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Apr 11 2011

A Savvy and Compassionate Budget, Balanced by 2030

Today’s budget debate is as much about the moral imperatives of governance in the modern world as it is about accounting.  Here I offer the outlines of a budget that I believe is moral—as well as savvy and which balances the budget by 2030.  My budget is quite different from the one currently in the news. 

Representative Paul Ryan, a Roman Catholic Republican from Wisconsin, this week submitted a proposed budget plan that illustrates the moral concerns at stake.  Ryan’s budget (which looks very likely for passage this week in the House of Representatives) does address appropriate concern for what America’s current fiscal irresponsibility poses for our children and grandchildren.  But, it does so slowly, not balancing the budget until 2040.  I wanted to move faster than that. 

What really should be a point of reflection, though, is not Ryan’s pace, but rather his methods.  The Congressman reaches his balance by imposing significant cuts on programs to the most vulnerable American populations, ends Medicare for the elderly and replaces it with a limited voucher system, dramatically reduces the funding for Medicaid and turns it over to the states, diddles a bit with Social Security, cuts even further the taxes on incomes above $250,000, and increases spending on defense (even as our Mideast involvements wind down).

This spring, the Fellows of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies have enjoyed fascinating discussions of the basic principles of Catholic social teachings.  I wondered, accordingly, if such principles (solidarity, subsidiarity, stewardship, preference for the poor, just peace) might be employed in application to budgeting. 

 

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1 comments - Posted by Stephen Schneck at 2:40 PM - Categories: Economy