Fair financial freedom

Published 4:33 pm Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Money might not be the root of all evil, but the lack of it, otherwise known as poverty, sure is the cause of many of the world’s problems.

According to the Census, the South has the highest poverty rate of any region in the country at 16 percent.

Although Shelby County has the lowest rate in Alabama, that still leaves almost 10 percent of the children in the county languishing in its consequences.

When most of us think about helping the poor, giving to charity and volunteering come to mind.

While giving someone in need a meal or a temporary place is wonderful, these well-intentioned activities don’t affect the fundamental problems at the root of poverty in our society.

The soul-searching that the nation is engaged in as the result of the current financial down-turn provides a unique opportunity to achieve greater economic justice by creating a financial system that works for all of us.

The reason we live in communities, nations, and other social groups is to make sure that our basic needs such as safety, food and shelter are provided for.

We are social animals, so we need to realize that the wellbeing of our neighbors is inexorably related to our own, whether they be next-door neighbors or our “neighbors” across town or across the country.

If you agree with this idea of interdependence, there are things that each of us can do to help make sure that being poor is not a life sentence of constant need and unmet potential.

They include supporting measures to create a fair system of taxation, to provide health care that everyone has access to, and making sure that all students receive an excellent education.

Systematic changes like these are the key to providing a hand up rather than a handout.