Fishwrap attacks Rep. Ryan. Double-standard ensues.

Over at the National catholic Fishwrap, one of the principal mongers, Tom Gallagher, launched an ad hominem attack on Rep. Paul Ryan, asking the question (and thereby suggesting the answer) that Ryan is a “fraud”.  This is the usual green ink approach we expect from Fishwrap.

What got my attention is, at the end of Gallagher’s piece, his attack on Bp. Morlino of Madison.  Here is a screenshot of the end of the entry.  Draw your own conclusions:

And, just for fun and profit….

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96 Responses to Fishwrap attacks Rep. Ryan. Double-standard ensues.

  1. amfortas says:

    As a Brit I hesitate to comment on American politics. Ryan is a known disciple of Ayn Rand, many of whose ideas are clearly incompatible with the Catholic faith. I’m sure Ryan’s bishop would agree.

  2. Sissy says:

    amfortas said: “Ryan is a known disciple of Ayn Rand”

    That’s an overstatement, amfortas. What he has said is that he enjoys her novels. He has made it very clear that he does not endorse or support her philosophies of Objectivism and atheism.

  3. AnAmericanMother says:

    amfortas,
    The media here would love to paint Ryan as a “disciple”.
    I have caught some flak from the actual Rand disciples because I think her books are junk. Poorly written, unbelievable dialogue and interpersonal relations, too much “hold the plot while I make this lengthy prepared statement”, badly need an editor, etc. She’s a polemicist, not a novelist.
    With that said, there are some ideas in there that bear examining about the ways and means of fascism, the politics of the weak and envious, etc. It’s my understanding that Ryan appreciates some but not all of the ideas, not the details, and certainly not Rand’s scandalous assertions (or scandalous personal life for that matter).
    But the media would obviously just as soon nobody made those distinctions.

  4. wmeyer says:

    I have read and reread Rand, and there is much value there. However, I am Catholic, and where Rand’s conclusions differ from my own, or especially from the teachings of the Church, then I come down squarely in support of what is taught in doctrine and dogma. I believe that Ryan’s views are similar. Calling him a Rand disciple is not only excessive, but defamatory, as it calls into question his faith and his public statements.

  5. amfortas says:

    I stand corrected in respect of Ryan’s views of Ayn Rand. I only have media reports to go on. Behind my comments is a concern that libertarianism and Catholic social teaching are – ultimately – at odds. I’m a conservative rather than a radical. Much of what I’ve heard about Ryan puts him in the latter camp rather than the former but then I am seeing these things from afar. By the way, I have no time for Obama or Biden either. having said this you’ll know from recent press coverage that Romney has done nothing to endear himself to Brits. What a choice Amercian voters face!

  6. Sissy says:

    amfortas, may I gently suggest that this one example (false claims that he is a “disciple” of Rand) might be an indication that the media is not unbiased in it’s reporting? You might consider taking press reports about Governor Romney with a cupful of salt, as well. Most media outlets on both sides of the Atlantic are deeply invested in promoting both Obama and his policies. You aren’t going to get accurate information from them about conservatives.

  7. amfortas says:

    I hope I’m not naive enough to think that press coverage is without bias but in the case of Romney the words are in black and white. His remarks about our lack of preparedness for the Olympics were crass and insensitive. Would you insult your host before going to meet him?

  8. jasoncpetty says:

    Gallagher calls its “Morlino’s recent endorsement” Gag.

  9. Andy Lucy says:

    amfortas, the list of politicians… on both sides of the pond… who have said something they later regretted is entirely too long to list. He messed up. He apologised. Lingering over his statement serves no one, as London pulled off the Games in excellent fashion, from all that I have seen. Romney was wrong… ever been wrong before? Just sayin…

    And Fr… is it truly any kind of surprise that ol’ Tom took a swipe at His Excellency? If a lib does it, they are being “bold,” and are “not afraid to speak to authority.” If a conservative does it, they are “haters,” or “racist,” or… even… “unhinged.”

  10. amfortas says:

    Pardon me for having an opinion. At least I haven’t suffered from Father Z’s red pen….yet!

  11. Southern Catholic says:

    I wonder what Gallagher’s bishop would have to say, since he is trying to so hard to discredit Ryan’s character that he is now dismissing a bishop’s honest statement. I’m sure it would fall on deft ears. Mother Mary pray for the conversion of hardened hearts to love our Lord.

  12. whitej30 says:

    @Southern Catholic,

    “I wonder what Gallagher’s bishop would have to say, since he is trying to so hard to discredit Ryan’s character that he is now dismissing a bishop’s honest statement. I’m sure it would fall on deft ears. Mother Mary pray for the conversion of hardened hearts to love our Lord.”

    My question is; why is it wrong for him to dismiss said bishops statement, while it is not wrong for Paul Ryan et al. to dismiss the many bishops in the USCCB who have found that his budget is not in line with Catholic Social Teaching?

  13. jessicahoff says:

    Amfortas, the British press is not giving us anything like a good picture of Mr. Ryan who has, himself said that his ideas confirm to Catholic Socisl teaching.

  14. whitej30 says:

    Apparently I did something wrong and was moderated. I will try again;

    I think Paul Ryan’s devotion to Ayn Rand’s teachings is being underrepresented in the comments section. In a speech to the Atlas Society, Ryan says (full audio available on their website, I can give you the link if you need it);

    “(2:01) I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are. It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff.”

    “(2:23) But the reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.”

    “(6:53) Is this an easy fight? Absolutely not…But if we’re going to actually win this we need to make sure that we’re solid on premises, that our principles are well-defended, and if we want to go and articulately defend these principles and what they mean to our society, what they mean for the trends that we set internationally, we have to go back to Ayn Rand. Because there is no better place to find the moral case for capitalism and individualism than through Ayn Rand’s writings and works. “

  15. Elodie says:

    @Amfortas,

    Having lived on both sides of the Atlantic, I gently, yet emphatically, say that the press is more biased and calculating and obfuscatory than one might imagine in the wildest of Orwell novels. No one says you cannot have an opinion, but unless someone in the UK is purposefully searching out conservative American websites, there is no way to have a finger on the pulse of reality. The Ayn Rand story is a prime example, as it has been settled in the (good) Catholic media already. And there’s no way that the British, Canadian, or Irish press have any use for any of the Catholic principles which would make Catholics approve of Ryan, as the press in those countries is kind of like MSNBC on steroids.

  16. wmeyer says:

    whitej30: I have seen those quotes, and still, there is nothing there which contradicts his stated position as a Catholic. He has not spoken in support of Rand’s atheism, nor of her disreputable personal life.

  17. whitej30 says:

    “there is nothing there which contradicts his stated position as a Catholic.”

    The question is whether or not his budget violates certain tenants of Catholic Social Teaching. The speech he gave was for The Atlas Society, whose mission statement is: “The Atlas Society promotes open Objectivism: the philosophy of reason, achievement, individualism, and freedom.”

    Objectivism is defined by them as: “Objectivism is designed as a guide to life, and celebrates the remarkable potential and power of you, the individual. Objectivism also challenges the doctrines of irrationalism, self-sacrifice, brute force, and collectivism that have brought centuries of chaos and misery into the lives of millions of individuals. It provides fascinating insights into the world of politics, art, education, foreign policy, science, and more, rewarding you with a rich understanding of how ideas shape your world.”

    It is a rejection of self-sacrifice, holds self interest as the highest ideal, and sees charity as a social sickness. These are all ideas contrary to Catholic teaching. Ryan’s budget is accused of violating the Church’s teaching in all of these areas by several Bishops, including in official statements from the USCCB.

    My point is, with Rand as his role model, it is no wonder his budget is criticized in the exact ways it departs from Catholic Social Teaching in favor of Rand’s Social Teaching.

  18. Joe Magarac says:

    why is it … not wrong for Paul Ryan et al. to dismiss the many bishops in the USCCB who have found that his budget is not in line with Catholic Social Teaching?

    I don’t think that any bishops in the USCCB have come out and said that Ryan’s budget is not in line with Catholic Social Teaching. If you are aware of any, please name names and cite sources.

    My impression is that like Bishop Morlino, most bishops draw a distinction between the ends that society should have (such as caring for the poor and marginalized) and the means it should use to achieve them. The Catholic Church proposes that certain ends and others are wrong, but it doesn’t propose that certain means are right and others are wrong. In other words, if two Catholic politicians both say that they want to help the poor and marginalized, but one says that he will do that by encouraging private charity and the other says that she will do that through progressive taxation and direct government action, the bishops would say that both are acting in accord with Catholic Social Teaching, and it is up to individual Catholics to decide which method is more likely to work and to vote accordingly.

  19. whitej30 says:

    From their website, with links to the individual letters (emphasis mine):

    “In April 16 and April 17 letters to the House Agriculture Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee addressing cuts required by the budget resolution, Bishop Blaire said **“The House-passed budget resolution fails to meet these moral criteria.”** Bishop Blaire also wrote that cuts to nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP- food stamps) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) will hurt hungry children, poor families, low-income workers and other vulnerable people. Additionally, he wrote that if cuts to the federal budget need to be made, savings should first be found in programs that target more affluent and powerful interests.”

    http://www.usccb.org/news/2012/12-063.cfm

  20. whitej30 says:

    “In other words, if two Catholic politicians both say that they want to help the poor and marginalized, but one says that he will do that by encouraging private charity and the other says that she will do that through progressive taxation and direct government action, the bishops would say that both are acting in accord with Catholic Social Teaching, and it is up to individual Catholics to decide which method is more likely to work and to vote accordingly.”

    They are saying that, in the case of Ryan’s budget, it is not acting in accord with Catholic Social Teaching. To cut programs for the poor with no alternative in place to deal with the fallout, while simultaneously easing the way for the already wealthy by means of tax breaks, is immoral.

    The problem is that, no matter how poorly these government programs are run, the poor currently rely on them. One could even make the case that the government social assistance state is the fault of the uncharitable masses, as the government would not step in were there already those services being provided to the poor.

    To take Jimmy’s crutches away (without an alternative in place) because they were given to him by a poorly run government program that only gave them to him because no one else would, is wrong.

  21. wmeyer says:

    A more serious problem, whitej30, is that we are spending money which does not exist. Do you believe that the collapse of our economy comports with Catholic social teaching? Or would it be possible to invoke some degree of reality?

  22. whitej30 says:

    “Do you believe that the collapse of our economy comports with Catholic social teaching?”

    This isn’t relevant to the morality of the Ryan Budget, however:

    Of course not. The poor would suffer greatly if that were to occur. The principle of subsidiarity is one of the best ways we can re-arrange the power structures in the United States: Paul Ryan has that right. The problem comes when much is not required to whom much was given. To expect more from the poor, while at the same time expecting less from the already wealthy, is very wrong. It is to heap more suffering on those who are already suffering.

    No one is saying tax the rich to death; they are saying we all need to bear the load to the extent we are able.

  23. wmeyer says:

    “No one is saying tax the rich to death; they are saying we all need to bear the load to the extent we are able.”

    To the contrary, the overwhelming majority are keeping their heads in the sand, and pretending that by increasing taxes on some portion of the population, we can keep increasing spending. Not only is that not supported by economics, it is even refuted by elementary school mathematics.

  24. eulogos says:

    My comment did not seem to make it. If it later comes through, forgive the double, please.

    “Cuts” of course meaning declines in the rate of increase.
    And I think it is quite possible for a particular bishop to be mis-applying Catholic social teaching by thinking it is all about the government giving stuff/money to poor people. Some people can’t seem to make the mental jump to benefitting the poor by making the whole economy healthier.
    Also, the bishop didn’t make up a budget. He is just expressing desiderata, without concrete suggestions. He is saying “Don’t cut X, cut something else.” But he isn’t saying what something else to cut.

    I lived for a couple of years at less than half the federal poverty level, with many children, and we were *never* hungry. We did receive food stamps except when we were penalized three months benefits for taking in and feeding another six people (two adults and four children) on our food stamps without telling the agency, which we did because one of the two adults involved was sensitive about receiving benefits. Even when we were feeding six people in addition to our own ten, and even during the three months we didn’t receive the food stamps, we were not hungry. Our visitors missed their microwaved burritoes, but they did not starve.
    So I have some doubts about the ‘hungry children’ meme, and think it may have more to do with a lack of effort on the part of the adults responsible for those children. I think maybe they think soup is something which comes in a can and bread something which comes in a plastic wrapper. I think that after they have chicken, they throw the bones in the trash instead of in the stockpot. I think they buy even biscuits and muffins premade.

    I don’t know the specifics of Ryan’s budget, but I do know cuts have to be made, a lot of them. Ryan made a good try at it. I don’t think the bishop at the USCC has done the same. It is just like when a bishop has to close a parish. It is unfortunate, really sad at times, but resources are limited and the people in charge of the money have to figure out how best to allocate it. I don’t think giving people money which doesn’t really even exist except as a debt can really be according to Catholic social teaching either, as it seems clearly wrong to assume a financial obligation one can’t repay. Am I too simpleminded about this?
    Susan Peterson

  25. whitej30 says:

    The idea is not to increase spending, it is try and deal with the structural inequality the economic theories such as Reagonomics have produced.

  26. wmeyer says:

    “The idea is not to increase spending, it is try and deal with the structural inequality the economic theories such as Reagonomics have produced.”

    Sorry, faulty premise. Slowing the economy hurts everyone. Increasing taxes, and increasing minimum wage, both slow the economy. You cannot resolve the current mess basedon Keynesian theories.

  27. Supertradmum says:

    People fall into the fallacy of ad hominem when they have lost the rational argument.
    Fishwrap is fishwarp. No credibility.

    Most Catholics are so imbued with socialism they cannot spot it when it stares them in the face. Paul Ryan is an economic genius and one of the few voices which gives alternatives to bloated government. As Catholics, we need to consider these alternatives seriously. Sadly, the USCCB and other Catholic groups have fallen away from Catholic teaching regarding private property, fiscal responsibility, stewardship, the need of the individual to work with dignity and the fact that the state exists for the individual not the individual for the state.

    The Rand connection is the worst the press can do at this time to discredit Ryan, who is a credit to the Catholic vote. I heard him when I lived in Wisconsin. The man is great for the job of VP and one of the bright lights of conservative values out there.

    Remember, all the popes for the last 100 plus years knew the danger of anything but a true economic system based on natural law and individual rights and responsibilities.

    “They [socialists, communists, or nihilists] debase the natural union of man and woman, which is held sacred even among barbarous peoples; and its bond, by which the family is chiefly held together, they weaken, or even deliver up to lust. Lured, in fine, by the greed of present goods, which is ‘the root of all evils, which some coveting have erred from the faith’ (1 Tim. 6:10.3), they assail the right of property sanctioned by natural law; and by a scheme of horrible wickedness, while they seem desirous of caring for the needs and satisfying the desires of all men, they strive to seize and hold in common whatever has been acquired either by title of lawful inheritance, or by labor of brain and hands, or by thrift in one’s mode of life.” (Encyclical Quod Apostolici Muneris, December 28, 1878, n. 1)

    Destructive sect
    “…socialists and members of other seditious societies, who labor unceasingly to destroy the State even to its foundations.” (Encyclical Libertas Praestantissimum, June 20, 1888)

    Socialism cannot be reconciled with Catholic Doctrine
    “But what if Socialism has really been so tempered and modified as to the class struggle and private ownership that there is in it no longer anything to be censured on these points? Has it thereby renounced its contradictory nature to the Christian religion? This is the question that holds many minds in suspense. And numerous are the Catholics who, although they clearly understand that Christian principles can never be abandoned or diminished seem to turn their eyes to the Holy See and earnestly beseech Us to decide whether this form of Socialism has so far recovered from false doctrines that it can be accepted without the sacrifice of any Christian principle and in a certain sense be baptized. That We, in keeping with Our fatherly solicitude, may answer their petitions, We make this pronouncement: Whether considered as a doctrine, or an historical fact, or a movement, Socialism, if it remains truly Socialism, even after it has yielded to truth and justice on the points which we have mentioned, cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church because its concept of society itself is utterly foreign to Christian truth.” (Ibid. n. 117)

    and there is much more here–http://www.tfp.org/tfp-home/catholic-perspective/what-the-popes-have-to-say-about-socialism.html

    We need minds like Ryan’s to help us set up real solutions which can use Catholic teaching at base.

  28. whitej30 says:

    “Sorry, faulty premise. Slowing the economy hurts everyone. Increasing taxes, and increasing minimum wage, both slow the economy. You cannot resolve the current mess basedon Keynesian theories.”

    If theories such as Reagonomics truly worked then why did Paul Ryan vote for the bailouts? Bailouts are the antithesis of the free market. The system in place that believes in easing the way for the wealthy as a way to help the poor has failed, and needs to be altered to one that falls more in accord with natural law and Catholic Social Teaching.

  29. whitej30 says:

    “I don’t think giving people money which doesn’t really even exist except as a debt can really be according to Catholic social teaching either, as it seems clearly wrong to assume a financial obligation one can’t repay.”

    The question is how to undue the mess we are in. When there are people who will literally die (who are already dying due to unmet needs) without things such as Medicaid, the government feels the need to step in to try and cure the social infection. To take that assistance from the poor without an alternative already in place, while simultaneously easing the way for the rich, is wrong.

  30. southerncanuck says:

    Nothing intelligent to say except for that this made me really laugh.

  31. wmeyer says:

    “The question is how to undue the mess we are in.”

    Cut spending. Cut deeply. Ween our politicians off the notion of buying votes. Reagan was right: Government is not the solution, it is the problem.

  32. whitej30 says:

    Just so we are all on the same page, the Church’s Social Teachings on the economy can be found here:

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html#CHAPTER%20FOUR

    The entire compendium is a very good and very challenging read to any and all political stances.

  33. whitej30 says:

    “Cut spending. Cut deeply. Ween our politicians off the notion of buying votes. Reagan was right: Government is not the solution, it is the problem.”

    Who will care for the poor and the sick should the government cut their programs; are you willing to increase your charitable giving the percentage that Medicaid et al. spending is cut and give it to a charity of your choice?

    In terms of taxes: are saying there is no justification to increase revenue through a progressive taxation of the amount made over certain thresholds? For an unspecific example; increase to 5% for *only* the income over $250,000 a year, an additional 10% for *only* the income over $500,000, etc.?

    Our centrifugal economy will not stop it’s separating effects without direct intervention.

  34. wmeyer says:

    Yes, I am willing to give more, but not to government. The Church also teaches subsidiarity, and that is called for here.

    What I am saying about taxation is that if you wish to see the economy continue to lag, and unemployment go even higher, then by all means, raise taxes, and that is what will happen.

    Nothing in Church teaching posits that we keep increasing our spending of monies we do not possess. And as to the “rich”, the total amount you could gain even with 100% confiscation is a drop in the bucket at our current levels of spending. Our government is profligate and irresponsible.

  35. Fuquay Steve says:

    “whitej30″ The result of VII is the replacement of our true ruler with a secularist gov’t. It was an effort to show just how popular and current the Church can be, they ended up with replacing Jesus as our leader with secularism. If you claim that a secularist gov’t can alleviate the pains in this world, you are greatly mistaken. Secularist gov’ts are the cause of most of the ills and they can never alleviate them (for then they would be without a job).

  36. heway says:

    Elizabeth -I am with you and entirely agree. I have been inthe same positions as you and have survived! I look forwaard to casting a vote for Paul Ryan, who I judge as a mature informed catholic, to be inline with catholic social teachings. Many of the USCCB don’t know what they are talking about. Many have little or no experience in the world of ‘family’ finances.

  37. Indulgentiam says:

    whitej30: “Who will care for the poor and the sick should the government cut their programs;” The proposed cuts can be implemented without starving the poor. your argument fails to take into consideration the many, many, many government workers who are a DRAIN on the mismanaged, excuse me, criminally mismanaged public assistance programs. Cut the fat from these programs e.g county supervisors, district supervisors, state supervisors, board supervisors and so on and so on and so on, who have their mileage, food and hotel stays paid for by those tax dollars that should be going to the starving poor. brother you could millions.

  38. Sissy says:

    whitej30, the tax hikes you are advocating might be well-intentioned, but they would prove ineffective. When he was Treasury Secretary, Andrew Mellon once said “It seems difficult for some to understand that high rates of taxation do not necessarily mean large revenue to the Government, and that more revenue may often be obtained by lower rates.” This paradox has been demonstrated every single time it is attempted, and it will work again after Mr. Romney’s election. [casts eyes nervously from left to right in search of much-dreaded rabbit hole]

  39. AnAmericanMother says:

    whitej30,
    The government does not have a single dime that it did not take from a citizen in the form of taxes and fees. And government spending generates very little new economic activity, since it is disproportionately distributed to those who do nothing but move it around (bureaucrats and cronies) and those who do nothing but vote as they are told, and thus are functioning on a subsistence level.
    On the other hand, if taxes are reduced and money is left in the hands of those who earned it (although this administration would like you to think they all stole it), it is primarily reinvested in existing businesses and thus generates a great deal of economic activity in comparison to wasteful government spending (although this administration claims that they “didn’t build that”.) And that generates more actual revenue to the treasury.
    The president himself inadvertently acknowledged this in the 2008 campaign, when he was asked why he supported increased taxation because it reduced revenue. He did not deny that fact, but responded that the purpose of increased taxation was not to increase revenue but “fairness”. Occasionally the mask slips.
    Even if you were to confiscate not just the income, but all the assets of “the rich” — all of their houses and cars and boats and offices and retirement accounts — you could run the government for about two weeks, because there is basically no return on what this administration is pleased to call “investment” but is in fact just redistribution. And in doing that, you destroy not only “the rich” but all their businesses, their employees, their contract workers, and those who sold them goods and services.
    So you also lose all the economic activity that was associated with “the rich”. Nice going there.
    Remember the parable of the talents?
    As for the bishops, when they get into economic theory (which most of them do not understand), they have gone out of their area of expertise, and their opinions are about as valuable as my speculations on differential equations would be. As C.S. Lewis once observed, all a political sermon tells you is which newspapers are taken at the rectory (or the chancery, as the case may be.)

  40. bookworm says:

    “I lived for a couple of years at less than half the federal poverty level, with many children, and we were *never* hungry.”
    I’d like to know exactly how you did that. Did you have a backyard garden or a rural patch of property for growing your own food (not always possible if you live in an urban area)? Did you know how to can fruits and vegetables — which isn’t that hard to do, I’ve done it myself, but you do need proper canning equipment and a place to store everything. Did you have family, friends and neighbors helping you out? Not everyone has this kind of support; their families may all be deceased or live far away, and they may be too embarrassed or wary to ask neighbors or casual acquaintances for help.
    Yes, I agree that cooking from scratch instead of relying on packaged and processed foods can help stretch your food budget quite a bit. Those “microwaved burritos” can be easily made at home for a fraction of the cost and frozen for future use.
    That said, I wouldn’t be quite so quick to assume that hungry children don’t exist in America and if they do it’s only because their parents aren’t trying hard enough. It’s easy to assume that “because I did this, everyone else can too,” without stopping to think about how their situation might differ.
    I agree that we should NOT be trying to encourage dependence on the government in any way, and running up gigantic national debt and ruinous levels of taxation isn’t helping the poor.
    Still, there always needs to be a balance between total or primary reliance on government (which is plagued by mismanagement and corruption, since it is run by human beings subject to original sin) and total reliance on the private sector or on charities (which also are not immune to mismanagement or corruption, since they too are run by human beings subject to original sin) to assist the poor. If there had been a gradual shift away from the welfare state over the past 10 or 20 years, it would not now be necessary to suddenly impose drastic cuts in order to save the system from collapse.

  41. Widukind says:

    If I am not mistaken, did not several bishops stand up in their meeting this past June and take
    take the committee to task for making that statement about Ryan’s bugdet?

  42. etm says:

    To whitej30
    A couple of points under JFK a democrat and catholic, the top tax rates were slashed by more than half and the economy grew. Cardinal Dolan has made Statements that Ryan’s budget is not against Catholic Social teaching . Also can you tell me why people on assistance have a the lastest Xbox, cell phone or TV?

  43. wmeyer says:

    Let me say this very clearly: Government is overhead. Cost. No production. No valuable (marketable) products. Bureaus are staffed by government employees. With salaries above those of the private sector, and pensions about which the rest of us can only dream.

    When we give to charity, and the more local the better, we sidestep the overhead government creates. We deliver a higher percentage of our treasure to those who need it. Moreover, we do not give to the town drunk, but to the widow with children who needs it for clothing and food, not for alcohol. Subsidiarity includes local oversight and judgment. Government suspends both of those.

  44. whitej30 says:

    Fuquay Steve,

    If you reject Catholic social teaching you reject Catholicism. The faith is not a cafeteria where you can choose which article you prefer and which you don’t; you have to take it all at it’s core values or you are aren’t really considered following the Catholic religion.

  45. whitej30 says:

    wmeyer,

    “Yes, I am willing to give more, but not to government. The Church also teaches subsidiarity, and that is called for here.”

    Excellent. We should encourage our local diocese to speak on this issue should the passing of these cuts be imminent. We should also each be in contact with our local Catholic charities and inquire about where that additional penance would be most needed in light of the looming cuts.

  46. whitej30 says:

    I cannot reply to each individual. I will say that the USCCB has spoken about the morality of this budget, and I accept their prudential judgement.

    In terms of the extreme resistance to tax increases, especially for the wealthy;

    – the Church recognizes the right of the state to collect taxes.

    – The assertions on here that taxing will not generate significant revenue, even if true, is not a relevant reason not to have a progressive income tax. Those to whom much is given, much is expected of them. The unwillingness of those on the political right to compromise on taxes (the political left, of which I don’t consider myself a member, is willing to compromise on spending) is truly unfortunate, and the left will never back down until *all* are forced to carry the heavy load; not just the poor.

    – Sales taxes disproportionately harm the poor: Lets say I make $100 a day, and you make $10. At the end of the day, with my $100 I buy food, pay for rent and utilities, which are prices according to the market. You go home and do the same. Even if you pay a fifth the price for your necessary expenses, $6 instead of $30 (which would mean me living an absurdly lavish lifestyle – think about what kind of home you could afford 5x your monthly rent or mortgage payment, or spending 5X the amount you usually do at the grocery store), I still have $60 to your $4. Even if I lived that lavishly, I still come away with 15 times your disposable income.

    Spend time reading the gospels and meditate on Jesus’ radical charity, and his call for his disciples to truly empty themselves so others may live.

  47. eulogos says:

    Yes, when I lived at half the poverty level I did have land for a garden, and chickens,and we even raised pigs. I did learn to can. I got the equipment from a thrift store. My parents helped us one time when a car threw a rod, but not on a regular basis. They thought we had too many kids and should manage for ourselves. My husband’s parents pretty much didn’t want to know us.

    But earlier when I lived in a city, there were things I did such as ask at the grocery store for vegetables they were going to throw away and used them in soup, and also the man who came around with fish on a truck saved me all the fish heads he cut off and I made a fish stock from that. Just making food from scratch saves so much money.

    We did have really money worries, around broken cars, and paying for propane to heat hot water. (did without that one year, cooked and heated all water on the wood stove, which I also realize city people can’t do.) We often didn’t have snack food, or easy food. I spent hours cooking, and I don’t even really much like cooking. We didn’t have any medical insurance and although we were very healthy, I did have dental problems and had teeth pulled which could have been saved. I worried about the cost of a doctor’s visit and avoided taking kids to the doctor sometimes even when it would have been better for them to go. I struggled to find the money for one new pair of jeans and one new pair of sneakers for each child at a discount store before the first day of school. I am not saying there is no suffering in poverty, even poverty of the American variety. But we were never close to actual hunger. I never even had to go to a food pantry. So I wonder when I hear people talk all the time about “child hunger” in political arguments, how does this happen?

    I suppose in areas where people have really high rent costs, and then lose their jobs and try to live on unemployment, one could completely run out of money after paying all the bills. I do think food stamps are a good thing, as government programs go, and not the first thing to cut, for sure. Maybe not let them be used to buy soda and potato chips, but not cut them, until there is no where else to cut.
    Susan Peterson

  48. whitej30 says:

    “I do think food stamps are a good thing, as government programs go, and not the first thing to cut, for sure. Maybe not let them be used to buy soda and potato chips, but not cut them, until there is no where else to cut.”

    I am all for reforming the system; however Ryan’s plan in the first year only cuts certain food stamps and Medicaid; the rest of his proposals are simply decreasing spending.

    I like a lot of things in his budget, and I think it takes the deficit seriously as it is. The problem is it’s lack of balance on who will be suffering from the cuts.

  49. Phil Steinacker says:

    whitej30,

    You presume too much. Like most progressive Catholics, you err by presenting the false notion that adhering to Catholic social teaching is a matter of adhering to progressive solutions on a political level. This is an absolute misrepresentation.

    There is NO penance to be done for opposing the current budget of the US, a budget Democrats have been too cowardly to enact for nearly four years. Instead, they just keep spending other people’s money without authority, and that’s called stealing. And, BTW, you appear to be quite uninformed when you claim what the USCCB has allegedly said about Ryan’s budget is good enough for you. Let me school you in some particulars – and you can take this to the bank.

    First, Ryan’s bishop and ONLY his bishop – and NOT the USCCB – has authority over him. Father Z recently posted some clarity about that very line of authority, and it does not support your suggestion. If I were you I’d do a little fact-checking before my next post.

    Secondly, the USCCB DID NOT find Ryan’s budget immoral or outside Catholic teaching. It was an individual committee which issued its own opinion, and true to form progressive Catholics elevated that report to the level of Catholic Social Teaching. The bishops as a body did not voteon it one way or the other.

    Call it a lie, deceit, dissembling, whatever you will, but to say the USCCB took any position on Ryan’s budget is another in a string of deliberate liberal falsehoods. Whether you share in that deceit is beyond my knowing, but you purport to be something of a knowledgeable Catholic, so some burden falls upon your shoulders in this regard.

    Catholics are absolutely free to support budget cuts of ANY size because the Church NEVER takes a position on the details of social programs. No Catholic is bound by Catholic Social Teaching to support ANY government program – EVER, whichwould be tantamound to putting our faith in Caesar rather than God. And speaking of God, nowhere in Scripture can Christ ever be found to admonish us to give to Caesar so that Caesar might perform generous works with our own goods, any better than we can do. No, He instructs US to give to the poor directly and in the New Testament we are exhorted to give through the Church – but NEVER to government.

    You take liberties with Scripture and with Catholic Social teaching, and you are more than a little snide in daring to correct and preach to others when you have neither foundation or authority to do so. Moreover, I’m surprised you take the time to peddle your pseudo-Catholic Marxism with this crowd, whose menbers probably have forgotten far more than you actually know about such things. You are so NOT preaching to the choir here and have no hope of success; no one here will be lining up at the confessional to seek the penance you’d impose, although Father Z would love to see us there for all the right reasons. Lord knows he keeps at us enough about it (thank you , Father!).

    Perhaps you may find trolling elsewhere to be more fruitful. You DO want to be fruitful, don’t you?

  50. Ben Yanke says:

    Here’s the point that is so often forgotten: If the economy collapses due to the staggering debt, the poor will be hit the hardest, first and foremost through the disappearance of said “needed” programs.

  51. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Re: Ayn Rand — She’s well worth reading and mentally arguing with. She’s also useful as someone to read when you are stuck with nothing but socialism as an influence. And of course there are some people who go through an Objectivist phase and then grow out of it. Ryan would seem to have been one of these three groups of folks, since he says she got him to realize what he (already) believed. Sounds like the arguing kind of guy.

    Then there are folks who are Objectivists for life, who are usually easy to spot, because they have no discernable senses of humor. Ryan does not seem to be one of these folks.

  52. mike cliffson says:

    For Yuropeans , esp Brits:

    I am not familiar with any more than the outlines of Ann Rand, reputedly personally a disgrace with disgraceful opinions, but with great insight into the mechanisms of the threats to freedom , but we may have parallells. The BBC has but recently revealed a veto on a statue on its premises for George Orwell , penname of Eric Blair, stated reasons* pure BS .I have gone on record as considering “Animal Farm” and ” 1984″ as required reading for understanding of 20th cent totalitarianism. I add “Keep the aspidistra flying” which like it tho I do not as a book, is antiabortion and prolife. Far from sufficient, tho necessary, for the Spanish Civil War and its ramifications for anglosphere readers , is “Homage to Catalonia”.
    I personally treasure much of his other writing.
    In so much he is utterly in tune with catholic thought and priorities as applied to the world.
    In so much else he was utterly opposed to christianity , generally,and Holy mother church specifically , virulently, quite often publicly. One can make a case for saying that much of his work should NOT be read by any unlettered weakish catholic at all, nor uncritically without this in mind by catholics with broader learning.
    (*I don’t know what the Beeb objects to more in a former employee: daring to criticize Joe Stalin and the Sovs, being relatively proAmerican, being antiabortion, irreverence to the house (“you can look round portland place and count the whores”unquote)or what. They say “too leftwing”sic.)
    I ‘m no candidate for Public office, should I ever be , here’s the smear material handy.

  53. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    I spotted this from whitej30:

    “If you reject Catholic social teaching you reject Catholicism.”

    Now, I don’t think I do “reject Catholic social teaching”, but nonetheless I should be glad if he would explain what he means by those strong words and, particularly, point out which “social teaching” he thinks is taught dogmatically, as he implies.

  54. Supertradmum says:

    A few months ago, our great Pope Benedict XVI stated that there would be no poverty if every family adopted one poor person. How simple. How Catholic. The real issue is that Catholics do not take care of their own poor. There is still horrible judgement of those who are poor, as if economic failure is a sin and worthy of blame. That is the Protestant view, not the Catholic view.

    Truly, if Catholics even cared about those who cannot work or cannot get work, there would be no need for food stamps.

    The community needs to step in with housing and food. Even medical bills. God provides, but He expects His Own sons and daughters to reach out, and not depend on any government. This is our duty. Even those of us with very little can do something, even if it hurts.

    That is the radical Gospel, not socialism.

  55. wmeyer says:

    “If you reject Catholic social teaching you reject Catholicism.”

    Be careful in your judgments. A document from a committee at the USCCB is not “Catholic social teaching”, any more than your pastor’s homily is a dictate from the bishop. Before you come down hard like this, I suggest you check your hypothesis, verifying what you understand of “Catholic social teaching” in terms of the Catechism, and the Canons.

  56. AnAmericanMother says:

    Just another example of trying to make the church political.
    The oxymoronic “social justice ” crowd begin at the wrong end. They start with their political beliefs, then search through the Church’s teaching to find support for their beliefs, then wind up proclaiming that some non-authoritative committee of a non-authoritative body has delivered infallible Catholic Social Teaching which we all must support or be damned. Which just happens, oddly enough, to support the political belief they started with.
    A fairly useless and ultimately deceitful enterprise.

  57. wmeyer says:

    AAM: you have nailed it. And as I pointed out to whitej30, no committee document can override the teaching of the Magisterium.

    These are difficult times, when we must verify the veracity of what we are told, from almost any source. It may help us to remember that Arius was a priest.

  58. Andrew says:

    I grew up under Stalin’s iron rule. And I was always wondering how did the communists manage to win the popular support they needed. And now I know. They sweet talk people into it by pretending to care for the poor. The unspoken underlying principle of all social ideologies that smack of communism (call it socialism, liberalism, whatever) is greed. Simple as that. Everything they say has to do with a passion for plundering the public treasury.

    How about this for Catholic social teaching: “You shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

  59. SonofMonica says:

    AnAmericanMother has nailed this thing to the wall repeatedly in this thread. Good job.

  60. LisaP. says:

    I think there’s a good point there about removing federal assistance to the poor when other assistance is not in place. But I think it misunderstands the situation.

    The federal programs have actively pushed out private and local charity and actively discourage individual efforts. My husband and I have been astonished by two things: first, how actively the federal government discourages small businesses like the one that employs my husband and the one he is running himself; and, second, how much funding the federal government is willing to put into the hands of those of us with low incomes. Federal poverty programs are not a neutral thing, they are part of an overarching attempt to indenture the population to D.C.

    Given this, until those programs are reduced, there will never be other programs to take up the slack. It’s unfortunate, but there are two choices — dial back federal programs while trying to encourage privatization and localization and leave some folks in the air, hoping the net will be there when they fall; or perpetually and eternally have an underclass that consists of half or more of the population completely dependent upon the federal government for its subsistence.

    Many of the folks I know who are on one federal program or another would have been better off if those programs had never existed. But once the programs did exist, it removed their other options or altered those options so that they are no longer viable.

    As an example I’ve used before, my daughter has a pre-existing condition so we use a state high risk insurance for her. It is a private insurance administered by the state, we pay premiums each month for her. Costs have increased by 20% this year, benefits decreased. In part, this is likely because of the new portability clauses in the health reform bill. The folks who were previously on this program, expanding the pool, who can now get private insurance, have moved out of the program. These will only be those, of course, who can afford paying twice to four times the normal premium for private insurance (you didn’t think portability meant real portability, did you?). So the most wealthy in our pool have now moved out of it, leaving behind the less wealthy in a smaller pool. So, our costs go up. Eventually, if the reforms continue, the program will disappear. At that point, we will be too low income to qualify for federal subsidies for the insurance we are now buying and would buy for her, the costs will be too high for us, and we will be forced onto Medicaid.

    So, you see, the federal programs have set themselves up to ensure that other solutions cannot arise, or to club those solutions on the head when they do. That means it’s impossible to leave the federal programs as is until “better” solutions are available.

  61. wmeyer says:

    “So, you see, the federal programs have set themselves up to ensure that other solutions cannot arise, or to club those solutions on the head when they do. That means it’s impossible to leave the federal programs as is until “better” solutions are available.”

    Or until the economy collapses under the weight of all the accrued debt. Your assessment of government driving out, and keeping out, non-gov solutions is spot-on.

    We must choose between serious real cuts to spending with the reduction and elimination of bureaus, in a controlled situation, or the uncontrolled attrition which will come with collapse. Both will bring hardships, but I certainly know which I prefer.

  62. whitej30 says:

    Phil Steinacker:

    Thank you for the kind welcome.

    “You presume too much. Like most progressive Catholics,”

    I find this amusing, as I am not what is considered a “progressive Catholic”.

    “you err by presenting the false notion that adhering to Catholic social teaching is a matter of adhering to progressive solutions on a political level. This is an absolute misrepresentation.”

    If you read through the thread you will see this is not the case. I clearly said that certain bishops in the USCCB (I shorthanded USCCB later) found that the bill was not in accordance with Catholic Social Teaching, and I later cited the Compendium.

    “Secondly, the USCCB DID NOT find Ryan’s budget immoral or outside Catholic teaching. It was an individual committee which issued its own opinion, and true to form progressive Catholics elevated that report to the level of Catholic Social Teaching. The bishops as a body did not voteon it one way or the other.”

    When a committee comes out with several statements that state in no uncertain terms the immorality of parts of Ryan’s budget, referring to it as “the USCCB” is not inappropriate. Maybe I am mistaken, however it seems like it would make little difference to you anyway, unless you will be taking special consideration of the upcoming statements on the economy that the USCCB voted to release.

    “Catholics are absolutely free to support budget cuts of ANY size because the Church NEVER takes a position on the details of social programs.”

    Except they do. Ryan himself pointed to the USCCB’s (well, members within it anyway) analysis of the details of the HHS Mandate, and used that to state the “the bishops say…” about the morality of that mandate.

    “And speaking of God, nowhere in Scripture can Christ ever be found to admonish us to give to Caesar so that Caesar might perform generous works with our own goods, any better than we can do. No, He instructs US to give to the poor directly and in the New Testament we are exhorted to give through the Church – but NEVER to government.”

    I of course never suggested this. I said that to cut social programs for the poor without something in place to deal with the fallout, while simultaneously easing the way for the wealthy, is wrong. Keep in mind that the only reason the government is so largely in the Social Services racket is because of the lack of charity of this so-called Christian nation. Were there people there to take care of the poor and the sick, the government would have felt no need to step in and try and deal with the social disease that is poverty and vast inequality (which is not an intrinsically immoral action).

    “ …you are more than a little snide in daring to correct and preach to others when you have neither foundation or authority to do so. Moreover, I’m surprised you take the time to peddle your pseudo-Catholic Marxism with this crowd, whose menbers probably have forgotten far more than you actually know about such things.”

    You do realize this is a blatant as hominem.

    “You are so NOT preaching to the choir here and have no hope of success;“

    As thoughtful, open minded, and willing to have an intelligent debate without personal attacks as you clearly appear to be, there may be others here who are even more so.

    “Perhaps you may find trolling elsewhere to be more fruitful. You DO want to be fruitful, don’t you?”

    I don’t consider what I am doing trolling.

  63. LisaP. says:

    Eulogos, one tiny point about food stamps and junk food, I’m convinced that’s not in any way about the recipients (although many will, of course, indulge). It’s the food companies. They will not put up with food stamps being limited. I believe there are 40 million Americans on food stamps right now. If food stamps could only be used on nonprocessed foods, that would take a big chunk out of corporate profits for “value added” goods. :(

    As for the rest, I agree, we have been low income but we don’t usually do without food, so the rhetoric about starving children is disingenuous. But I also think many American children are malnourished because they rely upon government subsidies (school meals) for much of their sustainance.

  64. whitej30 says:

    wmeyer,

    “Be careful in your judgments. A document from a committee at the USCCB is not “Catholic social teaching”,”

    I never said this. I was responding to a rejection of “VII. THE FUNDAMENTAL VALUES OF SOCIAL LIFE” in the Social Compendium. To reject that outright is to reject Catholic teaching. Do you agree?

  65. whitej30 says:

    “We must choose between serious real cuts to spending with the reduction and elimination of bureaus, in a controlled situation, or the uncontrolled attrition which will come with collapse. Both will bring hardships, but I certainly know which I prefer.”

    You need to understand this in reverse as well. If the wealthy of this nation continue to accrue vast wealth (as has been the case of late), while others continue to be pushed into poverty, sickness and despair, then a destabilization of society occurs. This destabilization is poison for an economy.

    There is also a very simple fact that you can see played out daily in the desolate ghettos around our nation: those who are without have that much less to lose. When a man is denied justice, he will seek it out by whatever means he deems necessary. I am not saying this as a justification for those actions, I am simply stating a principle of human behavior that you can see played out across history.

  66. wmeyer says:

    whitej30, you really, really need to do some study of economics, and of the figures from the IRS on income distribution and the distribution of tax burden. Further, as has already been suggested to you, stealing from the rich won’t resolve our debt, nor even reduce it.

    The madness of endlessly growing government is the real issue, and must be corrected.

  67. Cathy says:

    Consider that $.70 of every $1.00 spent by the government to help the poor actually supports the bureaucracy. Of course, if you are part of the bureaucracy at the recipient end of the $.70, you will decry any cuts made to the bureaucracy and any increase in funding elsewhere, because, the money could be better spent on the poor. This is the insight of Judas, whose great concern was not “the poor”, he held the moneybag and was a thief-he materially benefited from contributions for the poor. The vow of poverty has greater force when it is a vow of solidarity with the poor, not the bureaucracy which depends upon the poor for its existence. My nephew has a great attachment to nice shoes, and he tends his own with great care. The other day he spotted a man walking barefoot and when asked why, the man replied, I have no shoes. He took off his shoes and gave them to the man. I am not here to tell you what a great Catholic he is, in fact, he is one for whom preaching has become an occasion of argument, anger and resentment, and so his family resorts to prayer. Is it odd to find God’s generosity in responding to a prayer with a man without shoes? Why did Our Lord tell us that we would have the poor with us always?

  68. Sissy says:

    whitej30, I think you lack an understanding of poverty in the US, in general. First, “living in poverty” is a very fluid concept. Many of us are poor at one period in life, and then move up out of that status. Second, being in a status of poverty is often self-inflicted though bad choices. The easiest way to fall into poverty is to have a child out-of-wedlock. Single mothers and their children account for a huge proportion of our nation’s poor. But even that can be a short-term disadvantage. Those who are locked into multi-generational poverty are people who have been greatly harmed, not helped by misguided government policies which aim to alleviate their plight in the short-term, but end up locking those families into perpetual poverty. That isn’t social justice, it’s cruelty. Our policies should be aimed at helping people move out of poverty as quickly as possible; instead, they aim to create a permanent underclass.

  69. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Andrew, you grew up under Stalin’s rule or during Stalin’s rule?

  70. robtbrown says:

    whitej30,

    Disagree on many points:

    1. I have long been dismayed as the income tax question being posited as rich vs poor. “Rich” or wealthy refer to assets, not income. There are people who have the assets to be considered rich or wealthy but are able to limit their income.

    2. Obamaco wants to raise taxes on those making $250,000 and above. That would include dentists and physicians who finally were able to pay off their school loans (e.g., $150,000 or more). I would hardly say those people are rich. It also would likely include my sister and her husband. She is a nurse, he a retired Army LTC (Airborne Inf Ranger, Green Beret, 3 tours in Vietnam and 4 Purple Hearts).

    I will say, however, that I have no objection to the govt raising the taxes of Lebron James.

    3. I know of no Catholic social teaching that endorses Bismarck style govt. Do some bishops object to the Ryan budget? Perhaps, and I have to 0.wonder what their plan is for stimulating the economy. For that matter, what is their plan for stimulating the Church? Most are running dioceses with few priestly vocations. And most also have Catholic schools whose tuition middle class people can hardly afford.

  71. Supertradmum says:

    robtbrown, obviously, many Catholics have not read the Popes on economic and social justice. As you say, there is nothing in the encyclicals which smacks of over-taxation or big government. On the contrary….

  72. robtbrown says:

    whitej30 says:

    You need to understand this in reverse as well. If the wealthy of this nation continue to accrue vast wealth (as has been the case of late), while others continue to be pushed into poverty, sickness and despair, then a destabilization of society occurs. This destabilization is poison for an economy.

    And what is causing this situation? The answer is simple: Technology. Those who benefit from it are doing well. Those who don’t are doing poorly. Technology has replaced scads of middle class jobs with computers, and this will not abate. Technology has provided the communication platform for outsourcing jobs, manufacturing and otherwise.

    These are problems that cannot be remedied by raising tax rates in the upper incomes.

    There is also a very simple fact that you can see played out daily in the desolate ghettos around our nation: those who are without have that much less to lose. When a man is denied justice, he will seek it out by whatever means he deems necessary. I am not saying this as a justification for those actions, I am simply stating a principle of human behavior that you can see played out across history.

    NY Dem Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said years ago that the fed war on poverty in the inner city was going to have the reverse effect it intended. He is, BTW, much missed on the Sunday news programs where he would actually try to give thoughtful responses to questions rather than canned sound bites created by someone whose talent is selling corn flakes.

  73. wmeyer says:

    “NY Dem Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said years ago that the fed war on poverty in the inner city was going to have the reverse effect it intended.”

    Moynihan was a thoughtful and realistic guy. These days, I would submit that most of the FedGov’s actions yield results in opposition to the declared intention.

  74. wmeyer says:

    “To reject that outright is to reject Catholic teaching. Do you agree?”

    First, I have said nothing of rejecting outright any Church teaching. What I have said is that to my knowledge there is no Church teaching which supports spending money we do not have.

    In addition, however, to the specific implication of your question, the Compendium is not given as an infallible teaching, nor does it appear to have been given as binding on all the faithful. So really, you imply something which is not appropriate to the issue.

    I can heartily recommend Henry Hazlitt and Thomas Sowell as reliable writers on the economic issues. In particular, Sowell’s Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy is an excellent first volume. It really is pointless to discuss budget tweaks when the whole spending plan is based on printing money–that only creates inflation, impoverishing us all.

  75. Southern Catholic says:

    My question is; why is it wrong for him to dismiss said bishops statement, while it is not wrong for Paul Ryan et al. to dismiss the many bishops in the USCCB who have found that his budget is not in line with Catholic Social Teaching?

    Many bishops? Bishops Morlino, Dolan, and Aquila have been out spoken about this issue stating that this is not a non-negotiable issue, and that there is room to have different approaches to helping the poor. Moreover, only Morlino has teaching authority over Ryan since he is Bishop over Madison, not the USCCB.

    Were there people there to take care of the poor and the sick, the government would have felt no need to step in and try and deal with the social disease that is poverty and vast inequality (which is not an intrinsically immoral action).

    Prove that statement.

  76. wmeyer says:

    “Were there people there to take care of the poor and the sick, the government would have felt no need to step in and try and deal with the social disease that is poverty and vast inequality (which is not an intrinsically immoral action).”

    I will assert that you cannot prove that statement. We have had churches and charitable neighbors since long before the FedGov (wrongly) decided it had constitutional authority to make chattel of citizens. When tax rates were low, neighbors and churches and other charities all provided support to those who needed it.

    Also note that while it is clear from the Gospels that we are obligated to charity, I find nothing there, or in Church teaching, to suggest that our personal obligation is fulfilled by government taking.

  77. Joe Magarac says:

    whitej30, you have repeatedly claimed that either the USCCB itself or certain bishops who are members of it have stated that Ryan’s budget is not in accordance with Catholic social teaching. I asked you to identify the bishops by name and if possible by document, but you haven’t done so. Could you please do so? I want to educate myself, and I can’t do that without seeing the sources.

    You also claimed that the problem which these unidentified bishops had with Ryan’s budget is that it proposed to eliminate social programs on which the poor rely and to provide nothing in their place. That is not my impression of what Ryan’s budget does. I thought that it proposed to continue to provide promised benefits for a certain period of time (e.g., people who are now 55 or over would get traditional Medicare) while then providing similar benefits in a new framework thereafter (e.g., people under 55 would get subsidies to buy insurance on the open market when they reach they age at which, under the prior system, they would be eligible for Medicare). The rationale for doing this is that Medicare will be eliminated as unaffordable if it is not changed, which would deprive seniors of a benefit that they need under Catholic Social Teaching, so changing the system gives future seniors something rather than nothing. Do the unidentified bishops address this at all?

  78. amfortas says:

    Thank you whitej30 for taking up the baton. I withdrew because I felt I was invading on a particularly American debate. Odd of me to say this really as I provoked much of this thread. I just want to reiterate one of the points I tried to make yesterday. Conservatism and radical libertarianism are not the same thing, although they may appear to be so from an American perspective. If you accept this – and many in this thread will not – then it’s clear that much of what Ryan says is a long way from Catholic social teaching. Similarly with wmeyer’s views. Whatever else they are, they are not conservative.

  79. whitej30 says:

    “whitej30, you really, really need to do some study of economics, and of the figures from the IRS on income distribution and the distribution of tax burden.”

    This is not an argument. It’s like me saying: “you should really, really go work with the poor in the United States, and look at income disparity and poverty levels and how they have been affected by Reagonomics et al.”

    You have also yet to explain why Ryan (or anyone in the GOP) would have voted for the bailouts had their economic theories held any weight.

    “Further, as has already been suggested to you, stealing from the rich won’t resolve our debt, nor even reduce it.”

    The Catechism makes clear that taxation is not stealing; to imply otherwise is dishonest. I am talking about taxing the wealthy (who have benefited from privilege and the services provided by the state) and using that money to build up the rotting ghettos infrastructure. This will of course in turn improve the economy; however that is beside the point, as it is wrong to allow that kind of vicious inequality to exist. Look up the Universal Destination of Goods in both the Catechism and the Compendium.

    “The madness of endlessly growing government is the real issue, and must be corrected.

    There are problems with spending, yes. There is also a problem with income inequality which encourages the cycle of poverty and the cycle of privilege. Look at the IRS statistics and see which two income classes are least mobile: the wealthy and the poor. As in the poor generally stay poor and the rich generally stay rich. The middle class can go either way, however if you are a minority you are more likely than your white counterpart to be downwardly opposed to upwardly mobile.

    “First, I have said nothing of rejecting outright any Church teaching.”

    I didn’t accuse you of this; I was responding to another commenter.

    “the Compendium is not given as an infallible teaching, nor does it appear to have been given as binding on all the faithful. So really, you imply something which is not appropriate to the issue.”

    So you are saying we are free to disagree as we please with the tenants laid out in the Catechism and Social Compendium?

  80. wmeyer says:

    “Similarly with wmeyer’s views. Whatever else they are, they are not conservative.”

    Do tell. I agree that Libertarians and conservatives are different. I am very conservative, and in some respects lean toward libertarian. But in terms of a scale, the old notion of right and left are now of little use. At this stage in our existence, a scale with freedom on one end and totalitarianism on the other is more realistic, and I know precisely where I am on that. The proper role of government, any government, is to serve, not to rule.

  81. LisaP. says:

    I agree that the income disparity is a huge problem, not to mention a huge weirdness.

    I mean, I have no problem with me delivering pizzas for a tenth the salary of the guy who runs IBM. Even a hundredth, maybe, I guess. But is his contribution really so much more valuable than mine and are his skills really so much above mine that he should be getting, what? Forty times my salary? A hundred times? At some point, putting hot food into the hands of a hungry person has a worth that should be valued more reasonably, and moving assets about and reducing labor costs and keeping in touch with department heads has a worth that should be valued more reasonably.

    But again, our present system of federal poverty programs is what has *caused* this disparity, so it cannot fix it.

    What pizza delivery guy would possibly have put up with working all day every day to keep his family alive on a salary of $25 a year with no benefits if he knew Joe S. that just got a pizza from him was making $2 mill a year working not any harder and not much smarter? There’s your injustice, there’s your revolution. But our federal government takes $30,000 or so from Joe S. and gives pizza guy $10 a year in earned income tax credits, $10 a year in food stamps, and $10 a year in Medicaid for his family. So he can keep his family alive and buy a few pieces of junk made in China and buy cable, and he is satiated.

    Read Belloc. Prophet, that one.

    So, yeah, income gap is a huge deal. Caused by 40+ years of federal social engineering. That’s why it’s getting worse and worse, instead of better and better.

  82. LisaP. says:

    Oops, my numbers are wiggy. But you get the idea.

  83. whitej30 says:

    “I asked you to identify the bishops by name and if possible by document, but you haven’t done so. Could you please do so? I want to educate myself, and I can’t do that without seeing the sources.”

    Copy and pasted from where I posted this above when I responded to you earlier:

    From their website, with links to the individual letters (emphasis mine):

    “In April 16 and April 17 letters to the House Agriculture Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee addressing cuts required by the budget resolution, Bishop Blaire said **“The House-passed budget resolution fails to meet these moral criteria.”** Bishop Blaire also wrote that cuts to nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP- food stamps) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) will hurt hungry children, poor families, low-income workers and other vulnerable people. Additionally, he wrote that if cuts to the federal budget need to be made, savings should first be found in programs that target more affluent and powerful interests.”

    http://www.usccb.org/news/2012/12-063.cfm

  84. wmeyer says:

    The Catechism makes clear that taxation is not stealing; to imply otherwise is dishonest. I am talking about taxing the wealthy (who have benefited from privilege and the services provided by the state) and using that money to build up the rotting ghettos infrastructure. This will of course in turn improve the economy; however that is beside the point, as it is wrong to allow that kind of vicious inequality to exist. Look up the Universal Destination of Goods in both the Catechism and the Compendium.

    The “rich” (an undefined term) already pay out of all proportion to what they earn. Increasing that is, in fact, theft, and does, in fact, further slow the economy. Taxation is not theft; inequitable taxation can be. And the poor are the first to be hurt in a slow economy, so you are at odds with your goals. “Vicious” inequality is another undefined term, utterly without merit in a rational discourse.

    Look at the IRS statistics and see which two income classes are least mobile: the wealthy and the poor. As in the poor generally stay poor and the rich generally stay rich.

    Wrong again. The relative proportions remain essentially constant, but mobility is certainly a factor. You cling to shibboleths which have been discredited long ago.

    So you are saying we are free to disagree as we please with the tenants laid out in the Catechism and Social Compendium?

    You have conflated two quite different things. The Catechism is Church doctrine; the Compendium is not.

    There is no progress to be made here, so long as you insist upon putting the cart before the horse. If we do not soon curb our spending, all else will be academic.

  85. wmeyer says:

    “So, yeah, income gap is a huge deal. Caused by 40+ years of federal social engineering. That’s why it’s getting worse and worse, instead of better and better.”

    Amen to that. The Great Society was to eradicate poverty. Instead, it was the inception of cancerous growth in government, and we have now a higher percentage of population below the poverty line than before. The FedGov routinely makes worse whatever it touches, generally in pandering to the uneducated and economically illiterate, buying votes.

    Raising the minimum wage increases unemployment, and because many union contracts are automatically inflated by such increases, it also increases inflation. Double whammy.

    Hazlitt, Hayek, Friedman, Sowell, Williams, Riesman, so many good authors, read by so few.

  86. wmeyer says:

    “Bishop Blaire said **“The House-passed budget resolution fails to meet these moral criteria.”**”

    And you do understand, I hope, that no “House-passed” bill is the product of a single author? Ryan may have been the lead man in public view, but you may be sure he had to compromise with others to achieve anything.

  87. Joe Magarac says:

    whitej30, thank you. I read the USSCB statement authored by Bishop Blaire. I don’t know how I missed your earlier reference to it.

    I’m not sure that I agree with your characterization of that statement, however. You referred to “many bishops in the USCCB who have found that [Ryan’s] budget is not in line with Catholic Social Teaching.” The USCCB’s statement was only written by one bishop, Bishop Blaire. It was written on behalf of a committee, but it doesn’t identify the committee members as having signed on to it or supported it. Moreover, it critiques one aspect of the budget – which would have reduced future increases in spending on food stamps – and not the budget as a whole.

    It is also worth noting that after Bishop Blaire made that statement back in April, the USSCB met in June, and more than one bishop expressed concerns at that June meeting about what Bishop Blaire had written in April. Bishop Boyea and Archbishops Naumann and Vigneron said that Bishop Blaire’s statement was overly partisan and that the bishops were not competent to make statements about economic policy (as opposed to the general principles that would inform such policy).

    In short, I think the most you can say is that the US bishops are divided about whether Ryan’s budget is in line with Catholic social teaching.

  88. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    Whitej30 said

    “The Catechism makes clear that taxation is not stealing; to imply otherwise is dishonest.”

    I think that’s a straw man – perhaps he didn’t express himself clearly (an easy mistake to make online, more so when tempers are inflamed, as appears to be the case here). It’s clear that Church teaching is that Christians must submit to legitimate authority, and that legitimate authority may (I suppose, in practice, must) raise taxes. I don’t suppose anyone here disagrees in principle.

    Nonetheless, there is an ignoble tradition, in Britain at least, of confiscatory taxation; of taxation as punishment. And there comes a point where the level of taxation is not justified, and could well be described as stealing. I think of it as extortion, of demanding money with menaces. I wish that our lords and masters would more often bear in mind that we are forced, whether we like it or not, to hand over large parts of our treasure, to be used in ways over which we have almost no control. What is the difference between this and a protection racket? It must be something to do with the legitimacy of the state and its actions, the proportionality of its demands, and the consent of the governed. And these are not guaranteed, as any faithful Catholic must surely be aware.

    The catechism also says (oh! in the same clause!) that it is “morally obligatory” to exercise the right to vote, for the same reasons that we must pay taxes – to exercise responsibility for the common good. I think that’s what those people here are doing who, like me, think that taxes should be as low as possible and that the state should do as little as possible – they are engaging with political issues and some of them (shock! horror!) are even considering voting for a platform which they think will lead to reduced taxes, a platform promoted by a faithful catholic in good standing. Good for them. I hope they’re not disappointed.

  89. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    I’m still waiting for a reference to dogmatic social teaching, by the way.

  90. Cantor says:

    (X) A good place to start is in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 2419 et seq.

  91. Indulgentiam says:

    whitej30:”I of course never suggested this. I said that to cut social programs for the poor without something in place to deal with the fallout, while simultaneously easing the way for the wealthy, is wrong. Keep in mind that the only reason the government is so largely in the Social Services racket is because of the lack of charity of this so-called Christian nation…”
    This is an attempt to incite class warfare the M.O of communists. They spread this crud thick and liberally on the uninformed. The gullible, Heaven help them, repeat it ad nauseam. I have worked for the government helping the poor for quite a few years. I can tell you with all certainty that if these programs were cut and the cuts begin from the top down not a single poor person will feel it. Maybe you will argue that the cuts won’t begin from the top down and perhaps for a while they won’t. But just wait till the ladies with 6 kids from different fathers start raising a shrill cry and the bleeding heart media gets wind–this is the nightmare that haunts every bureaucrat. the picture you have in your head of the woman whose husband died and left her unprovided for with 10 kids to feed is just not the rule anymore it is in fact the rare occasion. Most of the people i help are addicted to the system. I agree with one or actually many of the posters here who say that the government actually encourages this dependence. for instances, lets take the 51 year old woman with cancer who has been working since she was 13. she goes in for surgery and things go wrong. she can not return to work for a while so is put on SSI. after a couple of years and rounds of radiation she wants to return to work. But here comes the government telling her that if she earns ANY money at all she will no longer be eligible for medicaid. And therefore the medicines that are literally keeping her alive will not be paid for. Now this woman has to wait till someone will hire her full time and with benefits. She could work part time for a while and work her way up to full time but not if she dies for lack of meds. In this economy and at her age the chances that someone will hire her with benefits are slim and none and slim left town. Everyone knows that the rate of government spending is unsustainable. somebody needs to take a cleaver to some of these government programs. Ryan is suggesting a paring knife, ok well, we gotta start somewhere. as for the USCCB, i don’t trust much, if anything, they say considering the many times they’ve flip flopped. they’ve got a real credibility problem.

  92. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    Dogma? A primary source? Something that might sustain “If you reject Catholic social teaching you reject Catholicism.”?

    There’s nothing in that section of the CCC that can help us make a concrete judgement on all but extreme political or economic programmes. (And that’s exactly how it ought to be, if you ask me.)

  93. whitej30 says:

    X, I am not sure what you are asking. If you look above I have explained what I was referencing in that quote.

  94. whitej30 says:

    “The Catechism is Church doctrine; the Compendium is not.”

    The Compendium is simply an elaboration of the Catechism.

  95. whitej30 says:

    “Bishop Boyea and Archbishops Naumann and Vigneron said that Bishop Blaire’s statement was overly partisan and that the bishops were not competent to make statements about economic policy (as opposed to the general principles that would inform such policy).”

    They said it *appeared* partisan by some economists and laity, and they said that humility is required when speaking on issues that are not strictly dogma. I don’t think those are the same thing.

    I don’t think you can even say that they are divided, however. I have seen no bishop defend it or speak in favor of it. I have only seen very vague statements about Bishops roles and Ryan’s good character and the need for further discussion.

  96. wmeyer says:

    When a conservative “elaborates” a liberal calls it spin. the Compendium is an elaboration, an interpretation and extension of what is in the CCC, but does not impose the same obligation on the faithful. Apples and oranges.

    And still you persist in ignoring the elephant in the living room. I’m done in this thread.