United States Catholic Bishops, Economic Justice for All Ryan P. Cumming
Getting Started with the Reading Written in 1986 by United States Catholic Bishops Popular support for reduction in public services “Trickle-down economics” Pastoral letter Addressed to broad audience, including non- Catholics Divided by numbered paragraphs
Key Terms Vatican II (see link) Productive property (paragraph 137) Common good (para. 137)
Why does work have “dignity”(para. 136-137)? Allows people to participate in society Reap the rewards and share benefits of community “crucial to self-realization” Fulfillment of material needs “first line of defense against poverty” Most people don’t own productive property – they must work Enables contribution to common good Serve others, contribute to well-being, etc.
Government and Society Must protect right to gainful employment (para. 153) How to do so will vary Bishops’ Recommendations (para. 200-203) Self-help for the poor – enable employment Provide training, seed money, and legal assistance Education and illiteracy reduction Tax reform
The Bishops and Tax Reform (para.202) Taxes should raise enough money to fulfill needs of the poor Tax rates should be progressive – wealthier should pay higher taxes No tax on those in poverty - Tax rate should not burden those who can’t afford basic necessities
Welfare Reform Assistance programs should: Assist recipients to become self-sufficient through gainful employment Provide adequate levels of support Standardized nationally Available to all families that are in need (especially two-parent homes; odd since two-parent families were included since 1960)
Central Claim Financial insecurity prevents people from making independent decisions that reflect their values and commitments. To be poor is to be powerless and constrained from participating in society. Our choices and our actions are thus limited by financial struggles.
Question for the week In what ways are your choices affected by financial concerns? What might be an example of a significant choice that you might make based on a lack of financial security?
Themes to think of for assignment… Welfare Poverty Inequality Unemployment Tax rates Etc.