Human costs of a broken economy

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Labor Day Statement.

When we look at the situation of unemployed people and many ordinary workers, we see not only individuals in economic crisis, but also struggling families and hurting communities. We see a society that cannot use the talents and energies of all those who can and should work. We see a nation that cannot assure people who work hard every day that their wages and benefits can support a family in dignity. We see a workplace where many have little participation, ownership, or a sense they are contributing to a common enterprise or the common good. An economy that cannot provide employment, decent wages and benefits, and a sense of participation and ownership for its workers is broken in fundamental ways. The signs of this broken economy are all around us:

▪                About 14 million workers are unemployed. We see the stories and pictures of hundreds, even thousands lining up for the chance to simply apply for work. There are currently more than four jobless workers for every job opening. Many more have given up looking for employment.

▪                There are increasing numbers of children (more than 15 million) and families living in poverty. This does not mean they lack the newest video game, it means they lack the resources to provide the basics of food, shelter, clothing and other necessities.

▪                Educated young workers graduate with substantial debt and few or no job prospects. Millions more, without college or specialized training, are pushed to the margins of economic life. Almost half of the unemployed have been jobless for over six months, and many have given up hope of finding new work.

▪                Our nation faces unsustainable deficits and growing debt that will burden our children for decades to come.

▪                Gaps in wealth and income are growing between the relatively affluent few and the many who are struggling.

Economic growth is so slow that our nation is not recovering from the economic crisis, and owners and workers have difficulty finding and responding to future opportunities.

Read the entire letter here.

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