A few days ago I published an article explaining why Catholics and others of good will have a moral obligation to vote for Mitt Romney. The crux of my argument centered around the non-negotiable moral issues that are in play in this election as they never have been before.
I enjoyed the healthy give and take resulting from that last article.
That article dealt with moral imperatives. Now I would like to write about an issue of prudential judgment. However, I believe the argument in favor of Romney in this case is just as clear, if not as imperative. If you care seriously about living authentic Catholic social teaching and social justice in the United States of America then you must vote for Mitt Romney.
Romney is a distributist. That is, he believes in a distributed economy wherein the primary economic engine is small business – an economy of multitudes of independent businesses whose capital is provided by innumerable individuals and whose laborers are not separated from investors by multiple layers of bureaucracy. Business owners are close to their workers, close to their business partners and close to their customers. This creates an economy of relationship, an economy in which the providers of capital and the providers of labor work together and share equitably the rewards of the production that results from their collaboration. This is an economy whose participants understand that they best serve each other and the best serve their own interests by cooperating with each other. This is an economy living solidarity. This is the sort of economy that made America great and it is the sort of economy to which Mitt Romney wants to return.
Let me bring to your attention several quotes from Mitt Romney of comments made during the presidential debate on Tuesday, October 16 (emphasis added):
“Fifty-four percent of America’s workers work in businesses that are taxed as individuals. So when you bring those rates down, those small businesses are able to keep more money and hire more people.”
“My five-point plan does it: energy independence for North America in five years; opening up more trade, particularly in Latin America, cracking down on China when they cheat; getting us to a balanced budget; fixing our training programs for our workers; and finally, championing small business. I want to help small businesses grow and thrive. I know how to make that happen. I spent my life in the private sector. I know why jobs come and why they go.”
And in response to a request to point out how his positions differ from those of President Bush…
“And then let’s take the last one, championing small business. Our party has been focused on big business too long. I came through small business. I understand how hard it is to start a small business. That’s why everything I’ll do is designed to help small businesses grow and add jobs. I want to keep their taxes down on small business. I want regulators to see their job as encouraging small enterprise, not crushing it.
And the thing I find most troubling about “Obamacare” – well, it’s a long list, but one of the things I find most troubling is that when you go out and talk to small businesses and ask them what they think about it, they tell you it keeps them from hiring more people.
My priority is jobs. I know how to make that happen. And President Bush had a very different path for a very different time. My path is designed in getting small businesses to grow and hire people.”
Our current president has an abysmal record when it comes to the economy and small business. One of the reasons for this is his failure to understand and support small business. He believes government creates jobys. He is wrong and his policies have stymied growth in small business, have discouraged individuals from investing in small business and have set up road blocks to individuals who want to embark on their own small business ventures.
By getting government out of the way, Romney will turn small business loose. This will lead to more jobs, less poverty, greater freedom and a renewed sense of responsibility among private citizens. Consequently we will see a flowering of authentic social justice, a social justice focused on bettering the condition of all rather than what we see as the focus of the current administration, a promotion of strife between social and economic classes policies directed a pulling some groups down in order to “level the playing field.” The fruits of authentic social justice are solidarity and communio. We certainly are not seeing these fruits now.