Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Federal Budget is a Moral Document, Revisited

Congressional Republicans are considering $50 billion in spending reductions that would cut funding for health care, education, food, housing and nutrition. Among other things, they are pushing for $10 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, programs which provided medical care for the poor and elderly. Coincidentally, the proposed spending cuts "are to be followed by a proposal for up to $70 billion in tax cuts." How convenient.

Our continuing ability to "afford" massive tax cuts belies Republicans' claims that spending cuts are required due to this year's hurricane relief. As President Clinton recently remarked, one-time catastrophic spending like the relief for Katrina should never be the basis for permanent changes in the federal budget. The Republicans attempt to exploit Katrina to free up more money for tax cuts is nothing short of disgusting.

As the 2006 elections approach, Christians would do well to remember that our social institutions, no less than our individual actions, are to reflect Godly values. Preeminent among those values must be a concern for the least of our brothers and sisters. Providing tax cuts to the wealthy--or even to the middle class--at the expense of social programs like Medicare and Medicaid does not reflect Christian values.


At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can we be certain how un-Christian these budget cuts will be without an item-by-item examination? Simply proclaiming the cuts to be to "health care, education, food, housing and nutrition" certainly implies that the money was being put to good use, but is it actually true? For example, student budgets set by financial offices determine loan eligibility. At my school, $450/month is allocated for food purchases. A college student can easily support a very healthy diet with much less than that by simply cooking at home. Decreasing federally subsized loan elegibility by $1000/year/student (simply limiting the food budget to $350/month, which is still more than necessary) would be a substantial spending cut to "education" but would it really be un-Christian to expect college students to prepare their own food for an extra 15 meals per month instead of going to restaurants? I'm not as familiar with Medicare and Medicaid so those cuts could be truly contrary to Christian values, but we must be careful with sweeping generalizations.


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