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  #46  
Old Jul 13, '11, 9:01 am
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Suudy Suudy is offline
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Default Re: Pastors plead: Don't cut aid to poor

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Originally Posted by Raskolnikov View Post
You take for granted that a lower organization is capable of doing what the federal government is doing. This is a point that must be demonstrated, not assumed.
Nobody said "a lower organization". Indeed, I think many envision hundreds of lower organizations. And such organizations would be able to do it with less overhead, greater efficiency, and much greater care. Again, from Centesimus Annus:
By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending. In fact, it would appear that needs are best understood and satisfied by people who are closest to them and who act as neighbours to those in need. It should be added that certain kinds of demands often call for a response which is not simply material but which is capable of perceiving the deeper human need. One thinks of the condition of refugees, immigrants, the elderly, the sick, and all those in circumstances which call for assistance, such as drug abusers: all these people can be helped effectively only by those who offer them genuine fraternal support, in addition to the necessary care.
The government is incapable of understanding and satisfying needs beyond material needs. And the federal government is the least responsive, the least efficient, and the farthest from those it assists.
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  #47  
Old Jul 13, '11, 9:10 am
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Default Re: Pastors plead: Don't cut aid to poor

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Originally Posted by BraveNewFamily View Post
You understand that all these entitlement programs make up more than 1trillion of the federal budget. Some of them need to be cut.
If I'm not mistaken, the big entitlement programs are Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare. These aren't what is being discussed, correct? Each of these could have a thread all to itself, I'd imagine.

Just for the record, I'm all for eliminating government waste and duplication, if necessary by eliminating entire Departments (Education, Homeland Security). I also think we should probably pull out of the United Nations along with our funding. I also don't see much use in foreign development aid, since it is almost always used as a political tool.

That ought to add up to something.
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  #48  
Old Jul 13, '11, 9:12 am
BraveNewFamily BraveNewFamily is offline
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Default Re: Pastors plead: Don't cut aid to poor

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Originally Posted by tomarin View Post
If I'm not mistaken, the big entitlement programs are Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare. These aren't what is being discussed, correct? Each of these could have a thread all to itself, I'd imagine.

Just for the record, I'm all for eliminating government waste and duplication, if necessary by eliminating entire Departments (Education, Homeland Security). I also think we should probably pull out of the United Nations along with our funding. I also don't see much use in foreign development aid, since it is almost always used as a political tool.

That ought to add up to something.
I agree with that except for the department of homeland security.
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  #49  
Old Jul 13, '11, 9:14 am
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Suudy Suudy is offline
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Default Re: Pastors plead: Don't cut aid to poor

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Originally Posted by tomarin View Post
Here's a definition of subsidiarity I found online by Brad Miner (I added the bold):

Subsidiarity: A term (the Latin subsidium for aid, help) from Roman Catholic social philosophy which expresses the view that, whenever practicable, decisions ought to be made by those most affected by the decisions.
Why look online, when you can go straight to the Catechism and how the Church defines it?
1883 Socialization also presents dangers. Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which "a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co- ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good."
Then, taking that, read Quadragesimo anno and Centesimus Annus (which, of course, 1883 is derived).

Further, your emphasis on "whenever practicable" implies that you think it impracticable for the federal government to relinquish its hold on social programs. This is the source of disagreement. I hope that you would agree that if communities of a lower order were capable to take on the administration and funding of needed social programs that they should do so. So, for the sake of argument, let's say that indeed it is currently not practical for the states, local governments, and private groups to take on these roles. What then should we do? Maintain the status quo? Or do we make efforts to reform?

The point here is that the federal government should focus its policies on strengthening the social sectors and business systems so that they are capable of taking upon themselves these programs. And it should slowly transition these programs to communities of a lower order as they grow.
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  #50  
Old Jul 13, '11, 9:16 am
Raskolnikov Raskolnikov is offline
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Default Re: Pastors plead: Don't cut aid to poor

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomarin
Just for the record, I'm all for eliminating government waste and duplication, if necessary by eliminating entire Departments (Education, Homeland Security). I also think we should probably pull out of the United Nations along with our funding. I also don't see much use in foreign development aid, since it is almost always used as a political tool.
Not to mention that it generally doesn't appear to work very well.

I agree though. There is much to cut. Military spending for example is much higher than it needs to be, but this is rarely talked about. Why programs for the poor would be the first thing one would think to cut is a puzzle to me.
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  #51  
Old Jul 13, '11, 9:20 am
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tomarin tomarin is offline
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Default Re: Pastors plead: Don't cut aid to poor

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Originally Posted by Raskolnikov View Post
Not to mention that it generally doesn't appear to work very well.

I agree though. There is much to cut. Military spending for example is much higher than it needs to be, but this is rarely talked about. Why programs for the poor would be the first thing one would think to cut is a puzzle to me.
Because they aren't an organized constituency.
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  #52  
Old Jul 13, '11, 9:27 am
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Default Re: Pastors plead: Don't cut aid to poor

I am disappointed to see so many ministers buy into the idea that we can fulfill our obligations to care for the poor merely by voting for people who promise to do it for us.

. The government is incapable of charity since they have no money of their own to provide. Voting for somebody to take other people's money to care for the poor does not fulfill our obligation to care for the poor, in fact for a Catholic it would seem to violate the doctrine of subsidiarity
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  #53  
Old Jul 13, '11, 9:28 am
JonNC JonNC is offline
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Default Re: Pastors plead: Don't cut aid to poor

Quote:
=Raskolnikov;8109206]
It is a common misunderstanding that everyone who supports government programs to help the poor thinks of taxes as "forced charity." It's not charity at all, and to a certain extent it shouldn't be a matter of choice.
It certainly isn't a matter of choice in the sense that it is a command of Christ.

Quote:
Willingly helping people in need is charitable. But to a certain even, a just society (or one that aspires to be just) should accept that, below a certain level of poverty and need, it is obligatory to help people. Feeding a man who is starving to death when you have an abundance of food is not ust a nice thing to, it should be obligatory, and not doing so and letting him die is not just abstaining from abstinence, it is negligence.
This is "America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." And I agree with Tocqueville. However, while feeding a starving man may be obligatory in a moral, ethical, Christian sense, it is not so in a Constitutional sense. Two things we must NOT assume is, 1) that government has this role (it does not), or 2) government is the only institution capable of filling this need (it is not, and in fact may be the least effective).

Quote:
I'm not saying that every social progrm provides a service comparable to feeding a man who is starving to death, and some doubtless unnecessary or even detrimental, but the fact remains that a certain amount of aid should be obligatory and not merely left to whims of the fortunate.
I am not opposed to a safety net, but even that is not the role of the central government, not constitutionally.


Quote:
And when there aren't enough pastors and soup kitchens?
Then it is up to we in the laity to full that gap.

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  #54  
Old Jul 13, '11, 9:30 am
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tomarin tomarin is offline
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Default Re: Pastors plead: Don't cut aid to poor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suudy View Post
Why look online, when you can go straight to the Catechism and how the Church defines it?
1883 Socialization also presents dangers. Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which "a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co- ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good."
Then, taking that, read Quadragesimo anno and Centesimus Annus (which, of course, 1883 is derived).
So Brad Miner got it wrong? He goes on in the article to state that "This is not to suggest that Catholic social theory (especially as read in papal encyclicals) is always in favor of the minimalist state" which is kind of my point here. I think subsidiarity is misused when it's presented as a kind of excuse for libertarian, pull yourself up by your bootstraps social policy.

Quote:
Further, your emphasis on "whenever practicable" implies that you think it impracticable for the federal government to relinquish its hold on social programs. This is the source of disagreement. I hope that you would agree that if communities of a lower order were capable to take on the administration and funding of needed social programs that they should do so. So, for the sake of argument, let's say that indeed it is currently not practical for the states, local governments, and private groups to take on these roles. What then should we do? Maintain the status quo? Or do we make efforts to reform?
Really my reason for getting involved in this thread in the first place was that I find it strange that on a Catholic message board people would object to a group of pastors asking legislators to preserve funding for programs that aid the poor. There's some cognitive dissonance there for me.

It seems to me you see the need for belt-tightening at the federal level as an opportunity for strengthening programs for the poor and underprivileged at the local and state level. I would think that a time when local governments are squeezed for cash is the worst time for that sort of experimetation, especially when it could result in real human suffering.

Quote:
The point here is that the federal government should focus its policies on strengthening the social sectors and business systems so that they are capable of taking upon themselves these programs. And it should slowly transition these programs to communities of a lower order as they grow.
In an ideal world, yes. There's a general need for local communities to become more autonomous economically, socially and culturally. I'm not sure how you reverse that trend, but I think you can do it without making the poor bear the brunt of our budget woes.
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  #55  
Old Jul 13, '11, 9:31 am
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Suudy Suudy is offline
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Default Re: Pastors plead: Don't cut aid to poor

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Originally Posted by Raskolnikov View Post
I agree though. There is much to cut. Military spending for example is much higher than it needs to be, but this is rarely talked about. Why programs for the poor would be the first thing one would think to cut is a puzzle to me.
Because it is the largest portion of the budget. Military spending is smaller than entitlement spending. You can look at the proposed FY12 budget and see:
  1. Mandatory spending (SS, Medicare, Medicaid, TARP, etc) runs $3.699 trillion
  2. Military spending (lumped into Security) runs $881 billion
We are spending more than 3x on entitlements than on military. Even if you cut the entire military budget, it wouldn't cover the deficit (according to the document above, the 2012 deficit is $1.09 trillion). There is no way around it. Entitlement spending must be cut.
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Last edited by Suudy; Jul 13, '11 at 9:41 am.
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  #56  
Old Jul 13, '11, 9:44 am
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Lifesong Lifesong is offline
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Default Re: Pastors plead: Don't cut aid to poor

Jim Wallis and his "gospel" being preached from my Methodist's Church's pulpit as we were all asked to sign petitions to Congress in the sanctuary last Fall was one factor in making me rethink my church. I actually walked out and said to a friend, that is all well and good but if this church really wants to stand for social justice why aren't we standing up for life? I guess God was telling me even before I realized it I was meant to be Catholic-LOL! Anyway, no one wants to see the budget balanced on the backs of the poor and safety nets need to be maintained but this government has gotten SO out of control and I find Mr. Wallis and his lobbying to be nothing but more scare tactics as Obama threatens the poor and aged that their social security checks won't go out. Sorry, will stop being political now- I am new here and not yet a full Catholic

Val
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  #57  
Old Jul 13, '11, 10:06 am
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Default Re: Pastors plead: Don't cut aid to poor

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Originally Posted by tomarin View Post
So Brad Miner got it wrong?
No. I just think the conclusion you drew from it is wrong. Of course, I may be misunderstanding your point. I understood your point to say it is impossible for the federal government to get out of the business of administering and funding social programs. I don't read Miner's "whenever practicable" to imply anything other than a temporal meaning. It may be impracticable right now, but that doesn't mean it won't ever be. And it seems to me you think it won't ever be.

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Originally Posted by tomarin View Post
He goes on in the article to state that "This is not to suggest that Catholic social theory (especially as read in papal encyclicals) is always in favor of the minimalist state" which is kind of my point here. I think subsidiarity is misused when it's presented as a kind of excuse for libertarian, pull yourself up by your bootstraps social policy.
I don't see that point of view being espoused at all. I see, rather, people suggesting that the federal government get out of the business of social safety nets. I don't see anyone here suggesting any type of complete hands-off, "libertarian, pull yourself up by your bootstraps social policy", but rather social policy that conforms to the concept of subsidiarity. What we have now with SNAP, SS, Medicare, Medicaid, WIC, Department of Education, Department of Energy, NIH, etc clearly "interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order".

However, as to Miner's point about the minimalist state, I do think he recognizes that it isn't practical to have every social service be privately administered or funded. But that these services should come from the most proximate level, which precludes federal involvement in nearly every way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomarin View Post
It seems to me you see the need for belt-tightening at the federal level as an opportunity for strengthening programs for the poor and underprivileged at the local and state level. I would think that a time when local governments are squeezed for cash is the worst time for that sort of experimetation, especially when it could result in real human suffering.
Again, I'm not suggesting we cut people off. The only "real human suffering" would occur in suddenly stopping those WIC checks, SNAP funding to the states, or refusal to fund Medicare or Medicaid. However, reductions in the funding of these programs may not cause severe suffering. For example, tightening the eligibility requirements for SNAP or WIC will only affect those at the top of the income scale. Or increasing co-pays or deductibles, or even refusing to pay, for certain types of coverage under Medicare (e.g. Viagra) and Medicaid can reduce costs with minimal affects.

The point is that any opportunities to do any belt-tightening can occur without leaving the most needy and vulnerable out in the cold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomarin View Post
In an ideal world, yes. There's a general need for local communities to become more autonomous economically, socially and culturally. I'm not sure how you reverse that trend, but I think you can do it without making the poor bear the brunt of our budget woes.
But making this happen won't be by "making the poor bear the brunt of our budget woes." That will already happen, regardless of any efforts to shift the burden from the federal government to communities of a lower order. There must be a cut in spending. The point is that the government should (and can) make this effort independent of any funding. And indeed, by doing so, it would reduce the demand upon the federal government, making our budget woes less.
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  #58  
Old Jul 13, '11, 10:16 am
NotCrazyDan NotCrazyDan is offline
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Default Re: Pastors plead: Don't cut aid to poor

Welcome, Lifesong, and bring your friend along too. It never gets too crowded in here .
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  #59  
Old Jul 13, '11, 10:30 am
Ridgerunner Ridgerunner is offline
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Default Re: Pastors plead: Don't cut aid to poor

I wonder who these pastors think the "poor" really are. Perhaps I missed something, but the cuts I am reading about are in middle class welfare and bureacratic incompetence, not aid to the truly poor.
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  #60  
Old Jul 13, '11, 7:28 pm
St Francis St Francis is online now
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Default Re: Pastors plead: Don't cut aid to poor

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Originally Posted by Raskolnikov View Post
Some people are under the impression that by cutting aid to the poor and using the money to lower capital gains tax or something, the money that ends up in a middle class or wealthy stock portfolio or bank account will somehow feed the poor. Maybe in a decade or two if investment finally picks up and production follows and they can finally get better jobs, but those are a lot of ifs, and even those ifs don't help those who are poor today anyway.:
Your description of some people's impression may be accurate, but the impression is wrong. The reason we need to cut federal spending is that we keep going deeper into debt each year. It's like a family putting 40% of its expenses on credit cards, and never stopping.

These debts will need to be paid. Those who will be paying off the $14,000,000,000,000 debt are our children and grandchildren. We are *each* already $42,000 in debt, which is $168,000 per family of four, the price of a house in many areas.

So all this talk of cutting back is *merely* understanding that we are going deeper into debt every day, not that if ee cut entitlement programs we'll be able to lower taxes. It's if ee don't do something to fix this problem, we will end up spending *all* our revenues to pay back the debt, with nothing left over for those in need.

Two additional facts: for every dollar collected for welfare, only 27 cents actually gets to a pooor person. Do you give to charities which use 77% of what you give to spend on administratiion?

And Sojourners is run by a pro-abortion liberal who is trotted out to give a religious spin by NPR.
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