USCCB: ‘action alert’ on fiscal cliff
December 18, 2012
The Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has sent out an “action alert” urging Catholics to contact members of Congress about the “fiscal cliff” – the looming federal tax increases and spending cuts.
“We should prioritize programs that serve ‘the least of these,’ not cut or eliminate them,” the suggested message to members of Congress states. “The refundable-low income tax credits for working families reduced the child poverty rate by over 6% in 2011. With the child poverty rate at 21%, a debt deal must not cut back the refundability of the Earned Income and Child Tax Credits.”
The suggested message continues:
Catholic institutions rely on the charitable tax deduction to feed, clothe, house, educate, and care for millions of poor and vulnerable people at home and around the world. Cutting the charitable deduction in a time of persistent poverty is not a moral way to balance the budget.
Similarly, Catholic institutions rely on the federal government to be a partner is providing these services in the form of discretionary spending programs. Poverty focused international assistance, housing and homelessness programs, education funding, and other critical human needs programs have already been cut by billions of dollars. They must be protected from further cuts so we can continue to serve our brothers and sisters in need.
The economy is failing to produce enough decent jobs at just wages. The average length of unemployment is 10 months, and there are still over three job seekers for every opening. There is a moral obligation to protect the life and dignity of unemployed workers and their families. For many families struggling to meet their daily needs, unemployment benefits are essential. A debt deal must extend emergency unemployment programs.