Dear President Trump:
Today’s Daily Lectionary readings are about living well.
In the Old Testament reading, God promises that, if the people will set aside the Sabbath as holy and a time for rest, God will bless them and make them secure. (Jeremiah 17:19-27) The psalmist writes: “Which of you desires life, and covets many days to enjoy good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” (Psalm 34:12-14) In the Gospel reading, Jesus tells his disciples not to work for food that perishes, but for the food that Jesus gives — “food that endures for eternal life.” (John 6:16-27)
Living well requires rest, speaking well, doing good, seeking peace and having a spiritual sense of purpose. It also requires a living wage.
According to the Institute for Policy Studies, “In the United States, income inequality, or the gap between the rich and everyone else, has been growing markedly, by every major statistical measure, for some 30 years.” The average annual household income for the bottom 90 percent of Americans is $33,068 compared to $295,845 for the top 10 percent and $1,260,508 for the top 1 percent.
The tireless children’s rights activist Marian Wright Edelman has challenged, “There should not be one new dime in tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires as long as millions of children in America are poor, hungry, uneducated and without health coverage.”
Mr. President, as you think about tax reform in the coming days, I urge you to only propose changes that will narrow this gap. Help make it possible for all to live well.
J. Daryl Byler