Recessions looms in the USA, what will that mean for Catholics?
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Recession warnings are flashing on the stock market with the yield-curve inversion and other indicators showing signs that a recession will hit within the next two years or less. While the recession has been slow to arrive, its coming is inevitable, due to the fundamental nature of our current economic system. What responsibilities do Catholics have in such difficult times?
With a recession looming, what does that mean for Main Street?
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Recession signals are flashing on Wall Street, which means danger for Main Street. At first, signals, such as the yield curve inversion, don't mean much to Main Street, but they warn investors to prepare for a downturn. These signals can become self-fulfilling prophesies as businesses brace for recession by curtailing production, which means layoffs for Main Street workers.
While we have enjoyed more than a decade of improving economic conditions, a reversal is near. And the signs suggest this reversal may be sharp and severe.
Americans are now carrying more debt than at any time in history, with credit card and student loan debt exceeding 2008 levels, which was the last time the nation entered a recession. While unemployment is low, many people are participating in what is called the "gig economy," which means they move from one job to another, with none providing any kind of steady employment or long-term security. The work does not provide benefits. Millions more are working part-time jobs, sometimes more than one. Even full-time workers are doing gigs and second jobs.
While this should mean Main Street is flush with cash, the levels of debt suggest the opposite is true. And when recession hits, we can expect bankruptcies to soar. In fact, there is danger that major financial institutions may suffer greatly. Some economists worry the next recession will be more severe than the one in 2008, and it will impact Main Street even harder.
If these worst fears are realized, we can expect political upheaval, in addition to financial struggle. Millions of Americans will find themselves attracted to the promises of socialism, and the fundamental fabric of our nation will be indelibly altered.
As Catholics, we have responsibilities. Those responsibilities are always present, but the need for us to do our duty is greatest in difficult times.
First, we have a responsibility to defend life, and to oppose all efforts to destroy life, from conception until the moment of natural death. Abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia, internment, genocide, and warfare are all unacceptable. As Catholics, we have a responsibility to resist any movement towards these measures with every fiber of our being. We must pray, vote, unite, speak out and, at times, physically resist such efforts. We must also pay attention to and push back against anti-life language and other more subtle efforts to make these policies palatable to the people.
Second, we have a responsibility to defend life, even when it is not in immediate jeopardy. That means caring for those around us who are less able to care for themselves. This means looking after the basic needs and dignity of the human person, and looking after the worker. If we own a business, we must care for our workers so they are justly paid, so their conditions are safe and adequate, and so they may enjoy meaningful, productive work. We must also afford them the time off to be with God and family, because freedom and leisure are fundamental and spiritual human needs. And we must include the workers in our success, for without them, our success would be much less.
As workers, we have an obligation to be productive and upright in our dealings, and we must be reasonably obedient, performing the tasks set for us. We should cooperate with our employers with respect and an aim for mutual success.
As private persons, we have a responsibility to care for our neighbors. This includes our parish community as well as those who may not belong to that community. We should give and volunteer at our parish, for in difficult times the need for help increases. And we should look after our neighbors, sharing with them what we can in their time of need. We must avoid waste and hoarding, and banish greed.
Whatever economic difficulties we face, we know they will end. And we know they will return again. This is a natural feature of economics, known as the business cycle. But no matter what the state of the economy may be, or our place within it, we are never excused from obedience to the greatest commandment: love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as you love yourself. Keep these commandments, and all will be well, no matter what happens on Wall Street.
Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
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