Over 60 Catholics leaders, including two former presidents of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the presidents of the AFL-CIO and SEIU, have signed a letter that calls for the creation of a more family-friendly economy. The letter says:
The essential role that families play is being threatened by the economic pressure and insecurity faced by countless families. Stagnant wages and diminished social mobility, combined with cuts to essential government programs, threaten the most vulnerable families. This economic exclusion too often is matched by social exclusion and a culture of indifference.
We can do better. And Catholics should be leading the way.
A culture that respects the family ensures that children have access to genuine opportunity and all of their basic needs, from healthcare to a safe home to a good education. One of the serious economic stresses families face is the skyrocketing cost of childcare. In dozens of states, the cost of childcare now exceeds the cost of attending a public university. Safe, reliable, affordable childcare is integral to achieving stronger families in the 21st century.
As a society, we must ensure that the policies in the workplace make families stronger rather than tearing them apart. Catholic social teaching has thus endorsed a living wage, so that workers can provide for their families. No one who works full-time should live in poverty. An increase in the minimum wage and other measures to guarantee adequate income will go a long way to alleviating the great pressure many families face. Paid family and medical leave is another essential step to strengthening the family. The United States is one of just two nations that do not have any paid maternity leave. This is not how a just society welcomes children into the world. Earned sick time is one more step towards workplaces that respect human dignity and the rights of the person.
The full letter and list of signatories can be read here.