Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Common Good

Yesterday a coalition was at the State House in Columbus, Ohio, seeking to strengthen the common good of our society. I have yet to learn the outcome.

Ohio Catholic Leaders Support Minimum Wage Ballot Measure
Call for Public Policy Based on Justice, Human Dignity, and the Common Good

August 7, 2006

A coalition of Ohio workers, unions, and religious and community groups will present at the State House tomorrow enough signatures to place on the November ballot an initiative increasing the state's minimum wage. In line with Church teachings that a fair day's work deserves a fair day's pay, and that alleviating poverty should be a top moral priority of any society, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good is joining the chorus of support for this important measure.

"Catholic Social Teaching values work as a reflection of human dignity, and. . . more

The frequently scheduled ABC-Evening-News-investigative report, "It's Your Money," is not strictly about one's personal resources; often it reports on how corporations and governments (sometimes both together) squander resources that come from individuals. Often "It's Your Money" has more to do with the common good than a tight-fisted, closed-hand attitude toward personal wealth.

The Catholic social tradition relies on the principle of distributive justice in this regard. In practice distributive justice considers what a society or any large group owes (read, ought to distribute to) its individual members.

This distribution is in proportion to three things: first, what each individual needs and can contribute in a responsible fashion; second, the resources a society or any large group has available to the society (hard cash is only one example; health care, food and security are three more); and third, the society’s or organization’s responsibility to the common good.

Citizens have the responsibility to elect leaders who can develop and implement strategies for the good of all. That's why voting is a moral duty. Yet political leaders cannot do everything alone. In fact, we know too well that sometimes left to their own political leaders harm the common good.

That is why initiatives on a ballot are as important as the names of people. Sometimes what guarantees that leaders heed the common wisdom of the public is an initiative open to all voters--not only their elected leaders.

Whenever the President appealed to increased numbers of people in new jobs and concluded the economy was on the rebound, he lumped all jobs. Not all jobs are long lasting and provide security. For example, jobs in food-service were part of those numbers. Job-turnover in food-service is very high, not least because of the meager wages those jobs offer.

Increasing the minimum wage will not end poverty for everyone living in poverty. In Ohio this measure, as presented to the State House, will offer additional financial stability to an estimated 719,000 of this State's working poor. That distributes more security and more justice, and will allow that many more citizens to better themselves and, thereby, the common good. A just and compelling reason to vote for it.

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