Oh Brother, Oh Boehner

There are Catholics raising questions about Paul Ryan’s budget. And there are Catholics, like Paul Ryan, making clear that they take Catholic Social Teaching seriously.

Earlier this week, John Boehner was asked about criticisms of the budget coming out of the Catholic bishops’ conference.

The Huffington Post describes it thus:

House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) chastised Catholic bishops at a Wednesday news conference on Capitol Hill, saying they needed to look at the bigger picture after they complained that the GOP budget plan fails to meet “moral criteria.”

He didn’t chastise anyone. He did make a request: “I want them to take a bigger look,” Boehner said. “And the bigger look is, if we don’t make decisions, these programs won’t exist, and then they’ll really have something to worry about.”

It’s an important conversation about good moral stewardship. The Republicans-are-mean-to-poor-people is as insulting to the intelligence of American voters as “war on women” attempts to avoid substantive debates about public policy. But they have been known to work, to keep us from progress.

As Paul Ryan told Raymond Arroyo: “the threat of debt is basically giving the next generation an inferior standard of living. We know we are risking a debt crisis.” It’s morally irresponsible to not do something about it!

“Our job-training reforms are designed to get people off of welfare into job training so they can get a new skill, and get a career, and get onto a life of self-sufficiency,” Ryan said.

“What we’re trying to do go to is back to the American idea: An opportunity society, economic growth, job creation, upward mobility and a safety net that is there for people who truly cannot help themselves and a safety net that helps gets people that are down on their luck back on their feet and not trapped into lives of dependency.”

Or, as Centesimus Annus reads: “humanity today must be conscious of its duties and obligations towards future generations.” This is an important debate and should not be cynically used as a distraction or delegitmatization tactic. God bless Paul Ryan for his able engagement.

Expect to hear more next week at Georgetown when the Wisconsin congressman speaks on “America’s Enduring Promise.”



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