What Makes a Budget Moral?

Blog by Sr. Roberta Miller, OP

What makes a budget moral? What is the responsibility of government in drafting a budget? Currently the issues of morality and responsibility swirl around the US and our global world. Why? Is it because of the extensive disparities in economics between those who have a good life and those who do not in the US and in so many other countries? Is it because of the natural and human disasters plaguing our world with politicians apparently powerless?

Morality can be defined as a particular system of values and principles of conduct held by a society such as honesty, integrity, honor and justice. Do the denials, cuts or repeals for programs as the Affordable Care Act, Clean Power Plan, Paris Climate Accord, EPA rules for clean water, air or land as in the Keystone XL or Dakota Access pipelines reflect such values?

The role of the state in public spending should be directed to the common good based upon these pillars: “respect for the fundamental and inalienable rights of the human person, promotion of human development and defense of peace.” Taxes and public spending are tools for uplifting and developing all members of a country’s population. All of us have gifts and skills to hone and share for the well-being of the whole. We also have needs in our society to be able to exercise our gifts and skills—education, health, meaningful work and supportive agencies, private and public. Personal and social responsibilities round out a society’s common good goal for wellness of earth and ourselves. Why then do politicians give the middle class all the attention as being in need when all working and non-working members of society deserve help.

Of the proposed federal 2017 budget: 54% is for the military; 3% for social security, labor, unemployment; 6% for education; 7% for veterans; 1% for food, agriculture; 2% transportation; 3% science; and 4% energy and environment. The moral system for this budget is violence—not in people or the earth, upon which we live, work and love.

Sources: USCCB letters of August 31 and November 7, 2017

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 2006

Proposed Presidential budget for 2017 (Obama’s)

Posted in Just Reflecting

6 responses to “What Makes a Budget Moral?

  1. This article might do some good if mailed to every person in our Congress and state legislatures…well written and thought out, expresses what many of us hold as goals for our country.

  2. Thank you Roberta,
    Your thought on the morality of our budget as it stands now says it all. 54 0/0 for war that truly what it is. What can we expect other nations to surmise? How can we believe we “Want America
    grate again,” in the true sense of the words. How
    can we want other nations to look up to us when
    We put out such trach?

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  3. Peace is the finest of goals for the entire world, no doubt about it, but if we turned the current budget figures you cited upside down and provided the majority of tax dollars for other programs, would the rest of the world then take advantage of our weakened military state, or would we be setting an example others might follow? My fear is that our ‘land of opportunity” could easily be taken from us, resulting in even less help for the needy, not only here but throughout the world. As they say, be careful what you ask for . . .

  4. Good analysis, Roberta. You expressed it well too. It’s too bad others do not see it that way but it does no good to bemoan their insensitivity. We need to do our part to let them know what we think about their actions. Thanks for the call to action for me anyway.

  5. Thanks, Roberta. I agree with your last sentence that the moral system for this budget is violence. The gift we can give is PEACE and many prayers for those who do not see what they are doing with violence.

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