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Homeless people in Washington, D.C., just a few blocks from the White House.

 

 

"If you close your ear to the cry of the poor,

you will cry out and not be heard."

 

Proverbs 21:13

 

 

Image:copyright 1995 philg@mit.edu
 

Sojourners: Christians for Justice and Peace

 

February 22, 2005

Budgets are Moral Documents!

On February 7, President Bush released his proposed 2006 federal budget. In addition to projecting record deficits and increases in military spending, the budget proposes major cuts to domestic programs that benefit people living in poverty.

This budget reflects a set of priorities that stand in clear opposition to biblical values. Spending more money on nuclear warheads and tax cuts that benefit the rich is not a strategy that would be affirmed by the biblical prophets-and the proposed cuts to low-income programs will not even realize the president's stated goal of reducing the deficit.
 

Some of the proposed changes include:

  • Making permanent the tax cuts of 2001 - 70% of which benefited the top 20% of U.S. citizens
  • The elimination of block grants that aid poor communities
  • Making it more difficult for working poor families with children to be on Medicaid
  • A $355 million cut to programs that promote safe and drug-free schools
  • An 11% cut to housing and urban development programs
  • The elimination of 48 educational programs
  • The elimination of funding for vocational education

As we have said many times, budgets are moral documents. Paying attention to the poorest among us is arguably the most central biblical imperative. Making permanent the tax cuts that benefit the richest among us is not a biblically ordained strategy.

Moreover, the president's proposed cuts and changes to low-income programs will not succeed in reducing the federal deficit. Reports released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities show that tax legislation and defense spending have done far more to increase the budget deficit than spending on domestic programs.

When considering a document as important as this one, it is imperative that Congress take time to consider its impact on people living in poverty. Urge your members of Congress to consider this budget's effect on the poor.

Sources:

The Washington Post:
2006 Budget Proposal: Agency Breakdown

The New York Times:
Bush Unveils Budget that Favors Security Over Social Spending

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities:
CBO Data Show Tax Cuts Have Played Much Larger Role than Domestic Spending Increases in Fueling the Deficit

Founded in 1971, Sojourners is a Christian ministry whose mission is to proclaim and practice the biblical call to integrate spiritual renewal and social justice.

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