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Re: Catholic Questions Re: Christians and Economic Justice

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  • Steve Fredette
    I do not know enough of it to say, this article is obviously one sided. Though usury is a sin. God Bless, Steve Fredette http://www.catholicwebauthors.com
    Message 1 of 143 , Jun 1, 2006
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          I do not know enough of it to say, this article is obviously one sided.
       
          Though usury is a sin.
       
      God Bless,
      Steve Fredette
      http://www.catholicwebauthors.com
       
      "Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy."
      -Leo Buscaglia
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Thursday, June 01, 2006 01:04 AM
      Subject: Catholic Questions Re: Christians and Economic Justice

      I assume that Catholics oppose repeal of estate taxes. However, I don't know that. What are the teaching of the Church on this matter?  


      --- In catholicquestions@yahoogroups.com, "Ted Michael Morgan" <Ted_Morgan@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > To protect the common good
      > by Jim Wallis
      >
      >
      > According to the biblical prophets, the greatest moral offense of
      > poverty is the inequality that often lies behind it. When poverty
      > abounds and the wealthy refuse to share their prosperity, God gets mad.
      > If the congressional leadership has its way, American inequality is
      > about to take a giant step forward with their efforts to destroy or gut
      > the estate tax - an effective measure to combat inequality that has been
      > working for 100 years.
      >
      >
      > Sometimes, there are public policy choices that simply make no moral
      > sense. When a nation is at war, when deficits are rising at record
      > rates, and when everyone knows that even more budget cuts are coming
      > that will directly and negatively impact the nation's poorest families
      > and children, you don't give more tax breaks to the super-rich. But that
      > is exactly what the administration and the Republican leadership are
      > strenuously trying to do. And with the latest Census Bureau income and
      > poverty report showing that the poverty rate has gone up for the fourth
      > straight year, the moral offense is compounded. There are 37 million
      > Americans now living below the poverty line, 4 million more than in
      > 2001. That includes 13 million children.
      >
      >
      > So why are George Bush, the Republican leadership, and some Democrats on
      > Capitol Hill pushing so hard to completely repeal or substantially gut
      > the estate tax? It's been in place for nearly 100 years, is a
      > substantial source of government revenue, and has been a major catalyst
      > to charitable giving (including to faith-based organizations, something
      > the administration claims to support). A repeal of the estate tax will
      > cost an estimated 1 trillion dollars in federal revenue over the next 10
      > years (that's right, 1 trillion), substantially increase the deficit,
      > dramatically diminish the resources available to help low-income
      > families escape poverty, and further increase the pressure on the budget
      > from the high cost of war. The only thing the repeal of the estate tax
      > will accomplish is to make sure the wealthiest of Americans will bear no
      > sacrifices during war-time belt tightening and tough decision making
      > but, rather, will reap a windfall of benefit and be the only Americans
      > who do.
      >
      >
      > Repeal supporters have cleverly changed the language of the debate by
      > calling the estate tax "the death tax" and claiming that it mostly
      > affects family farmers and small businesses who are unable to pass their
      > farms and businesses along to their children. That is simply not true.
      > To put it less delicately, they are lying to cover up the fact that the
      > estate tax mostly affects their richest friends. The tax affects only
      > the wealthiest half of 1 percent of Americans - estates with a net value
      > of more than $2 million ($4 million for couples). That is exactly what
      > this tax was supposed to do when it was introduced in 1906 by President
      > Theodore Roosevelt (a Republican, remember) to counter the European
      > practice of passing on enormous wealth from generation to generation,
      > thereby encouraging aristocracy. The more American idea was to ask those
      > who have benefited enormously by accident of birth to contribute back to
      > the common good and expand opportunity for all. Many wealthy people,
      > such as Bill Gates Sr. and Warren Buffett, agree and vigorously support
      > the estate tax. But that American ideal is now under attack by a
      > political leadership which seems anxious to restore an American
      > aristocracy.
      >
      >
      > Those who want to retain the estate tax are willing to reform it to make
      > sure that family farmers and small business people are not adversely
      > affected and to ensure that the tax - let's call it a "common good tax"
      > - is focused where it was intended, on those who have benefited so much
      > from the opportunities of America. In a very real sense, the estate tax
      > is a repayment for the public services and infrastructure that enable
      > wealth creation - our transportation system of highways, bridges, and
      > airports; our legal and educational systems; and many other investments
      > we make in our society. It is only right that having benefited so much
      > from the opportunities of America, the wealthiest should be obligated to
      > return some of their good fortune to expand the opportunities of other
      > Americans (maybe we should call the estate tax "the opportunity tax").
      >
      >
      > Is this the America that we want? One whose top policy priority is to
      > make the rich richer while abandoning the most needed efforts to reduce
      > poverty and protect the common good? That, in particular, was the
      > original purpose of the estate tax, initiated by different kind of
      > Republican president who was committed to the equality of opportunity
      > for every American.
      >
      >
      > It is time for Democrats, moderate Republicans, and people of good
      > social conscience across the county to draw a line in the sand against
      > this administration's radical policies to redistribute wealth from the
      > bottom and middle to the top of American society. It's time for a moral
      > resistance to such unbalanced social policies and the place to begin is
      > to defeat the dangerous and disingenuous effort to destroy the estate
      > tax. In the name of social conscience, fiscal responsibility, equality
      > of opportunity, protecting our communities, and the very idea of a
      > "common good," it's time for the moral center of American public opinion
      > to say "enough." The repeal of the estate tax would literally be an
      > attack upon the common good and it must not succeed. Instead, we need
      > policies that would create better and more balanced national priorities.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Take Action for Tax Fairness - Stand Up for the "Common Good" Tax
      >
      >
      > Sojourners and Call to Renewal are partnering with a broad-based
      > coalition called Americans for a Fair Estate Tax to preserve fair tax
      > policies supported by the biblical principles of social justice. Click
      > below to take action on behalf of yourself or on behalf of the
      > organization you represent (if applicable).
      >
    • RCGirlAgain@aol.com
      In a message dated 6/7/2006 11:12:03 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, lincolnproducts@yahoo.com writes: The one teaching of Christ that I think is too ignored on
      Message 143 of 143 , Jun 7, 2006
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        In a message dated 6/7/2006 11:12:03 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, lincolnproducts@... writes:
        The one teaching of Christ that I think is too ignored on this subject is when He says: 'when you give alms, let not the right hand know what the left is doing and your Father who sees you give secretly will reward thee openly.'  i believe that giving should be done as secretly as possible.

        I have mixed feelings about this.  In fact, it's something that I've questioned priests about in the past, as I think it's an important point and yet one that is in direct conflict with the "salt of the earth" passage.  I think that the actions of others are very much influenced by what they see people they respect doing, whether it's out of a sense of a shame for NOT doing it or a sense of validation of their urge TO do it or something else entirely, I do not know. 
         
        One priest suggested that the issue was all about motivation--that the passage you quoted was intended to prevent us from falling to pride over our charity, or performing charitable acts to earn the praise of others rather than out of true charity.  But the fact of the matter is that we are also called to be examples, to preach the gospel through the way that we live and not only in words, and that when someone comes around collecting for a charity or asks for help with a task, there's often no better way to stimulate donations than to be the first to reach for your wallet.
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