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04/29/2011

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Jimbino

Yes, I agree with the goals of reducing poverty and improving the health and opportunity of the masses, but I have to take issue with the statement:

-- The budget debate has a central moral dimension. Christians are asking how we protect “the least of these.” “What would Jesus cut?” “How do we share sacrifice?” --

In helping the poor, we need to realize that socialism is a failure and that it is capitalism that has done more to feed the poor and give them color TVs.

While we can agree that helping the poor is a chief aim of Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Humanism, we need to admit that Jesus did not study or master economics, with the result that the best means of serving the poor might well be one unknown to Jesus.

So we need to ask not, "What would Jesus cut," but instead, "What should we cut to best serve the goals of Jesus?"

And the goal of "sharing sacrifice" is a goal that directly conflicts with Jesus' goal of helping the poor. We know that sacrifice is big with Roman Catholics, but it is not with many Protestants and certainly not with Ayn Rand.

Who is John Galt?

Jimbino

As well-meaning as your aunt, the Dominican sister, is, she and the signatories need to realize that no progress will be made on the front of reducing poverty as long as they continue to insult and demean the many capitalists, libertarians, Republicans and others who are not genuflecting Roman Catholics. In particular:

1. The nation needs to substantially reduce future deficits, but not at the expense of hungry and poor people.

Objection: To the extent that these are code-words for "tax the rich," the policy is a non-starter. The rich will take their money and the opportunities their money creates to a place that is more congenial. Who is John Galt?

2. Funding focused on reducing poverty should not be cut. It should be made as effective as possible, but not cut.

Objection: How about this option: Get government out of the poverty business? There is no such thing as an "effective government" when it comes to health, education and welfare in general. The great inventions of the last century--car, plane, electricity, radio, TV, internet, antibiotics, etc.--were made without, and in most cases, in spite of government. Herbert Hoover, for example, did far more to combat poverty when he was out of government than when he was the head insider.

3. We urge our leaders to protect and improve poverty-focused development and humanitarian assistance to promote a better, safer world.

Objection: No, our leaders need to realize that transferring wealth involuntarily is not humanitarian. The government should either encourage enterprise with tax breaks or at least get the hell out of impeding development and progress. Instead of a "safer world," we need a world that encourages liberty and freedom and risk and enterprise, none of which are "safe." You want safe? -- You want Roman rule.

4. National leaders must review and consider tax revenues, military spending, and entitlements in the search for ways to share sacrifice and cut deficits.

Objection: I recognize that "sacrifice" is a goal of Roman Catholics, but as such, it needs to be buried in the interest of a quest for welfare, justice and liberty. Someday our "liberation theologists" need to come to grips with the fact that giving money to the Edisons, Fords, Marconis, Wrights, Gateses and Zuckerbergs of the world would do more to lift people out of poverty than scattering their wealth around. Who is John Galt?

5. A fundamental task is to create jobs and spur economic growth. Decent jobs at decent wages are the best path out of poverty, and restoring growth is a powerful way to reduce deficits.

Objection: Yes, yes, "restoring growth is a powerful way to reduce deficits." But government is the problem! It takes wealth from entrepeneurs who could use it to create jobs and to solve our energy, health, education, and poverty problems, while it squanders our diminishing wealth on "green" technology, public "education," agriculture subsidies, and breeding.

If decent wages alone could lead folks out of poverty, we should just raise the minimum wage to $100 per hour. That would solve the poverty problem in one swell foop! Of course, government does nothing to create jobs or spur economic growth, except when it lowers taxes, eliminates licensing and certification, combats monopoly and labor union privilege, and generally keeps the hell out of business relationships.

6. The budget debate has a central moral dimension. Christians are asking how we protect “the least of these.” “What would Jesus cut?” “How do we share sacrifice?”

Objection: Jesus's sophistication in economics extended to not much more than "rendering" unto Caesar or unto God and simple investing. "Sharing sacrifice" is very Roman Catholic and socialist, but nowadays practiced only in places like North Korea, Burma, Cuba and Venezuela, where they all share nothing.

7. As believers, we turn to God with prayer and fasting, to ask for guidance as our nation makes decisions about our priorities as a people.

Objection: Fine, y'all turn to God. But to the extent that you impose crucifixes, prayer, fasting, moments of silence, genuflecting and rosaries on the rest of us, you are setting the world up for even more strife, poverty and warfare.

8. God continues to shower our nation and the world with blessings. As Christians, we are rooted in the love of God in Jesus Christ. Our task is to share these blessings with love and justice and with a special priority for those who are poor.

Objection: As mentioned above, it was not God, but a Constitution and a free market that have enabled Zuckerberg and his ilk to continue to shower our nation with blessings. As far as your "love of God in Jesus Christ" is concerned, you need to acknowledge that there are a lot of us out here, not only Rand, Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris and me, who would like you to turn your attention elsewhere and stop hobbling our lives.

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