The partisan squabbling over the debt crisis continues in the United States. The clock is ticking, and as of this moment no compromise has been reached. Republicans, themselves, cannot seek agreement between their moderate members and the newbie tea-partiers.
The conservative mentality of avoiding the evil of taxes is present here in Canada, also. Joe Gunn is the executive director of Citizens for Public Justice, www.cpj.ca, an ecumenical social advocacy organization. In the June 15 issue of the Prairie Messenger he wrote in his Journey to Justice column,
Two years ago I discussed taxes in the office of a first-time Conservative MP, a practising and devout Catholic. His point of view was that people have the right to “their own” money, and that any form of taxation was essentially “coercion,” where government usurped the right to take whatever portion of your income it preferred. This way of thinking, of course, led to his inescapable conclusion that whatever government taxes least, governs best. This ideology is much closer to a libertarian perspective than that of Catholic social teaching.
In the documents of the Second Vatican Council (Gaudium et Spes #30) we read that: “. . . the obligations of justice and love are fulfilled only if each person, contributing to the common good, according to his own abilities and the needs of others, also promotes and assists the public and private institutions dedicated to bettering the conditions of human life.”
Catholic and other faith groups in the USA are fiercely lobbying their government to not forget our responsibility towards the neediest in our society. The present debt crisis is due to decades of over-spending alongside tax breaks for the wealthiest. The burden of reducing this debt should not be placed on the backs of the poor.
The loudest voices demanding cuts to social programs and no tax increases are coming from politicians who call themselves devout Christians. This deep disconnect between political ideology and gospel-based action is growing wider and wider. How can this be? How can we stop it?
God bless America. And, God bless Canada. And, please God, bless all the peoples of the world with wise and compassionate leaders. We surely need them!