The Common Good

GOP budget fails moral standard

Date: April 3, 2013

The Republican budget for 2013 is a moral document, as budgets always are, telling us who and what is most and least important to the budget-makers. The nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently released a study saying two-thirds of the cuts in this budget are from programs that benefit low- and middle-income workers. The cuts are then used to offset the cost of more tax breaks for the wealthy.

That is the direct opposite of biblical principles and Catholic social teaching, even though the primary author of the budget, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), is a Catholic.

If these priorities of moral reversal were enacted, they would continue the shift we've seen in this country over recent years that rewards wealth over work while denying the obligation we have as a society to help the least among us. Such a drastic proposal raises a more fundamental question: Will America be a country in which everyone is on their own and out for themselves or one that promotes the common good - another Gospel principle embraced by Catholic social teaching?

The world watched with great anticipation as a new global leader for the Catholic Church was selected. Then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, said in 2007: "Nowadays, the war of the powerful against the weak has created an abyss between the rich and the poor." These words, while spoken of our global economic system, describe the moral direction our budget debate should take.