When House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his Medicare-ending, safety net-gutting 2012 budget plan last year, he was slammed by faith leaders who denounced his cuts to programs that aid the poor and middle class. Ryan released the 2013 version of that budget yesterday, and he is again facing criticism from a diverse group of faith leaders.
Ryan often says it is “morally wrong” not to address America’s debt, but faith leaders like Bishop Gene Robinson said the budget Ryan crafted fails basic moral tests. “The Ryan budget robs the poor, the marginalized and the vulnerable of the safety net so integral to their survival,” Robinson said. “By any measure of civility and regard for one’s neighbor, it is an immoral disaster.”
Father Thomas Kelly, a Catholic priest and constituent of Ryan’s, felt similarly:
“As a constituent of Congressman Ryan and a Catholic priest, I’m disappointed by his cruel budget plan and outraged that he defends it on moral grounds. Ryan is Catholic, and he knows that justice for the poor and economic fairness are core elements of our church’s social teaching. It’s shameful that he disregarded these principles in his budget.”
That the GOP cuts vital programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and other safety net programs while giving tax breaks to the richest Americans is “immoral” and “unconscionable,” other leaders said. “The poor are not statistics,” Rabbi Jackie Moline said. “Whatever one thinks of Congressman Ryan’s ideas, it is unimaginable to look into the face of a child who would go hungry without government assistance and say, ‘Sorry — we need to reduce the deficit.'”