October 24, 2014

Letters to the Editor

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Take responsibility as faithful citizens seriously, oppose intrinsic evils

Ever since the Affordable Care Act was passed more than four years ago, pro-life members of Congress and many others have tried to warn us that funding for abortion will be greatly expanded due to the law.

Their warnings were confirmed recently when the Government Accountability Office released a report indicating that more than 1,000 health care plans offered under Obamacare contain funding for abortion.

In addition, everyone enrolled in such plans is required to pay into a special fund to be used exclusively for abortion, regardless of their religious objections.

In response, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a statement confirming the abortion-related abuses.(The statement can be found on the USCCB’s website, www.usccb.org).

To combat this issue, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed numerous bills that would remove taxpayer funding for abortion from the health care law.

However, the Senate has never voted on any such legislation. In the meantime, federal funding for abortion on demand continues.

With the election approaching on Nov. 4, what can we do to stop this?

First, find health care coverage that doesn’t fund abortion. Consider enrolling in a pro-life, cost-sharing plan.

Next, contact your representatives in Congress and urge them to support legislation that will permanently remove abortion funding from health care.

Finally, and most important, it is imperative that we vote for pro-life candidates. The Catholic voter guide, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” available on the USCCB website, is a good resource.

As the bishops have reminded us, it is our responsibility as faithful Catholic citizens to vote for candidates who oppose actions which are intrinsically evil.

If we fail to resist when the government forces us to pay for other people’s abortions, are we truly faithful?

- Julia Oelker | Indianapolis

When it comes to wages, is government intervention really the right answer?

In his Oct. 3 opinion column in The Criterion, Stephen Kent makes an impassioned argument for raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. He claims that this is the moral thing to do, and argues that it would only cut into corporate profits and that consumers would have to pay a little more for fast food.

From this very simplistic perspective, who among us would not be in favor of people in low-paying jobs making more money?

However, as in most “solutions” that depend upon government intervention, there is far more to it if we look further.

The Congressional Budget Office—a non-partisan group—estimated that more than 500,000 jobs would be lost if the federally mandated minimum wage were raised to $10.10 per hour. One can only imagine how many would be lost if it were almost 50 percent higher than that.

Large corporations may be able to adapt to a modest increase in the minimum wage by raising prices and cutting other benefits to employees. Many small “mom-and-pop” businesses who currently employ millions of Americans and form the backbone of our economy would not survive and lead to job loss for the employees and the employers.

A higher minimum wage leads to greater automation of jobs and the attraction of overqualified individuals to those jobs. Both of these actually displace the lesser qualified people who depend upon those jobs.

Simple economics would predict that higher prices would lead to less spending on goods and services. Fewer employed people and less spending would lead to a lower tax base that would be called upon to support a greater number of individuals dependent on government assistance.

A more sustainable solution that many economists have suggested is to make a change to the earned income tax credit, which was specifically put into place to help those who are struggling with low wages. This seems like a far better approach than artificially dictating wages that are more naturally set by supply and demand.

It is very dangerous for us to look to the government to make things “right” by intervening in the free market and dictating what is “moral.” Our government has a very bad track record in both of these areas.

- Dr. Stephen O’Neil | Indianapolis

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