I've been told that Catholic Charities sees an important role for itself in social justice education. In the matter of tax reform, the real challenge in social justice education is to deal with the middle class. If the middle class wants tax reform, it will happen. If not, it probably will not happen. Why? Because our system puts the tax-writing responsibility in the House Ways and Means Committee, and it is there in the House of Representatives that the middle class has the best chance of exerting influence in our representative democracy. If the middle class does not want tax reform, the House of Representatives is not going to propose meaningful tax reform.

This is not the time in our national economic life for revenue-neutral tax reform. Revenues must be raised, so therefore taxes must be raised. Most observers say this simply is not going to happen over the next few years. Both the dilemma and the debate will continue. In the debate about tax reform, the voice of Catholic Charities should be heard . . . as it challenges the middle-income taxpayer to accept a higher levy and the high-income taxpayer to shoulder a relatively heavy but fair share of the income tax burden. The voice of Catholic Charities, like the voice of the American bishops, should call for reforms in the U.S. tax system that reduce the burden on the poor. . . .

Recall the words of the U.S. bishops in stating their norm for the moral measurement of our economy: "Will this decision or policy help the poor and deprived members of the human community and enable them to become more active participants in economic life?"