For information about the Moral Budget see full text of below, or visit Mass Peace Action here
To whom do you belong? We could take this whole Lent to ask this question deeper. Unpacking the layers of our overlapping identities, going from our sociological and political personal to our anthropological human, the way we relate to one another and collaborate--this too involves the practical dimension, our moral documents, such as our taxes. We can talk of reparations, when we get into our deep down belonging. We can talk about seven generations, and belonging to those putting themselves on the front lines to prevent pipeline expansion. We can believe what we read in the Holy Book about our neighbor and our responsibility to lift up the stranger.
We of Witness Against Torture belong to global citizenry, and by our commitment to shut down Guantanamo to end the desecration of human rights for which it stands, we inherently uphold the moral consensus of this fragile Republic--
(Aside: fragile is the justice department, Oh Merrick Garland, as incoming Attorney General, your deputy Lisa Monaco and Associate Vanita Gupta, CEO of Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, will have the job of bringing to order a system leaving broken lives, restoring justice to the wrongfully convicted, men like Anthony Hinton, released from death row after 30 years. Republic--whatever the national idea--co-opted by Neoliberals, jargon really to be described as Neanderthal thinking. As I keep my eyes on the prize, I celebrate with Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben and 10 years of dedicated student activists, because of Rutgers University Fossil Fuel Divestment Plan. Perhaps instead of investing in and profiteering from prisons, the military-industrial complex, we can get back to what communities do as sources of belonging, and get to the business of mental wellness, a $121 billion share of 4.5 trillion Global wellness market according to the Global Wellness Institute November 202 report On Defining A Mental Health Economy..)
Who would you invite to a rally on the national Tax Day? On the spectrum of unknown to known, my first two suggestions:
Mass Peace Action here
SD 2247/HD 2617 An Act to Establish a Commission to Report on the Moral Budget to Revive, Repair, and Rebuild America
Therefore, be it resolved that the Members of the Massachusetts Legislature call upon the
14 MA members of the U.S. Congressional Delegation and the President to support the Moral
15 Budget for America (developed by the Poor People’s Campaign and the Institute for Policy
16 Studies) to revive, repair and renew our national and state economies.
17 Education: The Moral Budget invests $24.4 billion per year in K-12 schools and teachers
18 to boost academic performance among poor and struggling children. This would bring $480
19 million to Massachusetts for public education, sufficient to hire more than 6,000 well trained
20 teachers. This would significantly contribute to the $2 billion needed to fully fund the State
21 Fund Our Future Education initiative.
22 The Moral Budget also invests about $70 billion per year for the federal and state shares
23 of providing four years of free public college. This would bring about $1.4 billion into
24 Massachusetts, and lift up the prospects of completing their education for the 260,000 students in
25 the public colleges and universities.
26 Housing: The Moral budget provides $44 billion per year in investments in a housing
27 trust fund to build, maintain, and preserve affordable rental homes. The sums coming to
28 Massachusetts cold be used to end Homelessness in the Commonwealth.
29 Healthcare: Whereas the largest expenditure in the Massachusetts budget is for
30 healthcare, and 379,000 people are still uninsured, the Moral Budget contributes funding for
31 States to transition to lower cost single payer health care;
32 Family Services: As an immediate measure, The Moral Budget restores $8.9 billion for
33 Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to previous funding levels, to provide a
34 modicum of relief to poor families who deserve a fully functional safety net. TANF has not been
35 adjusted for inflation since the Clinton administration. The restored budget would bring
36 $180,000,000 to poor families in Mass.
37 Veterans Services: Whereas some 20% of veterans in Massachusetts are living on less
38 than $35,000 a year and one in five are living in poverty, the Moral Budget eliminates veteran’s
39 homelessness, expands access to mental health care and expands job training for veterans;
40 Transportation: The Moral Budget increases in federal transportation spending would
41 bring about $1.2 billion/year for Massachusetts. This would enable re-establishing train service
42 for “South Coast Rail” to New Bedford and Fall River; begin design for the North Station -
43 South Station Connector, which would unify the nearly entire east coast rail while also fixing
44 many confusing commutes; extending the Blue Line to Lynn; and expanding Regional Bus
45 Service for Central and Western MA.
46 Right to Vote and Mass Incarceration: Whereas almost 3,000 black adults in
47 Massachusetts cannot vote due to felony voting restrictions, the Moral Budget increases funding
48 for voter protection and legal assistance programs and funds public financing of campaigns.
49 Clean Water: By Investing $37.2 billion a year in water infrastructure, the Moral Budget
50 would create up to 945,000 jobs while providing safe drinking water to thousands of
51 communities that don’t have it. Some 18,000 of these jobs would be provided to Massachusetts
52 residents, enabling upgrades in water systems of cities and towns throughout the 53 Commonwealth.
54 Climate Protection: Given that in Massachusetts 10,450 tons of NOx are emitted yearly, a
55 leading cause of respiratory problems, the Moral Budget invests $200 billion in transitioning to
56 clean renewable energy, crumbling roads, bridges, and a Green New Deal to build a fully
57 modernized electric grid and create about 50,000 high-quality jobs in Massachusetts.
58 Fair Wages: A $15 federal minimum wage enacted immediately would raise pay for 49
59 million workers nationally by a combined $328 billion per year. This would benefit about a
60 million Massachusetts workers, raising their purchasing power by $600 million.
61 Peace and Security: Hundreds of Massachusetts residents have been wounded or lost their
62 lives fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond since 2001. Pursuing these military adventures
63 have diverted funds from sectors that will make us more resilient and safer such as healthcare,
64 education, the transition to renewable energy, and increased protection of vital natural resources
65 in The Moral Budget saves as much as $350 billion per year in the federal budget by cutting
66 current Pentagon spending for fighting endless wars, maintaining a worldwide network of 800
67 military bases, stoking dangerous arms races, and subsidizing for-profit corporate contractors,
68 leaving a military budget that would still be larger than that of China, Russia, and Iran combined.
69 These savings would finance many of the investments listed above.
Poor People's Moral Budget <https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/resource/poor-peoples-moral-budget/> accessed 10 March 2021.
Bret Wilkins, "A Big, Big Deal" Climate Activist's Applaud Rutgers University's Fossil Fuel Divestment Plan" 9 March 2021 <https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/03/09/big-big-deal-climate-activists-applaud-rutgers-universitys-fossil-fuel-divestment.>.
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