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placeholder March 4, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 5   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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Life propaganda

When we deny the sacredness of each human life as made in the image and likeness of God, we will eventually support any evil. Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of and profiteer from abortion in the US. To understand this organization and help answer the above question, simply learn a little about its founder, Margaret Sanger, her philosophies concerning sexuality, the family and what she called "the weeds of society."

In his letter, Bob Schildgen (Forum, Feb. 18) writes: "In fact, the vast majority of pro-choice supporters favor the same human-rights and social-justice values preached by the Church herself."

Are we saying that most people who believe that a woman should have the legal right to murder her baby in the womb also believe that euthanasia, human cloning and embryonic stem cell research are wrong? That they agree with the Church that marriage is ordained by God to be between one man and one woman? That children need a mother and a father? That people should not be forced by the government to participate in and fund practices they believe are immoral?

Concerning "the difficult task of caring for disabled children," Walk for Life speakers were proclaiming that each child is a unique and beautiful gift from God. We don't have the right to say that some lives are not worth living and are better off dead! No one is forcing any parent to "bear such burdens." There are many couples who would love to give these little ones a home.

David Zarri
Concord





Let the bishops pay

"Catechism: Immigration is a right," by Walt Sears (Forum, Dec. 17) illustrates why the Catholic bishops are not only clueless on the immigration issue, but also totally incompetent on economic issues.

In the decade 2000-2010, the US population increased by 27.2 million — a number nearly equal to the population of California. Direct legal immigration accounted for 42 percent of this increase. Since immigrant families have more children than native Americans, the effect of immigration on population growth is even larger.

Some want not only US citizenship for the approximately 11 million people who are in the country illegally, they want greatly expanded legal immigration to accommodate the foreign relatives of the immigrants already here.

Mass immigration and the welfare state are incompatible — and the US is a welfare state. For tax year 2009 (the most recent year for which data are available), there were 141.5 million individual federal tax returns filed with the IRS. People with adjusted gross incomes of $100,000 or greater comprised just 12 percent of the returns but paid 72 percent of the federal income tax collected.

Sears would have us believe the US is wealthy and hence it is the duty of the US to support immigrants from all over the world. I suggest the US is virtually bankrupt, largely because of the welfare state. The national debt stands at $16.4 trillion and is increasing by almost $1 trillion annually. The real reason the Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates near zero is not to facilitate home buying but rather to keep interest payments on this debt manageable. Today, the blended interest rate on the government's borrowing is about 1.96 percent, so the annual interest on the $16.4 trillion in outstanding debt is about $320 billion. Eventually market mechanisms will force interest rates higher, regardless of what the Fed does.

Let's suppose interest rates on the government borrowing rise to the historical average of 5.5 percent, which is where they were in 2007. The annual interest on the $16.4 trillion of debt would be $902 billion. Let me put this in some perspective for you. This means just the interest on the national debt would consume 98 percent of all the income taxes paid by individuals in 2009.

Furthermore, if the repayment of this debt is distributed among income groups in the same way the current income tax burden is, each taxpayer with adjusted gross income over $100,000 would owe $680,000 as his/her share of the national debt.

Unfortunately, the actual liabilities of the federal government, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and future retirement benefits for federal employees now exceed $86 trillion. Chris Cox and Bill Archer recently penned a piece in The Wall Street Journal in which they show that when the accrued expenses of the government entitlement programs are counted, the government would have to collect $8 trillion in tax revenue annually just to avoid additional debt. There is no way the IRS can collect $8 trillion in tax revenue. In 2009 the total adjusted gross income of all taxpayers was only $7.8 trillion,

What the Obama administration is doing and the US bishops are supporting is not compassion. It is buying votes with money stolen from someone else — including our children.

If the US bishops are so concerned about the plight of illegal immigrants, I suggest they consider selling the new cathedral and using the proceeds to aid the immigrants instead of foisting the cost onto the taxpayer.

Donald F. Anthrop
Berkeley





Miracles can happen

Pam Brady, (Forum, Feb. 4) described a litany of social and moral ills found in our contemporary American culture. She rightly laments the steady replacement of faith in God with faith in government. As the scope of government expands, we are seeing it encroach not only on the private economy but on human rights and religious liberties.

Government serves an important role, but what happens when it becomes too big, inefficient and controlling? We reach a "tipping point" where freedoms are lost, incentives for work and innovation fade, and more people drop out of the middle class and into poverty. As living standards decline, social unrest and poverty tend to grow, which perversely incents further government expansion.

Have we reached that point? Consider: Total government spending and payments now exceed 40 percent of the entire economy. Of the total number of working-age Americans, only 47 percent have full-time jobs. Every American child is inheriting more than $50,000 of government debt.

Our economic situation is bad, but our level of "spiritual poverty" is far worse. Thirty percent of unborn babies are aborted, and more than 40 percent of those born today will suffer from the absence of a father at home. Fewer than 40 percent of Americans now say they attend weekly religious services.

Can these trends be reversed? We have 30 million American Catholics who still attend Mass regularly. If that number of people would unite in prayer and action with strong leadership, miracles can happen!

Mike McDermott
Concord

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Letters to the editor provide a forum for readers to engage in an open exchange of opinions and concerns in a climate of respect and civil discourse. The opinions expressed are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the Catholic Voice or the Diocese of Oakland. While a full spectrum of opinions will sometimes include those which dissent from Church teaching or contradict the natural moral law, it is hoped that this forum will help our readers to understand better others’ thinking on critical issues facing the Church at this time.

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