In a front page article written by Binyamin Appelbaum and Robert Gebeloff which appeared in The New York Times on February 12, a gentleman was described as being
anti big government. He printed tee shirts for his local Tea Party affiliate, and says he doesn’t need or want help from the government.
Yet, the article said, he gets a payment from the government every year, a subsidy for working families called the “earned income tax credit,” “he has signed his three school age children up to receive free breakfasts,” paid for the by the federal government, and his mother, who had to have hip surgery twice, is on Medicare – again, a federal program.
This kind of situation is not the exception, but, rather, the rule, and I am finding it harder and harder to listen to GOP presidential contenders talk about how they will slash domestic spending because it represents big government. At the end of the day, politicians are not telling people the truth, but, rather, what they want to hear. The people are not clear on what “big government” is, and politicians are allowing their ignorance to remain, because their lack of knowledge is the pot in which raw emotions fester, and politicians know that many an election has been won by stirring the right pot with the right emotions.
Are people really thinking about what would happen if the host of government benefits we all take so for granted suddenly were not there? What WOULD happen to our elderly if Medicare were no more? The Times article said that “dozens of benefits programs provided an average of $6,583 for each man, woman and child in 2009, a 69 percent increase since 2000.” The article said that older people get most of the benefits, primarily through Social Security and Medicare. So, if we cut domestic spending, how would “the least of these,” in this case, the elderly, get by?
Rick Santorum said that while Jesus wanted people to help poor people, social justice creates lazy Christians. That statement was stunning in and of itself, but it is disturbing and misleading and leads Americans to visualize “the poor” as lazy and probably members of a minority group. Like it or not, there are certain buzz words that get self-righteous Americans stirred up about who “the American taxpayer” is helping…but what is not being discussed or highlighted is that, again according to the Times article “the poorest households no longer receive a majority of government benefits.” Now it seems that the doling out of government benefits has been more focused on saving the slowly dying middle class.
There is no doubt that the nation’s economy, in fact, the world’s economy, is in horrible shape. GOP presidential hopefuls who want to beat President Obama cannot be pleased that the economy seems to be getting better, albeit slowly. That fact takes the wind out of their argument that the Obama administration is a “failed presidency,” but they still beat the drum that the biggest reason, or one of the biggest reasons the economy has pitted is because of big government and reckless government spending.
Somebody needs to be bold and tell the truth about what is going on. Rick Santorum looks like a clean-cut, all-American choir boy, and he stands on his Christianity, but Christianity i.e., the following of the Christ – demands a social conscience and a heart for “the least of these.” Santorum has not voiced the truth that “the least of these” is a group growing larger and larger as the income disparity between rich and poor gets wider and wider. William Sloan Coffin once said that what the “Christian community needs to do above all else is to raise up men and women of thought and of conscience…” Merely advocating for slashing of needed government programs, at the expense of people who have been the backbone of this country, providing the labor and services that made wealth possible for so many, would seem to be immoral, unethical …and un-Christian.
Santorum is talking a lot of religion lately, going so far as to say President Obama has a “phony theology.” I do not understand that phrase, but what I do know is that the Jesus in the scriptures I read would not condone the wealthy getting more wealthy while more and more people are falling deeper and deeper into financial ruin, with the threat of what little help they have hanging over their heads.
I cannot believe God is pleased with what is going on.
A candid observation.