Sunday, July 31, 2011

Debt, Taxes and Faith

All of the political wrangling over the debt ceiling is ultimately a conversation about values and our faith has a lot to say about such values.

First, the largest contributor to the increase in the debt in the last several years has been the Bush era tax cuts which largely favored wealthy people. The next largest contributor is the wars and military budget. Some politicians are now saying that the debt is a serious problem but are unwilling to restore taxes or heavily cut into the military budget. Instead they want to cut funds for programs for programs which protect the health and safety of citizens especially the poorest citizens.

It seems likely that the “crisis” of the debt limit will bring about reductions in vital programs. This hits at a time when cities counties and states are all reeling from the lingering recession. This is the worst possible time to cut funds for the poor. If anything, the federal government should be pouring money into building low-income housing, improving schools, hiring more teachers, supporting renewable energy, etc… All of these things would provide resources and jobs for the people who need them. Instead we will be lucky if these programs are not cut too severely.

The inexorable logic of greed is rapidly shifting resources into the hands of those who already have more than they need. This stands as the complete reversal of Jesus’ call to share resources with one another and especially with the poor. Jesus offers the logic of love which moves the world towards the peace that comes from justice. Jesus condemns the hording of wealth as an act in contradiction to will of God and calls on people to share what they have so that all may be fed.

This week we celebrate the feeding of the 5000. In that story, Jesus gets the disciples to share what little they have so that all may be fed. In the end, there is way more food than anyone needs. Sharing leads to abundance. This is the logic of love.

Unfortunately the voices calling for true faithfulness in terms of our national budget receive little attention in the corporate media. That means we are called to use our grassroots forms of communication. Talk it up wherever you can.

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