Time: Paul Ryan's Budget Not What Jesus Would Do

From the moment House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan was announced as Mitt Romney’s running mate, many Democrats have gone into panic mode because they actually must now defend the fact that ObamaCare is partially paid for with Medicare funds taken directly from today’s American seniors, and the fact that, under President Obama, the administration has been spending recklessly without a budget in sight.

What to do now that Mitt Romney has the most knowledgeable and articulate expert in federal budgets on his ticket? The answer seems to be an unending series of attacks against Romney and Ryan, as well as lies about Ryan’s budgetary policies. Some, unfortunately, are even attempting to enlist Jesus to help back up their untruths.

Time’s Erika Christakis this week has ventured into the “What would Jesus do?” realm by attempting to demonstrate that Paul Ryan’s budget is “un-Christian.” Christakis uses statements made by “social justice lobby” leaders to make the claim that Ryan’s budget does not reflect Jesus’ teaching regarding wealth, and that his budget is “unpatriotic” and “immoral.”

Christakis attempts to support her claim with her analysis of two scriptural exhortations, that she attributes to Jesus, and extrapolates from the scripture passages to modern-day tax policy, as some Democrats, including President Obama, are fond of doing:

As near as we can tell, Jesus would advocate a tax rate somewhere between 50% (in the vein of “If you have two coats, give one to the man who has none”) and 100% (if you want to get into heaven, be poor) Mostly, he suggested giving all your money up for the benefit of others. And Jesus made no distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor; his love and generosity applied to all.

Before we get to the main point, let’s observe that the first scriptural exhortation alluded to by Christakis, “If you have two coats, give one to the man who has none,” was actually made by John the Baptist, not Jesus, in Luke 3:11. To be fair, though, we can assume that Jesus would have heartily agreed with his cousin John. The second quote is from Luke 18:22, “Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.”

In her argument that Paul Ryan put forward an “un-Christian” budget, Christakis seems to be asserting that Jesus advocated a tax rate of 50-100%. She uses scripture to support a claim that Paul Ryan’s budget goes against Jesus’ teachings because he supports tax cuts for the wealthy and that his cuts to “social justice” programs will leave the poor stranded. Let’s consider a few points about her assertions.

First, it’s ironic that some on the left will condemn some Christians’ literal translations of scripture, except when it services their own ideology. Second, it’s always dangerous to use scripture to support political and policy positions because there is always another quote that can undermine your claim.

That said, let’s talk about the real ideas.

Most of us agree that it’s important that all Americans, regardless of faith or non-faith group, be caring of the poor in our communities. But, Paul Ryan does not believe that “the ‘preferential option for the poor’ means a “preferential option’ for big government.” Because of the incredible size of our deficit, Ryan wants to make cuts to programs that are not meeting their stated goals and that are overlapping with other programs. Throwing taxpayer money continually at programs that are either ineffective or allow “double-dipping” is wasteful, and the increase in spending adds to our debt and endangers our national security. In a recent speech at Georgetown University, Ryan quoted Pope Benedict, who asserted that governments, communities, and individuals running up high debt levels are “living at the expense of future generations” and “living in untruth.”

President Obama has added $5 trillion in new debt since he took office less than four years ago. In addition, his job-crushing economic policies have allowed continued unemployment over 8%, leaving the federal government with less revenue since more people are not working and not paying taxes over a longer period of time. Obama has refused to change direction, with the high rates of unemployment leading to a 100% increase in food stamp usage since he took office! In addition, 780,000 more women are unemployed since the president began his term.

As for the elderly, President Obama, by his own admission, takes over $500 billion from Medicare to pay for ObamaCare. That means today’s seniors will experience cuts to Medicare and access to care. Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan will provide the traditional Medicare health insurance plan to any Americans who are currently 55 years of age and over, when they are age-eligible to receive Medicare. Ryan’s budget plan also allows those who will be eligible for Medicare over ten years from now to enjoy the same health care plan that members of Congress enjoy.

The notion that increasing taxes on the wealthy will help us significantly reduce our deficit is without merit. The Tax Foundation tells us that even if we took half the annual income from every person making between one and ten million dollars, we would only reduce the federal deficit by 1%.

Paul Ryan believes in getting government out of the way so the unemployed can obtain jobs, not more food stamps, an outcome that restores dignity to these Americans. He believes that today’s seniors should be able to continue receiving the traditional Medicare health plan they were promised. President Obama wants to take funds from Medicare to pay for a whole new entitlement, ObamaCare.

The choice couldn’t be clearer.


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