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The stock market is poised for a collapse and that's not a good thing for American jobs. As growth slows and the risk of another recession looms, Americans are left to wonder where the good times have gone. 

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By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
8/13/2015 (7 years ago)

Published in Business & Economics

Keywords: Catholic, leadership, president, voting, election, pro life

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Americans are barely beginning to recover from the Great Recession, and even that recovery is nearly flat. Sure, jobs have returned, but purchasing power and wages remain depressed, an economic reality given the massive surplus of labor in the market. 

The developing situation is the perfect storm between welfare benefits, the outsourcing of jobs, and the fleecing of America at the hands of corrupt politicians. Each sector, from Main Street workers, to Wall Street, to politicians bears some blame. 

Hiring has returned to Main Street, but nobody wants the jobs. At every place, the wages are low and the benefits are too high for potential workers to take the leap. Worse, young, educated graduates, strapped with student loan debt, are reluctant to take low-wage jobs because they are afraid they can't live and pay off their student loan debt. For many Americans, welfare now provides more stability than work! 

Politicians are worthy of blame because they continually push Wall Street-written legislation that keeps wages low, permits easy outsourcing, and allows manipulative practices that protect the wealthy while sticking Main Street with the bill. And as far as welfare benefits go, Wall Street executives are the biggest welfare queens of all, collecting nearly twice the amount in in corporate subsidies, tax breaks, and cash payments than what is paid out for all other social welfare programs combined. 

The greed of Wall Street is legendary, with corporate boards pushing the bottom of the spreadsheet to the limit in a mad struggle to squeeze out shrinking profits quarter after quarter. Executive pay has risen to a ratio commonly between 200-400:1. 

So what?

The problem is that the working class no longer has the income to buy what Wall Street needs them to buy to keep the economy afloat. It's not about the wages, or $15 per hour vs $10 per hour, it's about raw purchasing power. The numbers are merely a distraction. 

In 2006, 57 percent of Americans considered themselves middle class. In 2014, that number has dropped to just 44 percent. And it's still falling. Rising prices, a lack of pay increases, or anemic pay increases, exacerbated by layoffs and other hostile employment practices is pushing more and more Americans to the welfare rolls. 

And they're sticking there, not because the welfare is so great, but because the cost of labor is so low, it's that the security is better at the bottom than in the middle!

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If the nation ever needed the guidance of the Catholic Church, this is the time. 

An economy that is always on the brink, or is falling, also produces a lot of social injustice. Crime, incarceration, decreased health and quality of life are all direct results of these declines. 


Want to cut down on abortion? Increase worker security and pay. Troubling statistics show that people turn towards contraception and abortion when financial times get tough. Decent pay and job security cut abortion faster than prayer rallies or ad campaigns. 

Pope Francis has instructed Catholics to consider others when making decisions. We do not live in isolation so our decisions affect others. The people who can do the most immediate good are the ones with all the money. Executives and CEOs need to consider how their decisions impact the lives of their workers. How often have we heard executives talk about "tough decisions" only to read of record profits afterwards? They, above all others, need to ensure workers are paid enough to afford the things they produce. By shortchanging workers, as Wall Street is about to see, they shortchange themselves. Did they think they could go on forever? 

Politicians are next, for they can change policies that impact people's lives in real and immediate ways. They can impose tariffs, eliminate tax breaks and loopholes and challenge corporate bosses that outsource American jobs. They can use the increased revenues to reverse the dangerous trend in college education which is causing many youngsters to graduate with a small house's worth of inescapable debt. They can also develop welfare-to-work programs that encourages people to return to the workforce while punishing those who refuse. Finally, they can give incentives to employers who take real steps to address income gaps between their highest paid executives and their lowest paid workers. 

Finally, you and I can do something about this too. We must vote in accord with our conscience. Rather than elect Wall Street bought politicians, we should support candidates who demonstrate independence and integrity. We should not be single-issue voters who examine only the pro-life issue, a common foible of Catholics, while ignoring the myriad of other issues where a candidate is disturbingly anti-life. It's important to protect the unborn baby in the womb, but it is also important to protect the baby once it is born, as it grows and moves into the workplace. Our concern mustn't end at birth. 

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When forming your opinion this year of which candidate to support, consider their stance on the entire range of issues. Listen to their economic message. Examine their donor base and are they being supported by organizations that are also interested in human welfare? Are their supporters also pro-life, pro-work, pro-environment and above all, pro-human? 

Whatever ballot you cast, we pray it is cast by the Catholic you, before all else.

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