Bishop Blaire of the USCCB stated that “The House-passed budget resolution fails to meet these moral criteria.” Why? Is there some moral imperative in Catholic Social Teaching that declares that this current particular amount of government funding for food stamps and the Child Tax Credit is a must and may not be reduced at all, at any cost, even though our federal debt has skyrocketed in the past 12 years and is unsustainable? If the excessive debt is not addressed this could cause financial and economic ruin for the United States which would have a drastically greater impact (definitely negative) on the poor than a budget proposal which may or may not negatively affect the poor. It is quite possible that the impact on the financially challenged from the Paul Ryan Budget could be a positive one. Wouldn’t it be a moral imperative to fix the broken programs such as welfare, Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare before we become like Greece and are forced to institute drastic austerity measures?
I am not sure why the USCCB insists on following the statist route, as the primary solution to society’s problems with regards to the poor, sick, and handicapped. There are equally legitimate, if not better ways, that the private sector is able to help the “least of these”.
Here it goes….
Is it because the U.S. Catholic Church or more specifically Catholic organizations in America are shirking their monetary duty to aid the poor and thus handing the reigns of responsibility over to the government since that does take a huge chunk of the financial burden away from these organizations? I am not saying that the people who are working in the trenches, so to speak, caring for the less fortunate, are not doing so out of true care and love for them just that the head honchos may be misguided in their belief that government should be their primary source of income.
The USCCB complains about the so-called moral failings of the Paul Ryan Budget and how it may affect the poor but I wonder whether they have thought much about how much of the money that went to paying out lawsuits due to the priest sexual abuse scandal could have been used to help the less fortunate in our society? I think we all know that this was an enormous moral failing on the part of bishops and priests which in turn reflected extremely badly on the Church. The priest sexual abuse has caused serious ramifications.
From the USCCB:
“Just solutions, however, must require shared sacrifice by all, including raising adequate revenues, eliminating unnecessary military and other spending, and fairly addressing the long-term costs of health insurance and retirement programs.”
Paul Ryan’s budget which passed the House may not be the perfect solution for what ails our country’s economic woes but it does have “shared sacrifice” among the various agencies. According to Ezra Klein at the Washington Post Ryan’s budget spends 16 percent less on “income security” programs for the poor, 25 percent less on transportation, 6 percent less on “General science, space, and basic technology”, and 33 percent less on “Education, training, employment, and social services.” There is a discrepancy as to whether veterans benefits are increased or decreased. Personally, I think our veterans and their families have sacrificed enough and we shouldn’t be cutting their benefits. I’m not sure whether there are other cuts to the various agencies but it is self-evident that Paul Ryan did implement “shared sacrifice” into his budget.
From Paul Ryan in his WSJ article:
Our budget, which we call The Path to Prosperity, is very different. For starters, it cuts $6.2 trillion in spending from the president’s budget over the next 10 years, reduces the debt as a percentage of the economy, and puts the nation on a path to actually pay off our national debt. Our proposal brings federal spending to below 20% of gross domestic product (GDP), consistent with the postwar average, and reduces deficits by $4.4 trillion.
A study just released by the Heritage Center for Data Analysis projects that The Path to Prosperity will help create nearly one million new private-sector jobs next year, bring the unemployment rate down to 4% by 2015, and result in 2.5 million additional private-sector jobs in the last year of the decade. It spurs economic growth, with $1.5 trillion in additional real GDP over the decade. According to Heritage’s analysis, it would result in $1.1 trillion in higher wages and an average of $1,000 in additional family income each year.
Ryan’s budget reduces spending below 2008 levels – savings proposals include reforming agricultural subsidies, shrinking the federal workforce, and targeting inefficiencies at the Pentagon that the Defense Secretary has laid out.
His proposal would build on the welfare reform of the 1990′s under President Bill Clinton. In 2006, ten years after welfare reform was instituted, Bill Clinton penned an article praising it’s success. The majority of people from all over the ideological spectrum are in agreement that the welfare reform under Bill Clinton was a success. If you agree with this why wouldn’t those same people give Paul Ryan’s budget a chance to improve the lives of many Americans just as they did with the welfare reform of the 90′s?
The Paul Ryan budget “will build upon the historic welfare reforms of the late 1990s by converting the federal share of Medicaid spending into a block grant that lets states create a range of options and gives Medicaid patients access to better care.” This allocation of funds falls in line with the principle of Catholic social thought known as subsidiarity.
Wikipedia has some pretty good simplified information on the background and definition of subsidiarity:
The principle of subsidiarity was developed by German theologian Oswald von Nell-Breuning. His work influenced the social teaching of Pope Pius XIin Quadragesimo Anno and holds that government should undertake only those initiatives which exceed the capacity of individuals or private groups acting independently. Functions of government, business, and other secular activities should be as local as possible. If a complex function is carried out at a local level just as effectively as on the national level, the local level should be the one to carry out the specified function. The principle is based upon the autonomy and dignity of the human individual, and holds that all other forms of society, from the family to the state and the international order, should be in the service of the human person. Subsidiarity assumes that these human persons are by their nature social beings, and emphasizes the importance of small and intermediate-sized communities or institutions, like the family, the church, labor unions and other voluntary associations, as mediating structures which empower individual action and link the individual to society as a whole. “Positive subsidiarity”, which is the ethical imperative for communal, institutional or governmental action to create the social conditions necessary to the full development of the individual, such as the right to work, decent housing, health care, etc., is another important aspect of the subsidiarity principle.
Paul Ryan’s budget also tackles the insolvency of medicare as it is today, reforms social security, enforces caps on spending and emphasizes that government must change how it spends money, as well as takes measures to institute substantial tax reform.