“Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative” (The Catechism of the Catholic Church 1883)
“I actually believe in redistribution.” Obama – October 19, 1998
The recent Census data reports 46.2 million Americans are now living in poverty- the highest rate since 1983. Comments from the Secretary of Commerce on the report were at best indifferent and only focused on the year over year changes, which remained flat. The poverty rate in 2007 was 11.7 percent, and under the Obama Administration has risen to 15.0 percent. Nearly four years of Keynesian economics under the leadership of the Obama Administration have delivered nothing short of an astonishing growth of poverty in America. While the housing bubble and banking crisis of 2008 certainly launched the country into a recession, the recovery that should have normally arrived based on past post-recession data has been MIA. Yet, supporters of Obama claim that because the rate did not change year over year his policies must be working, and we should continue on this path of economic destruction. This is arrogance of the worst sort and comes at a high price to the poor amongst us.
For many Americans, material circumstances have not only failed to improve, they have become far worse. Couple this with an historic drop in fundraising for charitable organizations (down 17.6% or $52B) due to the continuation of the worst recorded economic recovery in history under President Obama’s economic misguidance, and the picture becomes even more grim for many of our fellow citizens. In Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love), 2006, he affirmed, “For the Church, charity is not a kind of welfare activity which could equally well be left to others, but is a part of her nature, an indispensable expression of her very being.” Yet government welfare, viz. left to others, is exactly what the Obama Administration has exponentially expanded, while at the same time decreased the ability for many Americans to give to charitable groups and stay faithful to Pope Benedict’s encyclical.
President Obama continues to cling to failed policies, leaving the rest of America in a boat, adrift with one oar. As recently as the October 3, 2012 presidential debates, Obama continues to be lacking any new proposals to correct the direction of the economy. Instead, he continues to pretend that if only government would confiscate more personal income via higher taxes on the “one percent,” spend more of our tax dollars on failed green energy programs and hire more math and science teachers the economy would suddenly be healed of malaise and deterioration. Furthermore, both Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Senator Steny Hoyer have publicly lauded food stamps and welfare as a way of stimulating the economy, while the failure of this scheme has aggrandized the situation and put more citizens than ever in the ranks of those needing government handouts. This is inexcusable.
When does their mythical “stimulus” actually grow the economy and decrease those in need of government aid? These paladins of redistribution have no answer because it is based on an unproven multiplier algorithm created by Keynesian economist, Marc Zandi. Void of any conservative economic remedies, Obama’s main economic theme remains an habitual call for “fair share,” which is merely a euphemism for redistribution. Americans, and particularly the poor and needy among us, cannot afford four more years of excessive government intervention and redistribution, as championed by Democrats. As faithful Catholics we are taught, “The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modern times with “communism” or “socialism.” (CCC 2425) Redistribution is a key element of socialism that we are called to reject. “Forward,” is Obama’s battle cry for the continued march to deepen the embrace.
Those not in poverty or running businesses can no longer bear the burden of a socialistic income confiscation scheme that is not only increasing the poverty rolls, but fully defies the moral conscience aspect of charitable giving. No matter how well-intentioned, government coercion is immoral as well as an economic disaster. Glancing at current poverty statistics reveals the dismal results of Obama’s “belief in redistribution,” and flies in the face of Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum disapprobation of socialism. Thus far, the only thing Obama has managed to redistribute is more poverty.
As Catholics, we cannot ignore the facts, cast a vote to endorse Obama and still stay true to a spirit of real charity that we area called to adminster. We must take our responsibility of faithful citizenship and apply it to a true free market capitalist solution that fosters growth and private charity, and does not advance the immoral expansion of socialism. Our goal as faithful conservatives is to lift the poor and needy out of their circumstances, not to sit by and watch them increase in number and keep them downtrodden. President Obama must be a one-term president or we risk not only the loss of religious liberty and the protection of human life, but a fiscal cliff that will quickly devolve into a societal cliff we cannot afford to fall from. We owe the poor and needy and ourselves a better solution. St. Vincent de Paul said, “The poor are your masters. You are the servant.” One of the ways we can serve them well is to seek those who can lead them out of poverty, not keep them in it. Our choice on November 6 is abundantly clear.
- America’s official poverty rate in 2011 was 15.0 percent, with 46.2 million people in poverty
- The current poverty rate in 2011 for children under age 18 was 21.9 percent. One in four children now live in poverty
- The poverty rate under the Obama Administration has increased three out of four years during his time in office
- The poverty rate for young adults age 25-34 measured only by their income is 43.7%
- More than one in seven Americans now rely on food stamps
- Six million Americans receiving food stamps report they have no other income, up 50% in the past two years
Further in-depth reading: