The first thing to remember, whenever the President or anyone else touts the stock market as an indicator of success, is that only 50% of Americans are invested in the market at all, and 80% of all shares are owned by the wealthiest 10%. Particularly at a time when 140 million Americans are poor, it measures only the margins of wealth, not our national economic health.
Moreover, even if the stock market did accurately measure most Americans’ pocketbooks, Scripture makes clear that growing wealth is not God’s chief concern. A thriving economy built upon sin and iniquity is still an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. As Christians, we are called to elect politicians who pursue communal justice in the true biblical sense, not focus on which policies would benefit us personally.
But, given widespread poverty, the President’s choice to divert attention from his own wrongdoings by praising the money he’s making for the wealthiest among us is particularly despicable. It represents plutocracy at its most blatant: The President is openly saying that it doesn’t matter if he breaks the law, lies for personal gain, and wantonly abuses the power of his office as long as it makes lots of money for himself and his friends. This is precisely the kind of public corruption that Amos prophesied against; we are likewise called to curse those who celebrate their ill-gotten gains.