Charles Kenny at Businessweek has written an important essay that debunks Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan's and his fellow Republicans' notion that private charity, especially churches, need to bear the brunt of financing the care of the poor. Like Ryan's budget, the math doesn't add up. Private charity cannot supplant federal and state programs that create the safety net for the poor. It's that simple.
The facts are pretty clear, and Rana Foroohar of Time magazine does an excellent job of laying them out for us.
The recession ended some time ago, and real growth is now back. Even unemployment is down significantly. Job growth has been relatively strong. There has also been something of a real estate recovery.
New stats from the U.S. Census Bureau show that the American poverty rate declined for the first time since 2006 -- 14.5 percent of the total population, down from 15 percent in 2012 -- and that the number of American children living in poverty fell by 1.4 million.
Good news, right?
Well, not necessarily. The Census Bureau data also shows that the overall number of American poor didn't budge, and that income inequality hasn't improved.
Pope's quotes: Some of our favorite quotes from Pope Francis
"The reality is, today, millions of hardworking Americans are falling farther and farther behind," Oxfam America's president said. "For them, the American dream is a distant and fuzzy mirage."
On Interfaith Voices this week, with the struggle to raise the minimum wage back in the news, we reviewed the history of that labor struggle -- a history in which American Catholics played a pivotal role.
For me, the show was a bit like a walk down memory lane.
Congress continues to debate the issue of a brief three-month extension of benefits to the long-term unemployed. USA Today explores this issue in a recent editorial and concludes that it is important to extend unemployment benefits not just to assist those who are unemployed, but also to aid in the overall success of the economy.
The only redeeming quality of "The Wolf of Wall Street" is that it demonstrates what Catholic social teaching complains about.
Pope Francis is adding his voice to the chorus of papal statements fostering social justice.