There are 12 Catholic nuns on a bus coming our way from nine states, some of the economically hardest hit parts of the Midwest, to remind Catholics that the U.S. Federal Budget, a hot issue this electoral year, is a moral, not just a fiscal document.
This 2012 budget, also called the "Ryan Budget," supposed to go into effect July 1, is a disaster to those in need in this country. The sisters remind us that, if passed, this budget will slash funding for the food stamp (SNAP) program as well as cutting health insurance for low-income Americans, just when millions more Americans need them in the most difficult of times. Not surprisingly, this "Ryan Budget" will extend huge tax breaks for the wealthy. The poor get less while the rich get more. You can see why this budget is a moral document.
The 12 Catholic sisters on this bus tour are connected to NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby based in Washington D.C. Sister Simone Campbell, the executive director of NETWORK, says the "Ryan Budget" is a catastrophe for the poor, the homeless, the unemployed, students and seniors. The cuts this budget calls for will be devastating.
The poor are in crisis in this country, which is why the sisters are using this method to campaign for a more compassionate and fair-minded allocation of our national resources. A strong safety net ensuring the meeting of basic human needs is the antithesis of the "Ryan Budget" which cuts away the safety net from America's most vulnerable citizens.
Just a few of the draconian "Ryan Budget" cuts we would experience here in Pennsylvania:
Headstart: cuts $66.3 million over two years and results in 3,530 lost jobs.
Special education: cuts $108 million and affects nearly 73,000 students.
Medicaid: 1,620,000 fewer seniors and children receive health care. Between 213,000 and 215,000 job losses over five years.
Medicare prescription drugs: costs PA seniors more than $162,000,000 year. Removes $670 a year from 243,000 seniors.
Supplemental Nutrition Food Stamps: 3,611 lost jobs and 159,000,000 fewer meals for low-income Pennsylvanian families.
And the list goes on.
The bus tour began in Des Moines, Iowa, Sunday, June 17, and came to Pittsburgh, Wednesday, June 27, then on to Harrisburg, Thursday, June 28. Langhorne and Philadelphia happened June 29 and 30. For more details and schedule notes contact www.nunsonthebus.org.
St. Paul comments in 2 Corinthians 8:13-14: "but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need so that their abundance may be for your need in order that there may be a fair balance."
It is then, now and always, about "a fair balance," or a distributive justice, in which God's family all get an equitable share of God's word.
Skip La Police