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Income Inequality, Take Action, Preschool

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March 13, 2015

Addressing “Income Inequality” – How to Help the Poor and Reward Employment

A phrase increasingly used to describe the financial difficulties of lower- and middle-income Americans is “income inequality.” 

Between 2000 and 2014, weekly wages fell 3.7 percent, adjusted for inflation, among workers in the lowest tenth of earnings levels but rose 9.7 percent among people near the top of earnings, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.  Other reports examining total income, not just wages, reveal a growing gap between rich and poor, in part due to the surging stock market.  Underscoring the problem is a stubbornly high poverty rate, with California’s, by one measure, the worst in the nation. 

But there are some key questions that must be answered in order to determine the best way to strengthen family financial stability.

First, is it best to focus on “income inequality” or “equal opportunity”?

Second, is more redistribution of income through social programs the answer, or generating more job opportunities for people to support themselves? 

Church teachings provide a good guidepost for answering these questions.

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Tell Senators to Vote NO on Assisted Suicide

Is your State Senator on this list? Did you receive an Action Alert from the Catholic Legislative Network earlier in the week?  If so, help stop the doctor-prescribed suicide bill, SB 128, in one of these committees by Taking Action now.

Senate Health - Ed Hernandez, Janet Nguyen , Isadore Hall, Holly Mitchell, Bill Monning, Jim Nielsen, Richard Pan, Richard D. Roth, Lois Wolk

Senate Judiciary - Hannah-Beth Jackson (Chair), Andy Vidak (Vice Chair), Joel Anderson, Robert Hertzberg, Mark Leno, Bill Monning, Bob Wieckowski

It only takes a moment to express your opposition to legalizing doctor-prescribed suicide.  SB 128 receives its first hearing on March 25 in Senate Health.  The Judiciary committee has not scheduled a hearing yet.  The bill must pass both committees before it moves to the Senate Floor.  Let’s stop this dangerous bill now.

If you received an Alert it means your Senator serves on one of these key committees.  Please Take Action Now.

Bishops Celebrate Juvenile Justice Month

The Restorative Justice Committee of the California Catholic Conference released the following statement this week on behalf of the Bishops of California:

“The purpose of California’s juvenile justice system is not to warehouse juvenile offenders until they can be turned over to the prison system, but to intervene and prevent young people from continuing in their downward spiral of crime and violence.  Its goal must be rehabilitation and its efforts must be focused on helping young people and their families change the trajectory of their lives.

“We are proud to join with the Healing Justice Coalition and people of faith throughout California in bringing attention to California’s juvenile justice system, and reminding policymakers and the public that these young people in their care are often from broken homes and broken families.  They have no experience with the praise, the love or the family support most of us take for granted.  They are all our prodigal sons and daughters; we have a responsibility to embrace them and help bring them back into productive society.

Read the Full Statement

Pioneering Disability Rights Activist Found Against Assisted Suicide

Paralyzed from the neck down, confined to a wheelchair, Ed Roberts could move only two fingers. A breathing tube draped from his mouth, Roberts slept in an iron lung.

For many who advocate assisted suicide, the challenges of Roberts’ life made him eligible for ending that life early.  Instead, Roberts lived a life devoted to promoting the rights and abilities of himself and others.

Robert fought to attend the University of California after it said he couldn’t because of his disability, earning his bachelor’s degree, then his masters.

In 1962 Roberts was turned down for employment in California’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation; it told him he was too disabled for a job.

But Roberts kept fighting, and he triumphed. In 1976 Gov. Jerry Brown appointed him Director of the rehab department. As its head Roberts helped establish independent living centers in California and lobbied for disability rights.  

Read more about Ed Roberts

Quality Preschool for California Children

Numerous studies have long recognized the many benefits of early childhood education.  These studies have shown that, over the long term, high quality preschool improves student achievement and attendance, increases high school graduation rates, and reduces involvement in juvenile crime. 

In fact, research reveals that a high quality preschool program can substantially save taxpayers from incurring costs for remedial education or criminal incarceration.  Some economists estimate that for every dollar invested in early childhood education, there is a return of $16 in such benefits.

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March 13, 2015, Vol. 8, No. 11, En Español