May 2016 – Minutes

CLJP Minutes May 10, 2016 Monticello Room, Westminster Canterbury

Present: Taylor Beard, Chip Sanders, Carroll Houle, Hal Horan, Bob McAdams, Dave Warren, Peter Weatherly, Jim McDonald, David McFarlane, Warren Grupe, Jean Hammond, John Peale

Guest: Lidia Peale

Warren opened the meeting with prayer with John Peale presiding.

Peale and Horan gave grateful remembrances of founding member Guy Hammond who died on May 1 (see obituary), while Houle gave a brief remembrance of his encounters with Jesuit peace activist and writer Father Daniel Berrigan, and read from the New York Times obituary with commentary.

Horan moved and Beard seconded that 100.00 be donated to the Virginia Tech Foundation Guy Hammond’s name.  Motion passed.

The Minutes of April 12, prepared by Horan, were approved.   

 Treasurer’s Report: Since the April 12 balance of 4,751.52, Beard accounted for an income of 300.00, consisting of 60.00 dues each paid by David Warren, William Gray, Jim McDonald, Chip Sanders, and John Peale, as well as an expense of an Honorarium of 100.00 for Don Nuechterlein, resulting in a balance of 4,951.52.

Old and New Business:  Peale asked members for any ideas concerning the theme for next year’s study, beginning in September.  Horan replied that since the 2017 possible Forum would be involving economic inequality, we could continue to explore that subject and suggested a new book which could give the subject historical depth, A Just and Generous Nation: Abraham Lincoln and the Fight for American Opportunity By Harold Holzer and Norton Garfinkle, qouting the May 5 review of the book by Walter Brueggemann in the Christian Century:

“Lincoln had in purview both his own hard scrabble life in his early days and the life of his unsuccessful father. Lincoln meant by “free labor” that every American should be free to advance to the “middle class” and to enjoy the fruit of his own labor. Labor’s produce should not be siphoned off to support non-laborers (the ownership class) in a way that denies prosperity to those who do labor.”

The first half of the book is an in depth argument for what Lincoln meant by “free labor” and its value over capital and the second half is a trajectory of how the tension between labor and capital has played out—from the Gilded Age through the prosperity of the post World War II years to this year’s election process.

Questions were then raised about the progress of the proposed Forum and Murray’s correspondence with Festival representative Jane Kulow, the answer being that the Festival of the Book is very interested in our idea of a  Forum on “Economic Inequality: Description, Causes, and Cures”

Concerns were also raised regarding a more involved relationship with other organizations who are also interested in the subject.  McAdams then reminded the group of the coming annual meeting where like minded groups share their projects and concerns, sponsored by the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, meeting at the Westminster Presbyterian Church on Tuesday, June 14, gathering at 5:30 to share a covered dish dinner, followed at 6:45 with each organization presenting a brief outline of their purpose and current projects.

McAdams also announced the following:

Dr. Michael Smith, professor of Political and Social Thought at UVA, will speakon “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Today” this Sunday, May 15th, at 3:00 PM, at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church on Rugby RoadThis free event is sponsored by the local United Nations Association chapter.  For more information, contact Susan Roberts@gmail.com.

Peter Weatherly and Chip Sanders were elected as Co-Chairs of CLJP for the coming year starting in September of 2016 and Taylor Beard and Hal Horan were re-elected to Treasurer and Recording Secretary.

Program, Weatherly provided an excellent You Tube clip concerning “Improving Equility of Opportunity in America: New Evidence and Policy Lessons,” by Raj Chetty, Professor of Economics, HarvardUniversity. 

Chetty begins with a chart titled The American Dream (?) showing three countries with accompanying percentages—USA 7.5%, Denmark 11.7% and Canada 13.5%.  The percentages for each represent the “Odds that a child born to parents in the bottom fifth of the income distribution reaches the top fifth.” 

Mindful that the percentages are that of a fifth or 20%, not 100%, the USA, on the whole, is the least likely and Canada is the most likely of the developed nations of a child achieving the American Dream.

Yet some states score as high or higher than the highest nations because of such factors as integration, income equality, two parent families, social capital as in “it takes a village to raise a child,” school quality, public transportation, and equipping children before they reach the age of twenty.  

The lesson for public policy is to place more focus on those areas with the lowest likelihood of achieving the American Dream by finding ways to make possible some of the above factors that improve a child’s income mobility.  In America, the least likely percentages are in the southeastern states while the most likely are in the plain states, with the state of Utah being the most likely in the states and in Canada and Europe. 

 But of course Professor Chetty so much better and does so in just a few minutes, you therefore are URGED to link onto https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6Q7nXUDhTQ

Also check out http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org for even more information. 

The meeting adjourned at 2:10 pm. until Tuesday, September 13.

Respectfully Submitted

Hal Horan