Budget cuts hint at nation's darkening soul

Several things struck me reading this morning about the budget deal struck between Democrats and Republicans this week to avert a government shutdown.

1. According to the Washington Post, of the $38 billion in cuts, $17.8 billion came from mandatory programs and $20 billion came from discretionary programs. The Post reported, "Republicans were able to focus the sharpest cuts on the areas they have long targeted. The Education, Labor and Health and Human Services departments. This is, of course, just a small fraction of the needed cuts to restore a reasonably health budget going forward, cuts needed to deal with our growing and threatening deficit.

2. There was almost a throwaway line in the Post article, saying that Democrats were not able to trim defense spending. The last time I did the tally U.S. military spending stood larger than the next 14 top nations in the world when their military spending is added together. Someone told me that the U.S. spending is larger than all other nations in the world added together. Keeping US military spending cuts off the chopping block does not bode well when children's health insurance is being chopped. By any measure of our budget and our nation's funding priorities, we are in a pretty dark, and allow me to say, unchristian moment. I was once taught that Jesus had something to say about nonviolence and caring for the poorest among us. Ahh, but this is now and we need a new generation of nuclear weapons. And think of all those jobs the building of tanks provide us. When former Congressman Robert Drinan, a Jesuit of considerable stature use to write for NCR, speaking out about military spending in stark terms that spending was less than two thirds of what it is today.

3. Unless the wealthy among us are going to pick up a far greater proportion of the tax load -- and stop hiding behind the fallacious and down right pagan selfish notion that every tax break for the rich enhances the middle class and poor, we are headed to train wreck as a nation, economically and deep within the fibers of what it means to be members of the human family.

Shame. Shame. Shame on us for allowing this kind of folly to go unanswered.

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