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Monday, February 13, 2006

Christian Protests on Budget Reduction

Budget Battle - Christianity Today Magazine
"Do millionaires really need tax breaks so they can make $20,000 more? My biblical logic would say no." Wallis upbraided Rep. Hensarling when told that the congressman said poor people need paychecks from private employers rather than welfare checks. "It seems like the congressman doesn't know any poor people," Wallis told CT. "They work harder than he does … and they are still poor."

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said of the protesters, "They don't know what they're talking about."...Congress decided against decreasing funding for food stamps.

Coburn...said government is not suited to aiding the poor. "If the churches had done their job and followed Jesus' teachings," Coburn told CT, "the government wouldn't have started all these programs and created all these problems."

Linked: Freedom Of...

Thoughtful Readers Speak:
That's my Senator and in a sense, or two, I think he's right. Churches have a tax exempt status for a reason, as do their denomination's "conventions." I know the SBC could fund programs closer to what the poor need, closer than what the government can do.

But ask yourself this....

It's not whether the rich need a tax break to make $20,000. It's whether or not they need million dollar homes, Harley collections, millions of dollars in car collections.....and so on.

We blame the governemtn for "the rich." But they have their own will power and their own ability to provide the poor with more than that $20,000 tax break.

This is why "the rich" have privileges in this country. We're the land of the free. We shouldn't rely on successful people to foot the bill because we have people too lazy to work and depending on the government. I know not all of the poor is like that but the majority is.

Are their no jobs in their town? MOVE!
Are there no jobs they're trained for in their town?
Can't afford to move?

I think poverty is a choice in America. We have so many opportunities here. Look at the Katrina victims. Almost all of them who came to Tulsa are now employed, whereas 2/3 of them were not in New Orleans. If they grew up in poverty it's because they had lazy parents who didn't bother finding work, didn't bother moving and they, themselves, have chosen to live as their parents did and to use the same excuses for being poor.

And then blaming the government for not receiving handouts.
Not to mention all the people laying around asking for handouts who dropped out of school and blame it on society or teachers or whatever.

Concious choices lead to success or destruction.
It's great for you to sit up there on your high horse and tell those of us that live below the poverty line (yes, this includes grad students) how we're just lazy and need to budget better. Grad students make between $10,000 and $20,000 per year depending on what program they're in, what school they go to, and what kind of grants they have. Let's pretend I go to grad school in a major city in one of the soft sciences, so I make $12,000/year. Let's say I got lucky and live in university housing, which only costs $400/month (otherwise I'd live in an apartment that cost about $600/month). Basic car and renter's insurance runs about $130/month. If the university doesn't have a health plan, catastrophic health insurance will cost about $100/month, assuming I have no prexisting conditions. Maybe I'm lucky and the university provides internet, phone, and cable for free. Maybe I'm not so lucky and I spend $70/month for phone and internet and just don't get cable. Electricity is probably $40/month and water is $20/month. In the winter heat will cost $150/month. If I'm one of the unlucky people who doesn't live in university housing, I exceed my monthly budget every month just paying bills. If I live in university housing, I might have some money left over to eat with in the summer months. Please tell me where, in this budget, is a graduate student (or anybody else living below the poverty line) supposed to save money? And just think, grad students are the lucky ones who will get better jobs in the near future.
that's still your choice...you could have gone into the work force after your bachelor's degree....

you chose your poverty.

Self-control about what? Savings account with what money? The national savings rate is less than nothing, and it's not because people are buying yachts, it's because health insurance and rent keep going up.

Self-control doesn't pay the rent. Savings accounts require that more comes in than goes out. If you think that describes life for the poor you're deluded.
I took a year off after I got my B.A., but there were no jobs. A B.A. in biology is basically only good for getting you into grad school.

The idea that poverty is always your fault no matter what is a ridiculous one. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes good things happen to bad people. There are certain choices you can make, yes, but you don't have control over every single thing that happens in your life. Joe Smith doesn't control whether or not his company downsizes or whether or not his company moves overseas. He doesn't control Bill Jones who got into his car drunk and then ran a red light, causing Joe to lose the ability to work. He doesn't control the CEO of his company who has decided that the CEO should earn a salary 50x that of the rest of his employees. Sometimes things just happen. Not because you were bad or good, or made the wrong choices or the right choices. It's wrong to assume that because somebody is poor it also means they are bad, stupid, lazy, or that God hasn't blessed them because they don't deserve it. When we start to assume those things, we strip them of their humanity and abdicate our responsibility to them.
Today on National Public Radio there was an interview about what so-called "Baby Boomers" (I am one) face in retirement. Only 33% of my generation has an IRA or 401-K. Only half have liquid assets exceeding $20,000. Frankly, my generation has bought in to the Social Security lie: that it is the government's responsibility to take care of us in retirement, i.e. living expenses, health care, etc. That same government now takes over 40% of one's gross income in taxes, much of which is to support unconstitutional federal spending (such as on so-called "higher" education, although many college grads are functional illiterates).
There are too many cases of people who have arrived recently in the United States, not even being able to speak the language, who, ten years later, are successful entrepreneurs or professionals. Despite the heavy burden of taxation, the United States is still "the land of opportunity" (except for the whiners who incessantly focus on their navels).
As anyone with a degree in Sociology/Social Work/Human Resources knows ... (and yes I am one of them) the majority of the poor are working poor. At least one person in their household has a job. And, when we are discussing welfare, we are not just talking about KTAP checks. We are talking about food stamps, medical cards, welfare to work program funding, government student loans, etc. Also included in the "welfare" dole is the welfare that goes to the wealthy. And, yes ... they get their fair share as well. You just don't hear about Congress decreasing their share.

Now, as a Christian, I have a problem with my brothers and sisters in Christ whining about how the church should take care of the poor and not their tax dollars, which by the way ... welfare is less than %7 of the national budget and that includes corporate welfare. Those same brothers and sisters in Christ are also the same ones that don't tithe like they should nor hit the offering plate very often either. They also love to complain at church financial meetings about how the money is spent there as well.

If more Christians would do as Jesus commanded and that is to give with charity in our hearts and not to let our left hand know what our right hand was doing, we wouldn't hear so many complaints about helping the poor or even about paying out taxes as good citizens are required to do. Jesus didn't ask a poor man if he had a job or whether or not he could work. He didn't teach us to do so either.
using your numbers, 7% is still $189,000,000,000 on government handouts.
I wish I was making enough money to have 40% of it taken in taxes.
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