Since offering his recommendations to cut the federal budget, Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, has been accused by the Catholic Left of destroying Medicare and ending funding of programs to help those in poverty. That none of this is true was explained clearly by Quin Hillyer in “The Catholicity of Paul Ryan’s Budget” published at Catholic Advocate. (more…)
Monthly Archives: May 2011
The accusation made by a group of Catholic academics in their open letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner is a grave one, and should be made only after careful reflection. They charge that the voting record of the Speaker, a serious Catholic, contradicts Catholic teaching. Moreover, they imply that Catholic University of America’s honoring Speaker Boehner was morally equivalent to Notre Dame’s honoring the radically pro-abortion President Obama. Both claims are so ludicrous they amount to calumny. (more…)
This coming November the Catholic bishops will approve a new version of their “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” document.
The 36-page statement on political responsibility was hotly debated at the bishops’ meeting in 2007, though only four bishops voted against it. At the time, Archbishop Raymond Burke made an impassioned plea for his fellow bishops to reconsider problematic sections of “Faithful Citizenship” to no avail. (more…)
Calling itself “a leading research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture,” The Barna Group just released what purports to be “Christian Preferences for the 2012 Republican Nomination.”
Barna’s polling of mainline Protestant, non-mainline Protestant (Evangelical), and Catholics is marked by an additional category called “Born again Christians.” These are defined not as people who describe themselves as “born again,” but as those “who said they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today, and who also indicated they believe that when they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior.” (more…)
A few weeks ago Catholic Advocate noted the skewered approach to polling Catholics utilized by the Barna Group — “Another Lesson in Misunderstanding Catholic Voters” — an organization of highly respected pollsters in the Evangelical community. (more…)
“In a system of taxation based on justice and equity it is fundamental that the burdens be proportioned to the capacity of the people contributing” (Mater et Magistra, 132).
Every citizen has a moral obligation to contribute to the common good. In financial terms, this responsibility is carried out primarily through a person’s labor and the wealth it creates. But a citizen also contributes through the payment of taxes, which are used to fund the cost of government.
Balancing this tax burden is a matter of prudential judgment. Taxes that are adjusted to income levels are designed to place more of the burden on the wealthy. However, some argue that this policy penalizes those who are successful and discourages them from further investment and industry that creates jobs. In other words, “taxing the rich” may have negative consequences for the economy as a whole.
How the combination of progressive and regressive taxes is balanced is a source of much debate. Regardless of the solution, taxation policy should not become a weapon in class warfare. Citizens should work together to create a solution that is fair to all sides. The common good should be the goal of any taxation policy, not the interests of one particular class.
A just tax system is one that is based on a citizen’s ability to pay in proportion to the cost of maintaining government. In supporting their nation and communities, taxpayers should not find themselves unable to provide for their own families or maintain their businesses. Workers should earn enough money to pay their taxes and still take home a “living wage.” Traditional families should also be encouraged. This means that a husband working full-time should be able to support his wife and children at home.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many mothers are forced to leave their children in order to earn second incomes because of the amount of tax the fathers must pay out of their incomes. This economic pressure adds to the stress and emotional cost to parents and their children. This is why the USCCB has supported family-friendly tax legislation, such as tax credits for children and direct rebates to low-income families with dependents. The bishops’ conference has also supported adjustments that would reduce the “marriage penalty” by increasing the qualifying amount for married workers.
Large corporations, small businesses, and other institutions that employ workers also have a significant impact on family stability, as well as on society as a whole. In addition to paying workers’ wages, corporations provide financial support for the common good by paying federal and state income taxes. These taxes represent another major source of revenue for the government.
To sustain the corporations and businesses that provide employment and financial support, the government should ensure that corporate taxes are low enough for both large and small companies to operate at optimal levels. “Governments must provide regulations and a system of taxation which encourage firms to preserve the environment, employ disadvantaged workers, and create jobs in depressed areas. Managers and stockholders should not be torn between their responsibilities to their organizations and their responsibilities toward society as a whole” (USCCB, Economic Justice for All, 118).
- Taxes should be fairly based upon one’s ability to pay.
- Tax policy should not penalize marriage or the raising of children.
- Corporate taxes should not threaten the capacity to create and sustain jobs.
The well-being of our families, communities, and nation depends on the success of business and industry to create wealth. The greater the growth of industry, the more stable our society becomes: “Another name for peace is development. Just as there is a collective responsibility for avoiding war, so too there is a collective responsibility for promoting development” (Centesimus Annus, 52).
Business and industry create the wealth that provides financial support for their workers, both blue and white collar, and their families through earned wages, medical benefits, life insurance, disability, and pension plans. Without these wages and benefits, most workers would be unable to obtain the goods necessary to living life without relying on the government for direct assistance. (more…)
“The right and the duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable” (CCC 2221).
Most parents know that it’s their job to oversee the education of their children, but some mistakenly think it’s the responsibility of the government. That’s understandable, given the availability and easy access of public schools. However, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us, “As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them that corresponds to their own convictions. This right is fundamental. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators. Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise” (CCC 2229). (more…)