Boehner Tries to Bamboozle Bishops
Yesterday the US Conference of Catholic Bishops condemned some of the GOP’s immoral budget cuts to programs protecting struggling families. Today House Speaker John Boehner responded with predictably dishonest spin:
“I want them to take a bigger look,” Boehner said. “And the bigger look is, if we don’t make decisions, these programs won’t exist, and then they’ll really have something to worry about.”
Boehner gave a detailed defense of the GOP plan, which to achieve most of its savings would cut billions from programs helping poor Americans.
“What’s more of a concern to me is the fact that if we don’t begin to make some decisions about getting our fiscal house in order, there won’t be a safety net,” Boehner said.
“There won’t be these programs, and I don’t know how often some of us have to talk about the fact that you can’t spend $1.3 trillion more than what you bring in — that’s what’s going to happen this year, $5 trillion worth of debt over the last five years — and think that this can continue,” Boehner said.
“When you look at the fact that we have to make hard decisions, it’s about trying to make sure that we’re able to preserve these programs that are critically important for the poorest in our society.”
Absent from Boehner’s response is acknowledgement of debt-reduction policy options other than gutting the safety net, such as raising revenues or reining in military spending – both of which the Catholic bishops have mentioned as critical elements of a morally responsible debt-reduction plan.
Boehner seems to be telling the bishops we face an inescapable choice between slashing the safety net now and decimating it later. He knows it’s a losing argument to claim that tax breaks for rich people are more important than programs that feed poor children, so he simply pretends the possibility of ending those tax breaks doesn’t exist.
The Ryan budget gave Boehner a clear choice between the social teachings of his Catholic faith and the radical values of Ayn Rand. By voting yes he chose the latter. He should spare us his crocodile tears about the poor.