In his reply, Archbishop Dolan didn’t endorse or criticize the budget, of course. But he did thank Ryan for recognizing an often-overlooked truth: Budgets are also moral documents. The values that helped shape our founding continue to affect our policy decisions, even if we are not always conscious of their influence.
Which values? A moral budget requires “fiscal responsibility; sensitivity to the foundational role of the family; the primacy of the dignity of the human person and the protection of all human life,” the archbishop wrote, along with “a concrete solicitude for the poor and the vulnerable.”
It seems paradoxical, but the way to save programs that helps seniors and those in poverty is not to just keep throwing more money at them. If they’re to survive, serious reform is in order. We need to greatly reduce waste, fraud and abuse, and ensure we’re getting help to people who actually need it.
That’s the fiscally responsible thing to do -- and the moral thing.
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