Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Faithful America

Letter from Faithful America:

This week a USA today headline read, "War, economy sway election." Our government's efforts to bring peace at the point of a gun is clearly not working. So in an election-season maneuver, the White House and others are shifting focus to what they believe is a winning issue - the economy. The war will rage on, of course, so please continue to pray for all who are affected by this horrendous war. But about that economy...

When the President or a candidate for office claims the economy is growing, ask yourself and your candidates for office this simple question – growing for whom?

· The economy is not growing for Dan in West Virginia, who is barely able to feed his family on the federal minimum wage. (Hear my interview with Dan, who explains how he must hunt and fish not for sport, but as a sole means to feed his son.) Congress has repeatedly refused to raise the federal minimum wage from its shameful low of $5.15 per hour, yet they have raised their own salaries nine times – to about $165,000.00 a year.

· The economy is not growing for the 49 million of our brothers and sisters who are without health insurance, who may be just one illness or operation away from financial ruin. Millions of others who do have insurance are weighed down by the crushing increases in premiums.

· The economy is not growing for the millions of middle class Americans who are drowning in debt. The consumer debt burden has ballooned to more than 33% since 2001, largely to accommodate a 25% increase in the cost of education, and the exploding cost of housing. That, accompanied by skyrocketing increases in the cost of health insurance, and other necessities, has created a false bottom in the economy which simply cannot be sustained over the long-term.

· The economy is not growing for those whose nest eggs are tied up in their houses. Housing prices are starting to fall. That explains why many investors are shifting their capital from housing to Wall Street, but it leaves behind millions of struggling middle-class persons who live in their homes and cannot “flip their assets” as they watch their homes – and their nest-eggs – begin a backward roll.

· The economy is growing for Paris Hilton, Dick Cheney, and other multi-millionaires – less than 1% of the population – who would benefit from a repeal of the estate tax.” The economy IS growing for war profiteers, oil company executives, and all the others who have reaped the benefits of the decisions in Washington over the past six years.

So when you attend a rally for your candidates for office, think about the least among us – those who have no voice to counter the clamor of election season rhetoric – and ask – on their behalf – for whom is the economy growing?

Robert F. Kennedy knew that numbers rarely tell the whole story when he wrote:

"The gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans."

Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Search your heart this election season, ask empowering questions, pray, meditate, and cast your vote in a manner that reflects the highest within you. It is not the clamor of political ads but the “still, small voice” that matters most to people of faith and conscience. May you listen carefully, discern wisely, and act faithfully as you enter the voting booth this November.


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