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Press Release: NETWORK Responds to President Obama’s Speech on Income Inequality and Shrinking Economic Mobility

FOR RELEASE: December 4, 2013
CONTACT: Stephanie Niedringhaus, 202-347-9797 x224,  sniedringhaus@networklobby.org

Washington DC: NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, today issued the following statement:

NETWORK applauds President Obama’s powerful speech earlier today about our country’s rising income gap and shrinking economic mobility. He stated that inequality and lack of opportunity are “dangerous” for our nation, and that addressing these issues is "the defining challenge of our time." We agree.

Sister Simone Campbell, NETWORK’s executive director, commented: “Extreme wealth inequality undermines our nation’s health and morale, our communities, and even democracy itself. In short, it tears at the very fabric of who we are. We applaud courageous elected officials willing to address this crisis, and that of shrinking opportunities. We thank President Obama for his speech today, which clearly identified a number of issues needing urgent attention while offering concrete ways to address them.”

It is particularly moving that the president’s remarks came less than a week after Pope Francis told the world that the “dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies.” This reminder reinforced what NETWORK has consistently maintained – that economic policies and federal budget decisions measure the moral priorities of our nation. Decisions harming the common good are immoral and counter to the values of our nation.

We agree with the president that we should focus on growing our economy by strengthening our workforce through fair wages, education and other means. We also agree that we must fully support programs that help workers who have been hard-hit by the recent economic downturn, including those who are long-term unemployed. Another priority should be fair tax policies that close loopholes meant to enrich the already wealthy and powerful. NETWORK has long called for reasonable revenues for responsible programs serving the common good.

Lower poverty rates, access for all to healthcare, immigration reform, and an end to sequester cuts that decimate human needs programs are other legislative priorities that directly impact the wellbeing of the 100%.

We again thank the president for his powerful speech and call on all our elected officials to immediately turn their attention to prioritizing economic justice in our nation.

Information about our work on inequality and tax policies can be found at http://network-education.org/

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