What Would Jesus Cut?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Reducing the deficit seems like a matter of strict dollars and cents, not one of religion. But this week, voices on both sides of the political fence have evoked God and morality in fighting for budget cuts. On Sunday, Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner addressed the National Religious Broadcasters convention, and talked about the moral implications of the deficit as an unfair burden on coming generations. On Monday, two dozen Christian leaders came out on the other side of the issue, placing a full page advertisement in Politico with the headline: "What Would Jesus Cut?" The argument was presented that the moral test of a society is how it treats its poor.

Reverend Jim Wallis, President and CEO of Sojourners and author of "Rediscovering Values: A Guide for Moral and Economic Recovery" is one of the underwriteres of the Politico advertisement, who argues that the budget is a moral document because it sets priorities.

Charles Walcott, professor of political science at Virginia Tech, says that historically religious arguments have been implemented by conservatives for ethical, not fiscal issues, whereas liberals have taken the stance of social responsibility found in John Boehner's rhetoric and that we may be seeing a shift in this debate.

Professor of Political Science at Virginia Tech




Professor Charles Walcott and Reverend Jim Wallis

Comments [8]

jjny03 from CT

"Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's."

Mar. 16 2011 04:29 PM
brian from tennessee

Jesus would cut three members of the Legeslatives along with thier chiefs who falsified documents on me,put a football helment on my head,sent me to the hospotal with a busted ear, took my money,denied me medical treatment,and hideing it from the plublic to make sure the other person gets elected to do the same thing.i am homless!.

Mar. 02 2011 12:13 PM
a Veteran for Peace from Oregon

A majority of the Discretionary budget is War .. Armaments Procurement and maintenance and troops for military presence in hundreds of bases around the world.

The Arms traders, the banksters and Wall street and similar people in other nations .. don't have their names on headstones in Arlington National Cemetery, or the War Graves of Flanders in Belgium, or Yugoslavia, or countless other scenes of carnage,
but their need for immense profiteering from looting the common treasury has filled each and every one of them.

Mar. 01 2011 10:55 PM
Bryan Cleveland from Miami

Why is the debate on the budget, moral or not, focused on cutting spending? There are two sides of the budget equation: Tax revenues and expenditures.

While expenditures have increased since we had a balanced budget in 2000, revenues have greatly decreased as well. If the Government collected the same percentage of GDP in tax revenues in 2009 as in 2000, revenues would have been approximately $900 billion greater.

If we are going to talk about morality and sacrifices to balance the budget, then put it all on the table. To me talking about asking lower and middle income folks to sacrifice while at the same time we are extending tax cuts that mostly benefit the wealthiest is not a shared sacrifice.

The debate today seems to simply ignore the revenue side of the equation as if increasing revenues via a tax increase is simply not an option.

Mar. 01 2011 10:51 AM
amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

@ listener - How do you think poor areas get help from their respective U.S. local, state, and federal governments?

Oh yes, through taxes constitutionally levied by elected who then set policy, bureaucrats (e.g., cops, teachers, Pentagon officials, VA doctors, teachers, etc.) who are hired and given a budget to carry out policy programs to serve the citizens, political-policy advocates/special interests getting (and often not) some of their programs enacted.

Is it perfect? No, but it's our American democracy. I'm all for the public financing of all candidates to get the huge amounts of special interest money - the primary method of swaying elected officials - out of the game. Are you with me?

The way you characterize of U.S. tax expenditures sounds less like what the U.S. has always done over its history and more like some kind of foreign direct investment to another country from the U.S., something you might agree with as suggested by your tone. Tea into Boston Harbor anyone?

Mar. 01 2011 10:18 AM

Morality? What happened to all the recent lectures on civility and how do they apply to the tone of protests last week?
If you have poverty in your community, is it moral to send millions of dollars a thousand miles away to Washington DC so bureaucrats, politicians and their political supporters can all get their cut until a fraction of the money comes back to help those it was intended to help? Is it not more moral and efficient to keep money as close to a community as possible and send money to DC for things the community can not do for itself like support a military? Before evoking the Bible let us try to understand the US Constitution first.

Mar. 01 2011 08:25 AM
Peg from USA

Jesus would cut the bailouts, bonuses and tax breaks for the top 1%. Then he would cut the defense budget and all welfare programs for the wealthy (tax breaks, subsidies, credits...), then he would cancel any further expenditures on any walls separating our borders, then he would get rid of all the unnecessary middlemen taking their cuts (bribes) on necessary services (water, food, health care, energy...). Then he would cut US fossil fuel consumption. Then he would rest and reassess.

Mar. 01 2011 08:19 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Jesus would cut the money to planned parenthood. Other things are debatable.

Mar. 01 2011 07:29 AM

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