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No more government shutdowns: raise revenue

Wed, Nov 13, 2013

one logoCongress managed to reopen the government and avoid a default, but we know that the deal signed into law early on October 17 does not create real solutions for our communities. We were proud to stand with 10 other clergy members from Chicago’s North Side and over a dozen seniors from Jane Addams Senior Caucus the morning of October 17 to declare that the only way to break this cycle of governing from crisis to crisis is by raising revenue.

As leaders in the faith community we feel the anguish of those who have been “forgotten” and those who are being “trampled on,” as the Psalmist lamented. We demand an end to shutdowns, sequesters, and brutal cuts to services: it’s time to fund America, not break it.

Today’s “forgotten” people are our elders, women, children, people of color and low-income individuals. During the shutdown, we saw seniors’ financial stability and health care access for millions of Americans being pitted against the heath and well-being of new-born infants and their mothers. Some members of Congress tried to get concessions on Social Security and the Affordable Care Act, in exchange for a bill to fund the government, including critical programs like WIC. This was immoral!

As clergy affiliated with ONE Northside, and thereby national organizations like National People’s Action and Center for Community Change, we are proud to be working on campaigns to pass a financial transactions tax on Wall Street and close corporate tax loopholes in order to raise hundreds of billions of dollars at the federal level. We are proud to be working with legislators to enhance and improve Social Security, rather than cut it.

The continued onslaught of manufactured crises is a moral tragedy created by a few ideologues in Congress, and their corporate funders.

We must reframe the debate that says moms on WIC are “takers,” as are our elders who have worked hard their entire lives and count on Social Security and Medicare to support them in their retirement. Instead, we must expose those corporate executives who leverage huge tax breaks for their companies and who pay their workers poverty wages that require them to rely on government programs like Medicaid and food stamps, while the executives are paid tens of millions of dollars a year in stock-options as the true takers in our society.

Together we can stop the sequester cuts, restore federal funding for working and middle class families, and desist from playing games with the full faith and credit of our nation’s fiscal health. How we care for those who are most vulnerable among us says volumes about who we are as a nation. The time is now to ask Wall Street, corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share.

Organizing Neighborhoods for Equality: Northside is a mixed-income, multi-ethnic, intergenerational organization that unites our diverse communities. ONE Northside organizes people from over 100 institutions, as well as individual community residents, from Rogers Park, Edgewater, Uptown, Ravenswood, North Center, Lake View, and Lincoln Park. We build collective power to eliminate injustice through bold and innovative community organizing. We accomplish this through developing grassroots leaders and acting together to effect change.

By Pastor Fred Kinsey of Unity Lutheran Church, Rev. Jean Siegfried Darling of The Peoples Church of Chicago and Father Dominic J. Grassi, Pastor of St. Gertrude Roman Catholic Church
StreetWise Contributors

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