One of my favorite programs is the Wall Street Journal’s “Journal Editorial Report” which appears on Fox News. This segment helps you understand why:
When we come back, Paul Ryan takes on the religious left after 90 Georgetown professors attack his budget proposal as going against Catholic social teaching. Would Jesus Christ really have favored big government?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WISC., CHAIRMAN, HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE: Since we meet here today at America’s first Catholic university, I feel it is important to discuss how, as a Catholic in public life, my own personal thinking on these issues has been guided by my understanding of the church’s social teaching. Simply put, I don’t believe the preferential option for the poor means a preferential option for big government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIGOT: That was the House budget committee chairman, Paul Ryan, last week delivering an address at Georgetown University. The Wisconsin Republican has come under fire from some Catholics on the left who claimed the blue print goes against the church’s social teaching. Ninety Georgetown faculty and administrators sent a letter to Ryan in advance of the appearance that read, in part, “We would be remiss in our duty to you and our students if we did not challenge your continuing misuse of Catholic teaching to defend a budget that decimates food programs for struggling families, radically weakens protections for the elderly and sick, and gives more tax breaks to the wealthiest few.”
Joining the panel this week, Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger, and columnist, Mary Anastasia O’Grady.
Dan, we’ll put it on the table, we are all Catholics here, grew up with Catholic social teaching.
DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST & DEPUTY EDITOR: Right.
GIGOT: To my mind, the news is not so much Jesuits or Georgetown faculty by conservatives. That is an old story. The news is that Ryan is willing to mix it up in return. Why is the debate important?
HENNINGER: The debate is important for — I tell you, Paul, it is important for reasons that both Ryan’s critics and Paul Ryan cite, both that letter and his talk said the same thing. One in six Americans are in poverty. Now, the Great Society started in 1965, creating programs to address poverty.
GIGOT: Lyndon Johnson.
HENNINGER: Lyndon Johnson.
GIGOT: Expansion of government.
HENNINGER: 50 years later, one in six Americans are in poverty? After spending trillions and trillions and trillions of dollars. Now Ryan is saying, first, we need accountability over why that has happened. Second, the three main programs — two main programs were created then, Medicare and Medicaid, adding in Social Security, the three major entitlements, the costs are so large that they drain money away from other programs for the poor.
HENNINGER: And Paul Ryan is saying we have to look at this and start making some decisions about where that is going. And that’s what he’s asking his critics to come and talk to him about.
GIGOT: This is what the late Senator, a Democrat, and a Catholic, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, used to make the case to me that — he said, Democrats should reform entitlements for seniors and Medicare and Social Security because, as Dan said, they are growing a huge wedge in the federal government. They will soak up, if trends continue, almost all the spending there is, the money there is, and there would be no money left for child care, for example, or education, or transportation, much less defense — good liberal purposes.
MARY ANASTASIA O’GRADY: But, Paul, why are you talking about facts?
Facts are not what the left has used to grow the government to what it is right now.
GIGOT: That’s one my big flaws.
O’GRADY: Really, you have to stop that.
Paul Ryan is freaking these guys out because he is taking their language and using it against them. He talks about how government dissolves the common good of society, how it dishonors the dignity of the human person. They think they own that language. And they think that language justifies big government. And he is saying, no, what you have done with this big government has actually undermined the things that Catholic teaching is supposed to be about. And that is why they are upset about it. If Paul Ryan, God forbid, gets the morale high ground, which they think they own, they will have to go back to the facts. And the facts will not support their position.
GIGOT: Important point, a lot of Republicans and conservatives tend to shrink, at least in my experience, from moral arguments. Look at my failing here, brining — talking practical points in fact.
But if — so you leave them a monopoly on the moral rhetoric, which is very power of in politics, on the left. Ryan is saying, I will meet you on that same battlefield.
HENNINGER: Well, he has created a phrase, which is the immorality of debt. And, in fact, Pope Benedict himself apparently said that if you live with debt that begins do impede the government’s ability to provide basic services, then you are living in untrue — Benedict is obviously talking about Europe.
HENNINGER: And Europe has had a tremendous commitment to social justice and social programs, and now we see Europe as a case study in struggling with trying to pay for commitments that simply they can no longer afford. And that is the issue that Paul Ryan is trying to raise. And he now is putting it in moral terms. And there is a moral issue there. And I think he deserve a good-faith answer.
GIGOT: If you look at Europe, one thing that we can see is when you have a debt crisis, and you finally have to do something about it, who suffers the most and first? It isn’t the Georgetown faculty.
It is the poor, who have their budgets and spending cut?
This is precisely the kind of moral argument that I have been advocating for on this blog. Here’s an example:
So let’s read the Bible and see what it says.
First there’s that little passage in 1 Samuel that warns about the danger of a socialist king who would seize what rightly belonged to the people if they wickedly chose big government instead of trusting in God (as I previously have pointed out):
The story of abusive big government is not a recent one. The prophet Samuel describes it in the Old Testament:
But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles. — 1 Samuel 8:19-20
Who are we really rejecting? God said to Samuel:
“…it is not you they have rejected, Samuel, but they have rejected me as their king.” — 1 Samuel 8:7
Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.” — 1 Samuel 8:10-18
The tenth of everything that God warned the people the king would take was on top of the tenth that belonged to God. Which is to say that the king would double their taxes in addition to treating the people like they belonged to him. Of course, that tyrant king was only seizing an additional tenth of his people’s wealth; imagine today, where in the highest-taxed states (which are all Democrat states, fwiw), some Americans are forced to pay more than half of their income in taxes. A mere extra tenth would be like a blessing to them.
It doesn’t sound as if the king whom we are told again and again – ”he will take” – is a good thing. Except on Al Sharpton’s and demonic Democrats warped and evil account of the passage.
Then there’s Jesus, who contrasted what the government confiscated with what belonged to God:
“Show me a denarius. Whose portrait and inscription are on it?” Caesar’s,” they replied. He said to them, “Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” — Luke 20:24-25
Notice that what belongs to God isn’t also described as belonging to Caesar. What Jesus is MOST DEFINITELY NOT SAYING here is that giving unto Caesar is in any way, shape or form tantamount to giving to God. Unless, that is, you are a Democrat (i.e., a demonic bureaucrat), in which case worshipping the State is identical to worshipping God.
When Democrats want to let Obama take more of what belongs to us, they are giving their god his due, not the God of the Bible.
As you could see by examining the links, I took part of that argument from a previous article titled, “Obama’s Government As God Believes It Owns Everything The People Earn.”
So when liberals demand the expansion of government they are not being “pro-God”; they are being ANTI-God. And it also turns out to be the case that they are tragically anti-poor, too.
In another article, I wrote the following to document how Democrats have undermined charity in favor of socialism – while being anything but “charitable” in their own lives – while hurting the people they claimed they were helping:
I once quoted Burton Folsom in his great book “New Deal Or Raw Deal?” It’s time to quote that passage again:
Throughout American history, right from the start, charity had been a state and local function. Civic leaders, local clergy, and private citizens, evaluated the legitimacy of people’s need in their communities or counties; churches and other organizations could then provide food, shelter, and clothing to help victims of fires or women abandoned by drunken husbands. Most Americans believed that the face-to-face encounters of givers and receivers of charity benefited both groups. It created just the right amount of uplift and relief, and discouraged laziness and a poor work ethic.
The Founders saw all relief as local and voluntary, and the Constitution gave no federal role for the government in providing charity. James Madison, in defending the Constitution, observed, “No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity.” In other words, if relief, and other areas, were made functions of the federal government, the process would become politicized and politicians and deadbeats could conspire to trade votes for food” (New Deal or Raw Deal, page 76-77).
Prior to FDR, the American people took care of their OWN, family by family, town by town, county by county, state by state. They had NEVER had welfare, and in fact found the very concept of welfare distasteful. And I’m going to tell you right now that they were better, stronger people than we are as a result of that moral superiority and that faith in THE PEOPLE and not the GOVERNMENT.
Barack Obama – who gave virtually NOTHING to charity when giving would have demonstrated the character he proved he DIDN’T have – doesn’t trust the American people, or much care about them, for that matter. He doesn’t want to help people; he wants to grow the size of government. He wants only to make the state bigger and bigger and more and more powerful and controlling. Obama is angry because he doesn’t believe people should have the right to decide for themselves how much of their own money they “need”; HE wants to make that decision for them and then impose it on them so he can seize their money and redistribute it to people who will vote for him and for his party.
Whenever a Democrat calls for more taxes, understand that what they are really saying is that they believe that the government is too small and needs to become larger. And whenever they call for more taxes for the sake of helping people, what they are really saying is that you are a bad and immoral person who can’t and shouldn’t be trusted to help people in need and that it is better to take your money away from you and put it into the coffers of a big government socialist redistributionist agency which will piss it away on boondoggle programs that benefit the politically connected far more than they do the poor. And the fact that even as Barack Obama and the overwhelming Democrat majority that had dictatorial control of both branches of Congress made government bigger than it has ever been and yet blacks are now worse off than they’ve been for generations and women are being set way back is the icing on the cake of the proof of that fact. Liberals hurt the people they cynically and falsely claim to be helping – and then demagogically use the misery that they themselves created to accumulate even more power for themselves and their failed agenda.
A lot of Americans like Social Security. But they wouldn’t if they knew the facts about it the massive debt it has compiled and the alternatives to it – proposed by Democrats, for that matter – that would have been demonstrated to have been FAR better.
Obama’s policies have sent real inflation (things like food and gasoline) skyrocketing. And who does that hurt more: the rich or the poor??? Let me assure you that it’s not rich people who are being forced to choose between putting gas in their cars so they can make it to work or buying food for their families.
Obama and his Democrat lackeys rammed minimum wage hikes through. Conservatives said it would severely hurt teen employment. And the documented reality is that it has massively hurt young workers EXACTLY AS CONSERVATIVES PREDICTED.
It is no surprise that the economy is in the worst condition since the LAST TIME we let a socialist run it.
Just as it is absolutely no surprise that poverty is the highest it has been in at least 52 years – and frankly in HISTORY – under this failed president whose only ability is the ability to lie and slander and demagogue.