What's Wrong with This Picture?

July 19, 2011 @ 09:29 am by Jacqui Lewis

The Reverend John Janka, The Middle Project

We have now turned on our own children. Predatory lending lead to foreclosures of homes largely occupied by middle class families. These foreclosures have allowed banks that participated in these predatory lending practices to now hold title to millions of properties that stand vacant while the middle class families who once lived in them swim against the tide of personal financial collapse. These families are drowning and, with them, their children are caught in the undertow of "too big to fail." It is our children's lives and futures that are at stake. It is past time to say "enough!"

Across the country, schools are cutting funding for programs; teachers are under siege for low test scores, are threatened with loss of job security, and are being held responsible for a broken system. This pattern of hand-me-down blame from public leaders to regional school administrators to local superintendents and principals and finally to teachers and even parents is shameful and grossly irresponsible. We are allowing a fracture in the middle class, separating public employees from the rest of the herd as sacrificial lambs in this blame game. But it is the children who are paying in the end. Larger class size, fewer teachers, cancelled programs, and an across the board demoralization of the troops on the ground. Something we would never tolerate in our military.

While homeless shelters are at capacity and non-profits struggle to provide emergency services, our government toys with a shutdown. While states and municipalities fend off insolvency, our government refuses to discuss tax increases on the wealthiest among us, perpetrating the lie that this would further harm the economy. Among the wealthiest among us are the politicians who refuse to even discuss raising taxes.

While our elderly and about-to-be elderly of modest means can't get the medications they need because they can't afford them, some of our political leaders are ready to sell out on Medicare and Medicaid and some want to dismantle the healthcare guarantees we have now, limited though they be while they enjoy top of the line coverage. So, families are forced to choose between grandma and their own children when it comes to holding the family together and getting needs met.

Unemployment is ravaging families in this country while large corporations and banks that benefited from enormous bailouts are holding on to that money rather than investing in the country's future by creating jobs. We talk of patriotism in terms of preserving our national security, protecting our borders and sacrificing our young on the global stage. May we also speak of patriotism as the motivation to set aside political self interest in the cause of a just and equitable economic balance sheet that guarantees our children will have hope in their own future.

While those who helped precipitate this financial debacle continue to receive outrageous bonuses, and our leaders continue to court the special interests for the contributions they can make toward their next election, the rest of us are left to fend for ourselves against the one percent of the population that controls ninety-five percent of the country's wealth.

Our national budget should be a moral document, not the tortured and twisted assembly of compromises that ensure the powerful stay in power and the wealthy stay wealthy. It is time to question who really speaks for the common person in this country. Every four years we cycle through a charade of promises by politicians who want us to vote for them. Perhaps it is time to let our children vote. Children in their innocence can often see through a lie, have a keener vision of fairness, and settle their playground differences more quickly than those who make our laws. Take time to make a call today to President Obama's comment line; tell him you want what our children would want: a budget that protects the vulnerable in our country.


thanks for expressing the outrage we all feel. I am in the heat in Tennessee working with folk who stand up for children. We HAVE to do that!

Jacqui Lewis on July 20, 2011

What u say is so true. It is a world wide epidemic of the powerful stomping on the vulnerable in oh so many ways. Stop the wars! And fix the home base. Love ur site, the preaching, the love and joy u spread. A 'kiwi' watcher & world citizen. They have 'global economics', let us have 'Global justice' in Christ's name.

Rev. Janice Britten on July 22, 2011

And so what did the Obama administration do to help the people who were foreclosed on? It bailed out the banks. If it had not, the banks would have been forced to renegotiate bad loans at lower rates, enabling families to afford, and stay in their homes, rather than be forced out to the streets. Instead, the bailout enabled the banks to foreclose. Predatory lending was not the cause of the foreclosures, and the banking crisis. It was the Fairness in Lending Act that caused the foreclosures and banking crisis. Word of warning: be very wary when the government uses the word "fairness." The wise economist Henry Hazlitt wrote "Government-guaranteed home mortgages, especially when negligible or no down payment is required, inevitably mean more bad loans than otherwise. They force the general taxpayer to subsidize the bad risks and to defray the losses. They encourage people to "buy" houses that they cannot really afford. They tend eventually to bring about an oversupply of houses as compared with other things. They temporarily overstimulate building, raise the cost of building for everybody (including the buyers of the homes with the guaranteed mortgages), and may mislead the building industry into an eventually costly overexpansion. In brief, in the long run they do not increase overall national production but encourage malinvestment." A fairly dull and mundane observation, until you consider that he wrote that in 1946. I called the President's comment line today to tell him what my children want. As yet, he still hasn't heeded their request to resign.

donald green on August 14, 2011

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Preparing ethical leaders for a just society. Posts by Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister.

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