Catholic Republicans to Catholic Bishops: STFUPosted: April 19, 2012 | |
On Tuesday I wrote a post about Paul Ryan’s claim that his Catholic faith informed his budget plan.
The Conference of Catholic Bishops responded to this outrageous claim by sending letters to every Congressional Committee affected by the Ryan Budget explaining that Catholic doctrine does not support starving children and elderly people to death in order to give tax cuts to rich people and buy more weapons of war for the Pentagon.
Today Paul Ryan responded to the Bishops’ criticism.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Thursday dismissed criticism from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), falsely claiming the group did not represent all Catholic bishops.
Referencing Matthew 25, the USCCB called on Congress to put the poor first in budget priorities and rethink cuts to programs that benefited the least among us.
“These are not all the Catholic bishops, and we just respectfully disagree,” he said on Fox News after being questioned about the bishops criticism of his budget plan.
Later the Bishops responded to Ryan’s statement by explaining to The Hill:
USCCB spokesman Don Clemmer told The Hill that the letters do represent all Catholic bishops, as they were penned by members of the church that were elected to represent the bishops on policy matters at the national level.
“Bishops who chair USCCB committees are elected by their fellow bishops to represent all of the U.S. bishops on key issues at the national level,” Clemmer said. “The letters on the budget were written by bishops serving in this capacity.”
Yesterday, fellow Catholic John Boehner weighed in in support of his budget hit-man:
“I want them to take a bigger look,” Boehner said at a Wednesday press conference. “And the bigger look is, if we don’t make decisions, these programs won’t exist, and then they’ll really have something to worry about.”
Hmmmm…that sounds like a threat.
Boehner, a Catholic, acknowledged that the bishops had a moral argument in pushing to preserve aspects of the budget that provide aid to the poor, but said if the United States can’t get its finances in order, those programs would be completely eliminated through a fiscal crisis.
“There won’t be these programs, and I don’t know how often some of us have to talk about the fact that you can’t spend $1.3 trillion more than what you bring in — that’s what’s going to happen this year, $5 trillion worth of debt over the last five years — and think that this can continue,” Boehner said.
It seems that the opinion of Conference of Catholic Bishops is to be respected on abortion and birth control, but not on economic and social justice issues. I guess Ryan and Boehner are only “cafeteria Catholics.” Just look how Ryan responded last year when a fellow Catholic offered him a Bible so he could read about Jesus’ teachings.
Not a Catholic, but apparently not wanting to look less of a soulless, evil skinflint than Ryan and Boehner, Eric Cantor suggested the solution to the country’s economic problems is raising taxes on the poorest of the poor.
The GOP has repeatedly made the claim that the poorest Americans need more “skin in the game.” Today, response to a question by ABC’s Jon Karl, Cantor made it clear that Republicans are interested in raising taxes on the poor while lowering tax rates for everyone else as part of any comprehensive tax reform plan:
CANTOR: We also know that over 45 percent of the people in this country don’t pay income taxes at all, and we have to question whether that’s fair. And should we broaden the base in a way that we can lower the rates for everybody that pays taxes. [...]
KARL: Just wondering, what do you do about that? Are you saying we need to have a tax increase on the 45 percent who right now pay no federal income tax?
CANTOR: I’m saying that, just in a macro way of looking at it, you’ve got to discuss that issue. … How do you deal with a shrinking pie and number of people and entities that support the operations of government, and how do you go about continuing to milk them more, if that’s what some want to do, but preserve their ability to provide the growth engine? … I’ve never believed that you go raise taxes on those that have been successful that are paying in, taking away from them, so that you just hand out and give to someone else.
As Think Progress points out, most of the people who don’t pay income taxes are students, elderly people receiving lower amounts of social security, or people so desperately poor that they don’t earn enough to pay taxes. These people are, however, subject to many taxes, such as gas taxes, property taxes, and federal payroll taxes if they are working.
I wonder what FDR would say about all this?