(RNS) Budget Cuts Target the Poor, Faith Groups Say

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Get ready for more undernourished infants, dangerously cold homes and disease-stricken communities in developing countries if proposed federal budget cuts become law.

That’s the message coming from left-leaning religious advocacy groups, who’ve been rallying supporters and blanketing Capitol Hill since budget debates kicked into high gear last week (Feb. 14-18). Declaring budgets to be “moral documents,” they’re prodding lawmakers to honor their respective faith traditions by sparing poverty-related programs from the cost-cutting axe.

But efforts to save funding are meeting resistance—not only from number crunchers, but also from others with different views of what constitutes moral budgeting.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesSenate

10 Comments
Posted February 24, 2011 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Dan Crawford wrote:

The faith groups are wasting their time. Republicans really don’t give a damn about the poor, and the Democrats create programs to support political appointees and professional bureaucrats.

February 24, 6:13 pm | [comment link]
2. Branford wrote:

You’re right, Dan, that’s why over and over again, it’s shown that conservatives (not necessarily Republicans) give more to charity than liberals - because they “don’t give a damn” /sarc

February 24, 6:48 pm | [comment link]
3. MCPLAW wrote:

How is it shown over and over that conservatives give more to charity than liberals?  Is there some master database that tracks charitable acts and contributions and matches it to each persons political views.  Who controls the database, and who determines who is liberal and who is conservative?  And is that religious conservatives, fiscal conservatives, social conservatives?

February 24, 7:11 pm | [comment link]
4. deaconmark wrote:

Interestingly, though the RC Bishops are backing the working people in the union issues in Wisconsin.  Expect them equally to back rights for immigrants. Is that “the conservatives” backing the poor? Or might we see some interesting new bedfellows?
“WASHINGTON—The U.S. Catholic bishops on Thursday (Feb. 24) threw their moral weight behind the pro-union protesters in Wisconsin, saying the rights of workers do not abate in difficult economic times.

“The debates over worker representation and collective bargaining are not simply matters of ideology or power,” said Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, Calif., chairman of the U.S. bishops’ committee on domestic justice.’”

February 24, 7:21 pm | [comment link]
5. Ross wrote:

#4:  The Catholic Church doesn’t fit into U.S. liberal/conservative categories.  The RCC is against abortion and against the normalization of homosexuality; by U.S. standards those are conservative positions.  But the RCC is also against the death penalty and for immigrant rights, including illegals; in the U.S. those are considered liberal stances.

February 24, 7:42 pm | [comment link]
6. libraryjim wrote:

In Wisconsin, the state workers have no choice but to join the union, which means up to $1,000 a year on dues that go to support the Democrat Party causes and candidates. That alone should be cause to suspect the unions’ actions there. Thankfully Florida is a ‘right to work’ state and I don’t have to join a union if I don’t want to. And I don’t.

However, I was wondering how long it would be before the Democrats pulled out the “anti-poverty” card—“The Republicans don’t care about you, they just want you to die alone and homeless on the street, and force the old folks to choose between eating dog food or buying medicines or heating their houses”.  It’s a false charge, solely politically based, and made every time the Democrats lose power in State or Federal Government.  Frankly, I don’t see how people still buy into it.

February 24, 8:31 pm | [comment link]
7. Mitchell wrote:

What do Republicans think should happen to old people who can’t afford food, medicine or to heat their house?

February 24, 8:49 pm | [comment link]
8. heath wrote:

libraryjim - From your comment, I assume you work for an organization that has a union and you chose not be to a member.  If this is the case, I’m curious.  Do you take advantage of rights and protections the union, which you do not support, has played a key role in securing for you?

February 24, 11:37 pm | [comment link]
9. Branford wrote:

#3, MCPLAW - here’s a study -

“Of the top 25 states where people give an above-average percentage of their income, all but one (Maryland) were red—conservative—states in the last presidential election.

“When you look at the data,” says Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks, “it turns out the conservatives give about 30 percent more. And incidentally, conservative-headed families make slightly less money.”

Researching his book, “Who Really Cares”, Brooks found that the conservative/liberal difference goes beyond money:

“The people who give one thing tend to be the people who give everything in America. You find that people who believe it’s the government’s job to make incomes more equal, are far less likely to give their money away.”

Conservatives are even 18 percent more likely to donate blood.

The second myth is that people with the most money are the most generous. But while the rich give more in total dollars, low-income people give almost 30 percent more as a share of their income.

Says Brooks: “The most charitable people in America today are the working poor.”

We saw that in Sioux Falls, S.D. The workers at the meat packing plant make about $35,000, yet the Sioux Falls United Way says it gets more contributions of over $500 from employees there than anywhere else.

Note that Brooks said the “working” poor. The nonworking poor—people on welfare—are very different, even though they have the same income. The nonworking poor don’t give much at all. . .

Finally, Brooks says one thing stands out as the biggest predictor of whether someone will be charitable: “their religious participation.” Religious people are more likely to give to charity, and when they give, they give more money—four times as much.

But doesn’t that giving just stay within the religion?

“No,” says Brooks, “Religious Americans are more likely to give to every kind of cause and charity, including explicitly nonreligious charities. Religious people give more blood; religious people give more to homeless people on the street.”

February 24, 11:53 pm | [comment link]
10. Don C wrote:

What do Republicans think should happen to old people who can’t afford food, medicine or to heat their house?

This is the responsibility of the Church and then local and state government. I see no role for the federal government. If my home state, Massachusetts, wants to be a socialist paradise, so be it.  Someone else in middle America shouldn’t have to pay for it.

February 26, 10:58 am | [comment link]
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