We hear it all the time from Democrats who pretend to be Christian when it suits their politics: “Jesus wanted us to help the poor. Ergo government should steal from people who work and give it to the slackers who don’t, mostly because I feel like voting for a policy is better than getting off my own ass to help the poor myself, Lol.” Okay, I expounded a bit there.
CNN trotted out a nun to push that very idea. Thankfully, Paul Ryan (who usually sucks, let’s be honest) was actually decent in both the tone of his response, and the content of it.
I know that you’re Catholic, as am I, and it seems to me that most of the Republicans in the Congress are not willing to stand with the poor and working class as evidenced in the recent debates about health care and the anticipated tax reform. So I’d like to ask you how you see yourself upholding the church’s social teaching that has the idea that God is always on the side of the poor and dispossessed, as should we be.
To start, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn she was less a nun and more a leftist activist. It’s typical leftism. “I’m a [lifetime Republican, independent voter, person you’ll feel guilty about disagreeing with] and my question is a tired old leftist talking point.”
Which says nothing about how Jesus taught people to give of themselves to help the poor. As in a voluntary action. As in “charity.” Not to be confused with leftism, which teaches to steal from other people if they can buy support with it by giving to people who suckle at the government teat.
But I digress.
The Speaker’s answer was perfect.
What I think we need to do is change our approach on fighting poverty instead of measuring success based on how much money we spend or how many programs we create or how many people are on those programs, you know, measuring on inputs. Let’s measure success in poverty on outcomes. Is it working? Are people getting out of poverty?
The poverty — the poor are being marginalized and misaligned in many ways because a lot of the programs that we have, well intended as they may be, are discouraging and dis-incentivizing work.
The model I’m talking about is one you’re familiar with. It’s the Catholic charities model. Cristo Rey Parish, right four miles that way, Cristo Rey Parish has Catholic charities that does a fantastic job in spite of government doing wraparound benefits for the poor to make sure that they get to where they are — from where they are to where they need to be. If only government would actually help do that, as well, I think we could go a long ways in fighting the root cause of poverty.
Again, Paul Ryan? Not my favorite congressman. Or person as a whole. I get it. He can be a traitorous snake in the grass deserving of all our ire and email spam containing Lena Dunham nudes. Okay? Okay.
But as one of my favorite sayings goes: multiple things can be true at once. Paul Ryan can be a turd sandwich best served hot, but also be right in confronting this “nun” about government entitlement programs not actually helping the poor, and not being a government responsibility. So credit where due. Jesus called on people to help “the least of these” (which probably included babies in the womb, whom the Democrats would happily chop up and FedEx across the country), but Jesus didn’t petition the government to steal from “the rich man” to give to the poor. Notable difference.
Now, everybody dance!