Catholic bishops are lining up to protest against Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget as he gives a guest lecture today at Georgetown University. Catholics United will stage a protest and 59 Catholic leaders and theologians that took issue with Ryan’s claims already signed a scathing letter that slammed the Ryan budget plan:
“Simply put, this budget is morally indefensible and betrays Catholic principles of solidarity, just taxation a commitment to the common good. A budget that turns its back on the hungry, the elderly and the sick while giving more tax breaks to the wealthiest few can’t be justified in Christian terms,” argue the signatories.
“Our problem with Rep. Ryan is that he claims his budget is based on Catholic social teaching,” said Jesuit Fr. Thomas J. Reese, one of the organizers of the letter. “This is nonsense. As scholars, we want to join the Catholic bishops in pointing out that his budget has a devastating impact on programs for the poor.”
The Catholic leaders problems with the Ryan’s budget is the same problem most reasonable Americans have with it. It includes a proposal to take 280,000 children off school breakfast and lunch programs and $33 billion in cuts to SNAP – the Food Stamp program. It also includes a provision that makes it more difficult for illegal immigrants to claim child tax credits- a credit the bishops called “one of the most effective antipoverty programs in our nation.”In a letter to the Agriculture Committee, the bishops urged lawmakers to reject “unacceptable cuts to hunger and nutrition” programs for “moral and human reasons.” They said spending cuts should instead be made to subsidy programs that “disproportionately go to large growers and agribusiness.”
The Catholic bishops are right. The Ryan Plan also includes $800 bio in cuts from Medicaid. That’s healthcare for the poor. These are people who are sick and hurting and there is going to be a lot less money to take care of them. The cuts to the Food Stamps program by 20% will lead to more hunger in the United States. These are radical cuts the country has never seen before. How can Ryan and the GOP support cuts to Food Stamps and school lunches but insist that the 2010 budget include tax cuts on multi-million dollar estates which, by the way, will add $11.5 bio to the deficit this year? Is this really where America is heading? Give more and more to the rich and whatever crumbs are left to the poor and seniors.
The conference of bishops are all over Ryan on this – and by extension Mitt Romney and the conservative media. How interesting too, that just a few weeks ago when the bishops were attacking President Obama over a women’s right to have contraception covered by insurance providers, the GOP and conservative talking heads were giving the bishops accolades. Now however, they don’t want to listen to the bishops who are saying Ryan’s plan is out of touch with Catholic teaching.
The wolf is at the door. If the Republicans are elected and they get Congress they will enact the Ryan plan. A plan that will be devestating to the poor and will shred our country’s social safety net the way a paper shredder shreds junk mail.