Framing the Discussion on the Eleventh

I don’t feel entirely at ease about the way Harry and I have discussed the need for the eleventh worker. On the other hand, I feel far from daunted in pursuing this tack. The simple truth is that employment is one of the major issues facing Americans. What’s more, they tend to place it above other political footballs like immigration, the deficit, wars abroad, and even moral issues like Gitmo, abortion, and euthanasia.

I might agree with some commentators that life-and-death issues are more grave in that they affect the life and death of millions. But employment is enough of a significant issue that it demands our attention.

The simple math and more complex moral situation behind it suggests that for every ten American workers, at least one more person needs to be hired to bridge most of the gap toward full employment in this country. Who will hire that individual? Big corporations? Local businesses? Start-up companies? Well-to-do business leaders? They should all be considering it. After every good financial report, the question needs to be asked: can we hire someone and expand or fine-tune our operations?

Count me a doubter on the notion of dualism: that the Church has a realm on which it can rightly pontificate: sex, drugs, rock-n-roll. But that the secular arena of business is some sort of natural Darwinian arena in which the fittest survive, and poor economic practices are weeded out like the genetic mutation of black fur in the arctic or sharks without teeth and the Church should keep quiet.

While I would welcome a sensible bishop’s voice to this discussion, the lack of episcopal interest in the concerns of the laity is not a dealbreaker. For today, I’ll close with a reference to the CCC on the responsibility of business leaders:

Those responsible for business enterprises are responsible to society for the economic and ecological effects of their operations. They have an obligation to consider the good of persons and not only the increase of profits.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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