Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, says that a budget is a “country’s theology walking.” The federal budget is a moral document that shows what is important both in the near term and in the future as it plays out. Catholic social teaching tells us that the needs of people who are poor and vulnerable should claim the highest priority. A just budget should promote the common good by cutting all unnecessary military spending, restoring a fair tax structure and providing economic security for all people.
Our priorities must also take into consideration a world interconnected by new technologies of communication and by a global marketplace that blurs the boundaries of nations. While some have profited from the new global economy, many have fallen more deeply into poverty as the gap between rich and poor continues to widen.
Workers in the United States and other countries have become more vulnerable as corporations seek a cheaper workforce. Because of international trade policies, the conditions set by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund on developing countries, there has been a weakening of local communities. Many national governments are no longer able to protect the common good of their societies. World Trade Organization terms have led to U.S. job losses, lower wages, unsafe food, attacks on environmental and health laws and burgeoning international inequality. The global economy has also taken its toll on the environment as more resources are consumed and pollution becomes harder to regulate.