It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, in the form of early presents from Washington to some beleaguered American companies. The news this week that the big three domestic automakers will get $15 billion in emergency loan guarantees to stave off bankruptcy follows an autumn of similar steps.
Loan guarantees, lines of credit, stock purchases and other instruments designed to save companies such as Bear Stearns, AIG, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac and Citigroup totaled some $425 billion in obligations assumed by the federal government. This comes on top of the $700 billion set aside for a program to buy up the troubled mortgage-backed securities that form the sandy ground of the nation’s wobbly financial edifice. Discussion has since turned to assisting homeowners in danger of foreclosure by tapping the latter fund.
So far more than a trillion federal dollars have been committed to restoring America’s financial health. And the incoming Obama administration has begun to float plans for an economic stimulus package that would create jobs and other programs toward the same goal.
It remains too early to tell what ultimate effect these and perhaps new programs will have. Everyone hopes the leaders in Washington pull the right levers to restore prosperity for all Americans, in every economic class.
Those leaders should heed the Church’s social teaching on the principal of subsidiarity. The concept, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, states that “a community of a higher order should not assume the task belonging to a community of a lower order and deprive it of its authority. It should rather support it in case of need.”
In the current context, Washington should continue to support federal-state partnerships concerning job creation, medical assistance and social service programs for the neediest people – on the state level. The National Governors Association, meeting with President-elect Obama last week in Philadelphia, stressed this very point.
Operating from subsidiarity, the federal government can assure that the common resources of the American people are used with maximum flexibility and effectiveness, for the good of Americans living on the proverbial Main Street. As Washington addresses economic situations that exceed the reach of inspanidual states, so the states too must give responsibility for allocating resources to county and municipal authorities.
Action in a time of distress is not only required of government, but also of inspaniduals working through charities. The Bless the Baby Jesus Advent Prayer Service held last Sunday at the Cathedral was a creative way to donate toward the good work of archdiocesan Catholic Social Services. Other ways include parish outreach efforts, Catholic Charities and the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
While inspanidual acts of kindness don’t carry the cache of billion dollar bailouts, they can help needy people in our own backyard today – hopefully, before they need rescue.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103