Social Progress

The Jewish tradition is distinguished by its sensitive concern for the poor, the weak, the sick, the elderly, the disinherited, and the stranger at the gate, both at home and overseas. Accordingly, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations has consistently supported governmental initiatives to eliminate poverty, inequality, and social injustice, both in American life and, through sensitive programs throughout the years, for the advancement of many peoples.

The Union of American Hebrew Congregations is deeply concerned with the cutbacks in social programs initiated by the administration. While we are fully cognizant of the need to curtail inflationary economic policies, we oppose curtailment at the expense of social programs aimed at aiding the poor and disadvantaged.

The administration's assertions that many of the social programs initiated by previous administrations have resulted in heavier burdens for the already overburdened taxpayer disregard the fact that these programs have assured social and economic benefits for poor people across the country, many of whom have, for the first time, become taxpayers themselves.

We recognize that not every social program of the federal government has worked effectively. All of them need continuing evaluation. But to abandon, decimate, and impound needed programs of housing, health, education, welfare, employment, transportation, consumer affairs, community action, and the environment at this stage of our history would constitute a betrayal of the American dream for millions of people.

We are also disturbed that in his insistence upon his unqualified right to impound funds appropriated for social programs enacted by the Congress, the president has impaired the constitutional rights of the Congress and has imperiled the separation of powers that undergirds our freedom.

THEREFORE , the Union of American Hebrew Congregations urges the Congress to reorder budgetary priorities so that social programs that have enabled a large segment of the poor to move forward are not eliminated. Instead, we urge that these programs be improved, enlarged, and, where necessary, restored so that more Americans may achieve a better standard of life.

We call upon our constituencies, as well as religious and lay leadership throughout the nation, to speak to the conscience of America so that years of social progress will not be lost in the name of economic policies that discriminate against those who are impoverished.