some people continue to defend trickle down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed to in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. this opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. that passage was not from some occupy wallstreet manifesto. it was written by pope francis in a stunning new treatise on the church and its role in society, and it is a powerful reminder that however tiresome the political trench warfare is in washington might be, we have a duty to fight on.
raising the minimum wage matters. reforming a financial system which rules rather than serves matters. hearing the anguished voices of those left hopeless by poverty matters. answering their pleas with education, healthcare and employment matters.
to sustain a certain lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compasson for the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people's pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all of this was someone else's responsibility and not our own. the culture of prosperity deadens us. we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase, and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle. they fail to move us.
the private ownership of goods is justified by the need to protect and increase them, so that they can better the common good, for this reason solidarity must be lived as the decision to restore to the poor what belongs to them. this position is not new. i hope leaders everywhere, especially in washington are listening.
jesus commanded his apostles to give to the poor. yet many elected officials who claim to follow jesus' teachings are determined to keep the poor from receiving health care, food assistance, housing subsidies, and other benefits. inequality is celebrated as a virtue. we are told with a shrug that life is sometimes unfair. but for christians, life is supposed to be as fair and compassionate as we can make it. our sacred responsibility is to each other.
now that's the end of mr. robinson's and the pope's piece. but there is some other information i'd like to throw in. there are 47,665,069 people receiving snap benefits. for every dollar that is paid to a recipient, $1.73 goes back into the economy. that is a pretty large return on investment. the cbo said it is the most efficient investment the gvt. makes as far as stimulating growth goes. 37% of the recipients are white, 22% are black, and 10% hispanics. so there goes the theory of the blacks and illegals sucking our welfare system to the bone. consider all the people who are employed to help the poor and homeless. they probably far outnumber the people who are actually homeless. the nonprofits, the missions and shelters, the social workers, the gvt. workers, real estate people, people who rent to low income recipients, advocates, rental management companies, grocery stores; etc. all these people work, pay taxes, and contribute to the economy. snap recipients often work and pay taxes....paying back into the system while receiving benefits and contributing to the above.
now here's one more thing to think about. some people say...i work hard...i don't want to support these people with my taxes. these same people will probably apply for social security at age 65. the average yearly deduction on their paycheck is 2747.00 with employer contributions. when they retire they will receive an average of 1230.00 monthly. now if they live ...let's just say for this argument they live another ten years. they pay 2747.00 yearly into the system. they are going to receive 14760 yearly. i don't care what interest rate you use that's alot more than they paid into it. so...who is supporting who?
so what's the point in this? i'm not sure. but just slow down and rethink your position on cutting benefits of the poor and the people who can afford it least. rethink our principles as an american people. rethink our moral and christian or spiritual responsibility as a person to help the poor, help the weak, help the homeless, help the elderly and anyone who is in a difficult circumstance. there are people who go to bed hungry at nite. some of them are children. there people who are homeless and die every nite because they don't have a roof over their head. there are elderly people barely surviing from week to week. there are disabled people that can't work, that can't survive without our help. there are the mentally ill that need our help. the cliche that it could be you...is true in todays world. it could be...or your brother...or your sister...or your child...or your neighbor. try to remember what jesus and the bible taught us. try to compassionate and not judgemental. try to look beyond the facts and the rantings and the articles. just look at that person. they are a person.
see you around town