CatholicVote members respond to the budget crisis and Medicare reform

Faithful Catholics often are stereotyped as caring about one or two issues at the expense of everything else. At one level they are right. Abortion and marriage are indeed foundational, and they will always be of primary concern for us.

But does this mean that Catholics must remain silent during the debate over how to reform the federal budget, or how to reform the entitlement programs that are bankrupting our country? Of course not.

That’s why I asked CatholicVote members what they thought of recent scare tactics that suggest any attempt to reform Medicare spending means sending Grandma over the cliff. (The picture on the right is taken from this horrific ad.)

The responses have been pouring into my inbox. Here are a few:

“People of faith know that they are personally obligated to help the poor, feed the hungry — Jesus made this clear. We cannot and should not abdicate that responsibility to any government. A fiscally responsible government sets the stage for a strong country with a strong citizenry that is free and able to help all its members.”

-L. Smith, North Carolina

“I was thrilled to receive your email and happy to hear an intelligent Catholic finally talk about being frugal and financially responsible without being afraid of being called insensitive to those in need. We are quickly becoming a country who will not be able to help anyone in need because we will be completely bankrupt.”

-J. McMahon, Illinois

“Whatever happened to personal responsibility? I am 68 years old and still working. I think many seniors have a sense of entitlement. They seem to feel that they are entitled to retire at 65 and be supported by the state.”

-J. Minnott, California

Yes, I am one of the Grandmas–age 67, and am benefitting from these programs. I worked my whole life (was a Catholic school teacher) and paid into these programs. However, I am willing to forego some of my benefits to help balance our budget and keep my children’s livelihoods from being taxed beyond belief to pay for all the entitlements.

-J. Moore, Kentucky



  • tony

    I guess my Bible is different from Brian’s. I guess the Jesus I read about is a completely different person. I don’t remember Jesus having any great relationship with the religious leaders and the political leaders of His day. In Matthew 22 I remember Him saying “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s”. This passage was a result of being questioned about paying taxes. But, in James 1, the Bible also tells us, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world”. The former is political, the latter is spiritual.

    Regardless of how noble or corrupt governments are, they will never be perfect because they are human. On a much higher level than government could even be, God gives each of His children a spirit of compassion to “look after orphans and widows”. We aren’t born with such compassion. It is a gift from God. This gift is the evidence that you are indwelled by His Holy Spirit. Nothing you do can ever attain such a gift. God gives man compassion. Those without this gift act accordingly and they will never understand it. Those without this gift think charity is nonsense and folly and they tend to look for any reason to avoid it. Those who have the gift of compassion aree truly blessed. God has chosen to move these gifted people beyond “self” and to care and love others without any preconditions. God loved us even while we were sinners. God gave us His son to save us and He didn’t require anything in return. God had compassion upon his creation. What better way to honor and thank God for His gift of grace than to share it with others. Compassion. If God has given you this gift, you have truly been blessed. Grace is defined as the free and unmerited favor of God. The people in Government who authored and supported programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid had one motive in mind. They considered themselves blessed by grace and they wanted to share those blessings with others by grace. Nothing in return, just garce!

  • PatriotGal

    I remember WWII and we ALL sacrificed so the USA would win the war to end all wars! We did without food, clothing, gasoline, butter, etc., so “our boys” could have what they needed. Mothers/women went to work in factories to help our soldiers. Girdle factories retooled and began manufacturing weapons or aircraft. We were successful because we ALL pulled together for the USA. Once again, we must ALL do the same. We must all sacrifice so programs will continue and not be drained dry so needed help will be there. But we must ALL sacrifice, not just seniors – Congress, all employees, all corporations, all welfare recipients, etc. Every program must be cut so we can regain our economic status again or we will die to China and debt. Increased taxes and continuing to spend is NOT the answer. CUTTING SPENDING is the answer and if it means cutting medicare and SS, so be it. The new Obamacare healthcare bill being forced down our throats will do more than cut medicare – it is meant to control our lives and the government will make all the decisions. No thank you – look what the government did to the mail system, to cash for clunkers, etc. Let’s ALL work together for our beloved America.

  • tz1

    Of course some islamofascist will blow up granny if we don’t keep troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and maybe add Yemen to the list. And we need more cold-war weapons like the B2 bomber. And naked porn security scanners.

    Or can we have the same kind of discussion about the empire and pentagon as you are suggesting about entitlements?

    And all the NONviolent drug offenders would do something to granny – I’m not quite sure what – if they were released…

    Or can we have a discussion on the failed drug war and the terrible things we are doing in foreign countries that de-legitimizes their governments and creates drug-lords? Why keep the DEA and ATF unless you think we need an occasional Waco TX.

    Maybe we should instead have a war on the upper management of the Wall Street banks – they have damaged the economy and are the cause of a lot of the evils. Claw back their fraudulent bonuses instead of paying them more bonuses after the taxpayer has to rescue them.

    But lets get to medicare – Part D has a provision where the government can’t bargain for a better price. If granny needs a hip, either she doesn’t get one, or has to get one approved by the FDA (really expensive, when it could be made for a fraction of the price), have it implanted by a licensed member of the AMA – that restricts the number of doctors – all in an approved hospital. It would be far cheaper to fly granny to India and back to get it there, but Big pharma and the medical-industrial complex won’t permit that any more than going to Canada to get drugs at 1/10th the cost. How about removing the East India Style grants of monopoly (aka patents) for eldermed? No, lets not suggest that.

    I doubt anyone else here will put anything meaningful other than entitlements on the table. But that is exactly the problem. If you want entitlements to be negotiable, everything else must also be negotiable. Subsidiarity is a good way of saying things should be done at the state level. Then there’s the just war doctrine that all but prohibits preemptive war (and I don’t see getting involved in civil wars “over there” as being in any way just). The criteria are in the catechism. But what size military do we need for that? And shouldn’t Europe pay to keep Europe safe? Same with Japan?

    Balanced meals mean eating a bit from all sides of the cafeteria. You still are a “cafeteria catholic” if you only ingest ideas from the side to your right.

  • mlerc2

    Where is CV’s editorial about GE and other corporations paying no taxes to help with the deficit? My income from SSA into which I paid for 30 years is $500 away from poverty level, and Cong Ryan’s plan wants to take away the donut hole exemption? Wants to bankrupt my kids by making them buy insurance on the open market? Where is the CV editorial on what those costs would actually be?

    • Joe

      mlerc2. There have been articles here that touch on tax breaks. Mr. Crowe just posted one recently. I’m not quite sure what the “donut hole exemption” is. But, if it’s another tax break, how can you call for keeping it while removing a break from GE shareholders at the same time? We’re never going to get anywhere cleaning up the tax code if everyones position is that all tax breaks should be removed except for their own. How do you think that forcing insurance companies to compete with each other in a larger market is going to bankrupt your kids? As it currently stands, insurance companies hold regional monopolies, can target a small group of decision makers (employers) and rely on consumers of health care being separated from the costs. That system is going to bankrupt your kids. Not Ryan’s plan.

  • Joe

    Liberals used the same rhetoric and scare tactics when Republicans created the welfare reform bill for Clinton to sign in 1996. Fortunately, he did sign it into law and poverty rates in the US decreased.



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