This week, Trump released a budget plan in which he went back on the promises he gave to voters when he said that he would not touch Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Many elements from his plan could be used to show how bad this plan is for the people of the United States, such as, but not limited to, his plan to give “food boxes” to the poor and disabled instead of allowing them to pick out good quality food which satisfies their own particular dietary needs, or when he has indicated he will pull back funding for National Weather Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is not because the United States could not afford to keep such programs going, but rather, Trump desired to turn away from the needy and instead focus on giving boons to the extraordinarily rich. With what money is left over from his gift to the rich, Trump desires to focus his budget on elements which help his authoritarian control such as increasing military spending as well as funding his useless border-wall between Mexico and the United States.
In response to Trump’s budget proposal, Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, and the Most Reverend Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of Venice, Florida, gave a joint statement, indicating that Trump’s plan should be deemed immoral:
The federal budget is a moral document, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has consistently urged our national leaders to consider important principles when deciding how to steward the finite resources entrusted to it by the American people. Budget decisions ought to be guided by moral criteria that safeguard human life and dignity, give central importance to ‘the least of these,’ and promote the well-being of workers and families who struggle to live in dignity. Our nation must never seek to balance the budget on the backs of the poor at home and abroad.
Yesterday, President Trump unveiled a budget plan, ‘Efficient, Effective, Accountable: An American Budget,’ that again calls for deep cuts to vital parts of government, including underfunding programs that serve the poor, diplomacy, and environmental stewardship. At the same time, the plan calls for increases in immigration enforcement spending and further increases in military spending, including on nuclear weapons. Prohibiting certain abortion providers from receiving federal funds and providing increased resources to combat opioid addiction is commendable. However, we urge Congress—and every American—to evaluate the Administration’s budget blueprint in light of its impacts on those most in need, and work to ensure a budget for our country that honors our obligations to build toward the common good.
After President Trump and the Republicans in Congress put in a tax plan into law which benefited the ultra-rich and expected the middle class and poor to pay for it, Trump now wants to continue his work in favor of the rich by destroying the social safety network as well as dismantling those humanitarian and educational elements of the government which helps the poor not only receive the skills needed to upgrade themselves in life, but also helps everyone in society receive an element of human dignity by giving them something which they can enjoy in their times of rest (such as borrowing a book out of a library or going to a museum to contemplate great works of art). By having the United States eliminate its cultural agencies, Trump’s policies will only America inferior to the rest of the world which appreciates and helps its people with such goods and services.
This cannot be and must not be accepted.
This must be understood not only as an attack on the poor and middle class, but it is an attack on the value of life itself. It cannot be seen as representing anything that anyone who claims to be pro-life can accept. Not only must those who seek to be pro-life widen protections to people in all stages and walks of life so that they will not suffer loss of life, those who are pro-life must do all that they can to help keep life itself a good that people will not despise.
When the safety net for the needy and poor is eliminated, then crisis pregnancy centers will likewise be affected. They will not be able to supply the goods and services needed for poor women to be able to continue with and afford their pregnancy (whether or not they plan to give their children away to adoption); they will not be able to help sign up women to SNAP and CHIP programs in order to assure them that they will be able to raise children. Such clinics will be rendered ineffective, and the good which they could have done, will be lost, leaving desperate women very few real options. Such women will go to those who will be able to listen to them and offer them options, which, of course, will lead to a rise in abortions.
Many who claim to be pro-life are only concerned about one aspect of the life-cycle: birth. They want the government to step in to stop abortion, but they don’t want anything done to help eliminate the causes for abortion. They truly are not pro-life. They ridicule and undermine the value of life itself as they say only the unborn are worthy of such consideration. Why? What value is life in their minds? If it were of worth, they would promote life and the dignity of life for all. But they don’t. So-called Republic pro-life candidates are often in the forefront of the attack on the dignity of life; they are as pro-life as a desert is filled with water. Sure, they can point to the unborn, just as someone in a desert could point out an oasis, but who would confuse that oasis with an ocean?
The impact of Trump’s budget plan must be recognized for what it is: destruction of the dignity of life. Those who destroy its dignity are not defenders of life. They destroy it. Their nihilism will be lived out by the populace who will see no reason why the preservation of any life is worthwhile.
Those who are pro-life must not only reject it, but fight as hard as they can against it. If they want to create a society in which life is cherished, they must promote a culture in which all life is dignified. As the bishops said, we must have a budget which honors the common good. That is the only way a budget can be seen as pro-life and moral.
[Image= Comme Sisyphe by Honoré Daumier [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]
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