What exactly are our moral obligations here?
Fr. Robert Sirico from Acton tells me:
There are three important things any legislator must base his decisions on: First, our responsibility to future generations requires that we keep our fiscal house in order. Second, the dignity of individual citizens must be protected by allowing wealth-creating institutions to flourish and respecting the importance of voluntary charitable associations. Third, he should remember the limits of the federal government as set forth in the Constitution.
Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. This needs to be remedied, or we’ll face the sort of fiscal meltdown that has caused so much havoc lately in the European Union. Are America’s problems like those of Greece, Portugal, and Ireland? Not exactly. But we can cause severe economic problems with misguided policies that will suffocate growth, further depress job creation, and push millions farther away from any hope of rising out of poverty. Another more subtle consideration is to reflect on the impact such policies have on the culture — on individual initiative and the work ethic. It is not a bad thing for a society to have a cultural and moral bias in favor of productive work and to sanction the easy acceptance of charity and welfare payment when these are not necessary and when one can provide for oneself. That old-fashioned notion about the American Dream is what’s at stake today.
A prudent and discerning legislator will look down the road into the future and will vote in a way that allows America’s opportunity society to continue to flourish. Both a short-term and a long-term fix are needed in order to deal with the problem of our national debt.
Fr. Sirico also takes on the latest Jim Wallis effort here.
I am curious what you all think about this contentious, confusing debate, and how it connects to the coming elections …