Are you one of many people everywhere whose family is facing greater financial burdens and barriers than ever before? Have you ever stayed awake at night wondering how you were going to pay the mortgage and credit card bills? Have you ever been laid off, or had your job replaced by the latest technology?
Do you have children in college who are facing tens of thousands of dollars in student debt when they graduate? Can you even afford to send them to college? Do you see opportunity and power flowing to only a few and not to everybody?
You’re not alone. Polls and surveys tell us this is the first generation in American history that expects to be worse off than its parents — and this belief is worse in other countries.
Everybody is sliding further and further into debt. Our future seems less and less secure, and we are feeling more and more powerless to do anything to reverse this dangerous course.
And that’s why we’re coming to you with this campaign we call, “Five for the Family.” We know there are fair, common sense, and proven ideas that can help change present conditions. Alone, however, we are helpless. Together we can bring about significant and lasting change.
It starts by educating ourselves and by delivering to world leaders a real message of hope: There is a positive solution for rebuilding our dysfunctional economy, a solution that can lift up the 99% of us, without pulling down the 1%.
What’s the Problem?
Nearly two hundred years ago American statesman Daniel Webster reminded us “power naturally and necessarily follows property.” If you don’t own capital, you have no power over your own life and liberty.
The problem isn’t greedy and corrupt people. They’re only doing what the system allows them to do. The problem is in the system itself. Because of barriers in the money, credit, and tax systems of the global economy, capital ownership keeps getting more and more concentrated in fewer and fewer hands — did you know that the 67 richest people in the world own more than the bottom 3,500,000,000 people?
What that also means is that most families today own no capital, whether land or machines. Most people owe more than they own. Income (when families have income) comes from wages and welfare. That means most families have no independent way to sustain themselves . . . and no power. Most families are controlled either by a small group of people who own capital, or a government that decides who gets welfare and how much.
What’s Our Solution?
Most people don’t realize that the people who are rich today got to be rich not by saving, but by knowing how to create money to buy capital that pays for itself out of its own earnings in the future. They don’t use “other people’s money,” they create their own — and the whole financial system and tax system is set up to help them do it.
Well, if it can help the rich get richer, why can’t the system help the rest of us get a decent income? That’s why we want to reorganize our monetary and tax systems to give ordinary people like you and me the same opportunity the rich have.
We want to make it possible for ordinary people and families to participate in money creation that can be used to buy new capital that will pay for itself out of its own future profits, and after that produce income for family needs. We also want a tax system that makes it easy for ordinary people and families to own capital instead of just the rich.
The First Step — What this Campaign is All About
Now, while we’re a small (but growing) interfaith alliance of organizations and individuals seeking social justice, we think that the key person to get to is Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church and a widely respected moral leader. He’s open-minded and he isn’t afraid of shaking things up to do what’s right. He can spread a message of hope where it’s most needed and will do the most good. And he’s going to be in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the World Meeting of Families this September.
We’ve reserved a booth at the event, and we plan on hosting a symposium on “Economic Justice for the Family” to present some fresh and unifying ideas and message of hope for all families. (Ideally, of course, we’d like to catch Pope Francis’s eye and talk to him.)
What we really expect, however, is to get other people at the World Meeting of Families to listen to what we have to say. Perhaps some of these people know people who could get our spokespersons to Pope Francis. And we know this is possible, because we’ve done it! One of the groups involved in our “Five for the Family” campaign, the Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ) , met twice with Pope John Paul II, and gave a seminar on CESJ’s “Just Third Way” at the Vatican for heads of religious orders.
Sending a high-level delegation and putting on a symposium takes resources. That’s why we’re looking for 10,000 people to contribute at least $5 each to our crowdfunding campaign. The rest we hope to raise from foundations and wealthy individuals who want to make a better future for all of us. And if you can’t contribute $5, don’t worry. Share and Like our campaign: the more people know about it, the more likely we are to reach our goal, and even surpass it.
So, what is our message of hope? That all of us together can lift up the 99% without pulling down the 1%.
We know a way that every child, woman, and man in every family in the world can own enough capital to add to and, in some cases, replace wage income, and reduce welfare to what is needed to help the truly unfortunate. And this can be done without taking anything away from people who already own capital!
The details are complicated, but the basic idea is this: we want to make sure that every family has the opportunity and means to buy capital that will pay for itself out of its own earnings in the future, and after it pays for itself, provide income for the family. Nor is this “pie in the sky”: the exact same thing has been done by corporations for over half a century, turning millions — yes, millions — of workers into owners without reducing take-home pay or requiring them to save first to buy shares. (If you want the details about how this “Just Third Way” and “Capital Homesteading” can rebuild the economy, visit the CESJ website.)
This will also create countless jobs. As people have more money to spend without going into debt, other people will provide the goods and services the people with money want to buy — and the people who provide goods and services will need to hire other people to help produce those goods and services.
The result? Families will once again be in control of their own lives and livelihoods. Governments won’t have to try and take care of everybody. They will only make sure that everyone obeys the law and that everyone has equal opportunity and access to the means to become an owner of capital and employ his or her labor.
What More Can We Do? Join with us to harness the power of social media and the Internet to get our message to Pope Francis, or help our interfaith delegation deliver our message at the World Meeting of Families to people who can get us to people who can help us get our message to Pope Francis! Here are five easy things you can do:
· Donate at least five dollars,
· “Like” (and even better) “Share” this page on FaceBook, asking others to do the same,
· Send one tweet a week over the next five weeks about the campaign,
· E-mail at least five friends or family members to donate, Like, and Share, and
· Spend at least five minutes visiting http://www.cesj.org to learn more about the specific ideas and practical applications of economic justice promoted in the campaign to reach Pope Francis.
Our crowdfunding campaign goal is to raise at least $50,000 and gather at least 10,000 Likes and Shares. This money will cover travel costs of our delegation, publications, and a symposium on “Economic Justice for the Family” that we plan to hold at the World Meeting of Families.
Some Possibly Useful Accounting and Tax Information. Approximately 8% of every dollar goes to our crowdfunding server (they provide a valuable service and should be paid), and we have budgeted up to 10% for overhead, admin, and logistical support for the organizations that are letting us use their facilities and equipment (and their 501(c)(3) status). Any funds received in excess of what we need to present our message at the World Meeting of Families will be applied to the next phase of our overall Campaign for Economic Justice — we’re in this for the long haul. If there is anything left from that, it will be applied to an effort to educate people about basic principles of justice.
Thank you! And to find out more about our “Five for the Family” campaign and what you, your family, friends, and neighbors can do, please visit our FaceBook page. Then visit www.cesj.org.
Learn how we can lift up those who are sinking, without pulling down those who are rising.
Learn how we can turn have-nots into haves, without turning haves into have-nots.
Thank you, and come back and visit us often to keep up-to-date on our progress! We’ll also try to send out periodic short e-newsletters to let you know what’s happening.