middle rungs of the economic ladder have stagnated for decades. Over the past 40 years as the economy has seen sizable growth, all the gains have gone to the top 10 percent of households and primarily to the top 1 percent. Average income among the bottom 90 percent of households, adjusted for inflation, is slightly below the level of 40 years ago.
The rich have become fabulously wealthy, the poor have gotten poorer, and everyone else has gotten, at most, a few crumbs. Even before the global financial crisis, the U.S. economy was not benefiting most Americans.
Both the growing inequality and financial crisis have their roots in the economic policies that have been put in place in the United States and around the world over the past few decades. These policies include deregulation, an important cause of the financial crisis; tax cuts, which have contributed to the large federal deficit; a shifting of the tax burden from corporations and the wealthy to middle and lower income households; restrictions on unions and the right to organize; international trade and investment agreements that unfairly advantage multinational corporations; incentives to move jobs and financial investments out of the United States; and privatization, which often turns jobs with good wages and benefits into low-wage jobs with few benefits.
The Church is called to act, to change unjust economic policies and structures that thwart God’s vision of abundant life for all.
UCC General Synod Resolutions and Pronouncements
The General Synod has repeatedly spoken about the need for economic justice and changes to the U.S. and global economic systems. These are the most important:
The UCC website includes a list of all General Synod resolutions and pronouncements that address economic issues approved since 1999 and selected ones before that date.