Welfare - A Commitment to Ending Poverty
An unjust society is an unsustainable society. When communities are stressed by poverty, violence and despair, our ability to meet the challenges of the post industrial age are critically impaired.
A holistic, future-focused perspective on how we distribute resources in this country would consider the effects of such distribution not just on our present needs, but on the seventh generation to come.
It is time for a radical shift in our attitude toward support for families, children, the poor and the disabled. Such support must not be given grudgingly; it is the right of those presently in need and an investment in our future. We must take an uncompromising position that the care and nurture of children, elders and the disabled are essential to a healthy, peaceful, and sustainable society.
We should recognize that the work of their caregivers is of social and economic value, and reward it accordingly. Ensuring that children and their caregivers have access to an adequate, secure standard of living should form the cornerstone of our economic priorities. Only then can we hope to build our future on a foundation of healthy, educated children who are raised in an atmosphere of love and security.
All people have a right to food, housing, medical care, jobs that pay a living wage, education, and support in times of hardship.
Work performed outside the monetary system has inherent social and economic value, and is essential to a healthy, sustainable economy and peaceful communities. Such work includes: child and elder care; homemaking; voluntary community service; continuing education; participating in government; and the arts.
We call for restoration of a federally funded entitlement program to support children, families, the unemployed, elderly and disabled, with no time limit on benefits.
This program should be funded through the existing welfare budget, reductions in military spending and corporate subsidies, and a fair, progressive income tax.
We should call for a graduated supplemental income, or negative income tax, that would maintain all individual adult incomes above the poverty level, regardless of employment or marital status.
We should advocate reinvesting a significant portion of the military budget into family support, living-wage job development, and work training programs. Publicly funded work training and education programs should have a goal of increasing employment options at finding living-wage jobs.
We must support public funding for the development of living-wage jobs in community and environmental service. For example, environmental clean-up, recycling, sustainable agriculture and food production, sustainable forest management, repair and maintenance of public facilities, neighborhood-based public safety, aides in schools, libraries and childcare centers, and construction and renovation of energy-efficient housing.
We oppose enterprise zone giveaways, which benefit corporations more than inner-city communities.
The accumulation of individual wealth in the U.S. has reached grossly unbalanced proportions. It is clear that we cannot rely on the rich to regulate their profit-making excesses for the good of society through "trickle-down economics." We must take aggressive steps to restore a fair distribution of income. We support tax incentives for businesses that apply fair employee wage distribution standards, and income tax policies that restrict the accumulation of excessive individual wealth.
Forcing welfare recipients to accept jobs that pay wages below a living wage drives wages down and exploits workers for private profit at public expense. We reject workfare as being a form of indentured servitude.
Corporations receiving public subsidies must provide jobs that pay a living wage, observe basic workers' rights, and agree to affirmative action policies.