BACKGROUND: The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (“Super Committee”) must soon finalize its plan to reduce the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next ten years. The Super Committee needs to vote on a report to be presented to the House and Senate by November 23. If no agreement is reached, automatic across-the-board cuts will go into effect in 2013. Many programs that serve poor and vulnerable people at home and abroad are in danger of receiving devastating and disproportionate cuts.
CHURCH TEACHING: Our Catholic faith calls us to care for our brothers and sisters. Those who are most in need have a priority claim on scarce federal budget resources. The U.S. bishops acknowledge that reducing future unsustainable deficits is important and remind our lawmakers that their decisions are “profoundly moral, and they have enormous human consequences.” The bishops have set forth several criteria to help guide difficult budgetary decisions:
1. Every budget decision should be assessed by whether it protects or threatens human life and dignity.
2. A central moral measure of any budget proposal is how it affects “the least of these” (Matthew 25). The needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty should come first.
3. Government and other institutions have a shared responsibility to promote the common good of all, especially workers and families who struggle to live in dignity in difficult economic times.
ACTION: Contact your U.S. Senators and Representative in Congress and tell them that rising poverty at home and abroad requires that programs serving the poor and vulnerable are protected. You can send an electronic message by clicking the link below.
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