Blog: Standing Together for Economic Justice

Simone Campbell, SSS
April 14, 2011

I am grateful that President Obama spoke out yesterday about what is at stake in our nation. I agree that we as a nation need to focus on the thread of our relationships that bind us together into community. As he noted, it is tempting at times to think that we live this life alone and we get what we earn individually. But the truth is that we are interdependent. The top 1% of our population who have amassed so much wealth over the last 30 years are totally dependent on the workers in the country for creating that wealth. We are all dependent on the transportation and educational systems that have enabled us to build our nation. We are all dependent on these systems supported by our tax dollars.

In order to protect their wealth, I believe that the richest folks should be interested in a real safety net that allows for low wage workers to live in dignity. Social Security and Medicare are two programs that keep senior citizens who have worked all of their life out of dire poverty. This is a program that is necessary because employers neither pay enough to allow workers to save for their retirements nor provide healthcare benefits once they do retire. These two programs, paid for by workers, need to be protected from short sighted politicians who want to trash them for quick political gains. The wealthy should say no to this and certainly the rest of us should too.

I was glad to hear President Obama say that our nation is called to integrated sense of the common good into public policy. I would have gone farther and said that it is time workers received salary increases and that our faith calls of “those who have two coats to share one with those who have none.” I would add that those who have two houses, two cars, two boats, etc., are in the best position to invest in our nation. It is a good faith practice, but it also is needed to keep our country strong. The president articulated a good beginning, but we must do more to ensure that billionaire campaign contributors do not have an iron grip on the soul of our nation. Rather, it is the broad 90% of us that know we must stand together and invest in our future. This is a plan and a tax policy that makes sense.