Catholics battle over moral implications of budget politics
"Rand did mount an admirable moral defense of capitalism, but not (in my view) a complete one, particularly in areas such as altruism, faith and the poor," Brooks said. "I think one can praise her important moral insights about individual freedom and dignity without signing up for the whole objectivist program.
"Congressman Ryan is no Randian," Brooks said. "He takes his responsibility to the 'least of these' very seriously."
Ryan's prudential vision
"Ryan's doing it out of necessity, doing what we have to do to not end up like Greece," Lawler said. "Ryan and the liberal Catholics just disagree on the facts, on what we can afford. There is no Catholic position on this one way or the other. All this is really a matter of prudence."
Ryan defended his budget's religious implications in a May 4 interview with the Catholic Register. "Pope Benedict said it — we're living in untruth," he said. "We're living at the expense of future generations. We're telling our children that because we can't live within our means, they are going to pay our bills: 'You are going to have diminished futures; you're going to have an extra burden on your backs that we didn't have.' That, to me, has severe moral implications."
Ryan's own defense centers on growing an economy with enough surplus to provide for the poor.
"You can't lift people out of poverty if you don't have a growing economy," Ryan said in a public discussion after the Georgetown speech. "And we have to put in policies that we believe will do the best to maximize economic growth."
"A hallmark of the president's government-centered agenda is that policy after policy takes from hardworking Americans and gives to politically connected companies and privileged special interests," Ryan said at Georgetown.
"As we end welfare for those who don't need it, we strengthen welfare programs for those who do," Ryan added. "Government safety-net programs have been stretched to the breaking point in recent years, failing the very citizens who need help the most."
Brooks offered some support to Ryan.
"Nothing imperils the poor more than a debt crisis and failing economy." Brooks said. "Look at Greece and Spain. Those suffering the most are the poor themselves, who are left with little relief and no opportunity. There is nothing merciful to the poor about running our economy over a cliff."
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