Paul Ryan Still Trying to Baptize His Immoral Budget
Writing in the Catholic magazine Our Sunday Visitor, Rep. Paul Ryan continues his misleading campaign to portray his radical, Randian budget proposal as somehow supported by Catholic Social Teaching. Rather than engage with any of the detailed critiques of his approach offered by us and numerous other commentators and the Catholic bishops, Ryan just weaves Catholic language into his standard political stump speech:
Budgetary discipline is a moral imperative. In Greece and other European nations, retired pensioners and vulnerable citizens are suffering from harsh benefit cuts as a result of politicians’ empty promises. Preferences for the poor, solidarity, subsidiarity, the common good and human dignity are disregarded when governments default and bankrupt economies stop producing. Economic well-being is a foundation stone of an enduring “civilization of love.”
Or in simpler words, “we must needlessly harm poor people now in order to avoid harming them even more in the future”
Charles Michael Andres Clark has a related editorial at Commonweal that might as well be a direct reply to Ryan:
Voters deserve to be treated like adults, not children, and this means that politicians shouldn’t say “we can’t” when they really just mean “we don’t want to.” If some members of the House and Senate don’t think the federal government should take care of those who aren’t fully able to take care of themselves–if, say, they believe it’s up to the states or private charity to do this–then let them say so openly instead of presenting their policy preference as a matter of fiscal necessity. Small-government conservatives are now using the national debt as an excuse to cut programs they’ve long wanted to cut, even when the government was running a surplus. When the economy is in good shape, the programs are said to be unnecessary and wasteful: let the thriving private sector take care of whatever problems the public programs were designed to address. And when the economy declines, the same people tell us we can no longer afford such a generous safety net. Whatever ails us, the cure is smaller government.
Clark continues his piece by debunking some of the most egregious myths about the economy that undergird Ryan’s arguments. And in addition to the faulty premises on which Ryan’s message is built, it’s worth mentioning that he’s hardly a credible messenger — during the Bush administartion he voted for two massive tax cuts and two wars financed entirely by deficit spending, which in combination turned surpluses into massive deficits.
Unfortunately for Ryan neither the facts, his faith tradition nor his own voting record support his credibility on the budget and the economy.