Religious leaders look for ways to cut US deficit without hurting low-income Americans

Published: Friday, Dec. 28 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

Venturing further into the political firestorm, he mentioned tax increases and a reduction in Medicare benefits for high-income households — ideas that rankle some conservatives.

“If (the country) cannot compromise,” Beckmann said, “then what we get is tax increases for everybody next year, which probably means recession. That would increase unemployment, and unemployment does more damage to poor people than almost anything because they are on the edge of the job market.”

With divisions within both parties, can politicians pull off a deal before reaching the fiscal cliff?

“I’m praying for John Boehner,” Beckmann said.

Grateful, not entitled

Reflecting on the state of the country and the political posturing in Washington, Mona Eisenberg offered a similar sentiment: “I hope everybody is willing to make a little sacrifice for a long-term fix.”

She knows what it means to make difficult budget cuts — in her case due to an incurable, unpreventable disease.

“This is a different means of living,” she said. “But I adjust my means of living to what I have. My life isn’t what it used to be, but that doesn’t matter. People ask me how I can live on $700 a month. They say they can’t live on twice that. I say, ‘Actually, you can.’ ”

Eisenberg chooses to focus on what she has, counting it a blessing to have access to programs that keep food on her table, medicine in her cabinets and a roof over her head.

“I cannot tell you my level of gratitude,” she said. “I just cry sometimes. I feel this saved my life. I don’t have any sense of entitlement. As a matter of fact, I waited much too long to get into this because I just didn’t want to ask for help. So I’m coming from an attitude of appreciation.”

David Ward is a writer living in Salt Lake City. Contact him at dward@deseretnews.com.

Try out the new DeseretNews.com design!
try beta learn more
Get The Deseret News Everywhere