Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

President Bush's idea of compassionate conservatism offers a vision for fighting poverty. Understanding that a job is more than a way to make money, that it is a source of dignity, the president has worked to expand on the welfare reforms of the 1990s.

The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives encourages the work of charities, community groups, and faith-based institutions through government assistance. This vision has a sense of the Catholic social teaching of subsidiarity, which means the decision making should be made at the lowest level. The faith-based initiative does just that: It allows charities and other groups to make the decisions of where best to use the resources and government assistance provided. It makes sense and it integrates Catholic social teaching. The following statement from the BC'04 campaign's web site highlights this vision:

President Bush has taken bold steps to tear down the barriers that separate the poor from effective programs. Through an executive order, the President required equal treatment for faith-based and community organizations. As a result of this and other efforts to level the playing field in the Federal grants process, faith-based organizations received more than $1 billion in competitive, non-formula grants in FY 2003 to benefit the neediest of our society.

Beyond the faith-based initiative the President's vision closely reflects John Paul II in Centestimus Annus when he reminds us, the poor should not simply be looked at as a problem but as people with potential to be unleashed. Programs which increase access to effective drug treatment, mentor disadvantaged youth and children of prisoners, and help ex-offenders contribute to society answer this call to have the poor participate in networks of productivity and exchange.

As well, the president's economic plan has created opportunities to reduce poverty. The two main reasons for poverty among children are, their parents do not work much and their fathers are absent from the home. The president signed the Jobs and Growth Act which has helped to get us out of the recession. 1.5 million news jobs have been created since last August and the unemployment rate is now at 5.5. The president's support for marriage also addresses this problem. From the BC'04 campaign web site:

President Bush's welfare plan would promote child well-being and healthy marriages. As part of this proposal, the President has requested $240 million in total funds in the FY 2005 Budget for a State-based competitive matching grant program to support healthy marriages, as well as $120 million for research, demonstration projects, and technical assistance. In addition, the President has requested $50 million to promote responsible fatherhood. Through this new initiative, faith-based and community organizations would receive competitive grants to support skill-based marriage and parenting education, job training, and other services that help fathers provide emotional and inancial support to their children.

These are little known programs which can go a long way to alleviating poverty in our nation. As well, the president's support for the Federal Marriage Amendment is well known. This amendment will help ensure children have mothers and fathers, the best, yes best, combination for raising children.

This is strong evidence that the president has a vision which, though likely not on purpose, follows Catholic social teachings. We must remember that the Church's social teachings are not uniquely Catholic. They speak to all peoples for they reflect the natural law. When those who criticize the president has ignored the poor or Senator Kerry follows Catholic social teachings more closely, remind them of the above vision. They are likely ignorant of it. Let us change that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are kidding aren't you? Under W, more people live in poverty, and the tax cuts he gave to the waealthy are helping the poor how...? Maybe if you figure that the wealthy paying less in taxes means they can donate money to charities, which in turn, help the poor, is how W helps the poor? Even W himself would tell you he's not for the poor.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, this is just crazy. Bush cut $1.7 trillion dollars of taxes for corporations over the next 10 years. Our government tells us that the middle class pays more and the rich pay less in taxes now than in 2000. You can be for Bush because he's a gun-lovin, pro-death penalty, anti-abortion president. But don't lie the constituency Bush really likes to serve.

9:20 PM  
Blogger David said...

Facts. My post is reasoned and contains facts. Your comments are emotional and not based on, what? Chew on these facts.

About the new poverty statistics:

The Wall Steet Journal editorial page stated this week, "coming out of a slowdown, the poverty rate is always a lagging economic indicator, and experience teaches that it hits a peak roughly three years after a recession ends. Seen in this light, 2003's jump to 12.5% is right on schedule...

"In any event, the latest figures mirror what happened in the last two slowdowns. In 1991, at the height of the recession, the poverty rate was 14.2% and peaked at 15.1% in 1993. Three years after the 1980 recession, the poverty rate also climbed - to 15.2% in 1983 from 13% in 1980."

Translation, this would have happened anyway. President Bush (or President Gore) would be facing the same statistics.

About the tax cuts:

“[A]ccording to the Urban Brookings Tax Policy Center … the fraction of the total tax burden falling on the richest 5 percent is actually higher now – after Bush’s tax cuts – than it was before. That means, proportionately, the little guys got the bigger tax cut.” (Donald Luskin, “Con Aired,” National Review Online, 1/27/04)

That Urban Brookings Tax Policy Center study found that before the 2003 tax cuts took effect, the wealthiest 10 percent shouldered 67.2 percent of the total income tax burden while the bottom 50 percent of earners shouldered only 1.4 percent of the burden. After the 2003 tax cuts took effect, the wealthiest 10 percent paid 71.1 percent of the income tax burden, while the bottom 50 percent paid 0.6 percent. (Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center Website, “Pre-EGTRRA Distribution Of Individual Income And Payroll Tax Burden By Percentiles, 2003,” Accessed 1/30/04 and Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center Website, “Current-Law Distribution Of Individual Income And Payroll Tax Burden By Percentiles, 2003,” Accessed 1/30/04)

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Translation, this would have happened anyway. President Bush (or President Gore) would be
facing the same statistics."

Doh, then you mean our president's ineffectual on-plan did not help the poor and vulnerable?

"about the tax cuts:"

Thems alot of numbers you put in there to tryta prove Bush's tax cut didn't benefit the rich. I'll point the readers of this post to our government, and their report that disputes the 'Urban Brookings Tax Policy Center' bogus flypaper figures. You can choose to
trust the CBO (www.cbo.gov) and their projections, or you can look at any number of third party groups that will tell you up is down. If you choose to trust the CBO, look at the Effective Tax Rates for years 2001-2014. But really, you should just hear it straight from our president himself. When he was asked about his tax cuts benefitting the rich, his
response was that the rich have got them high-priced accountants to get outta paying taxes. So I guess he meant that we should accept the tax cuts because them rich folk will screw us regardless.

I know I'm one of them emotional types, but what I's got to speak is from our gubment.



11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Democrat, did you know that charitable giving is lower in those states that voted for Al Gore than they were in those states that voted for President Bush. Guess what that means - it means that in those states, they were only using their taxes to give to the poor, and it also means that they weren't doing the giving themselves they were letting someone else do the work for them.
It is a sin to ridicule others.

7:09 AM  

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