Since the Federal Budget has been released everybody is scared. It is hard to believe we’re talking about trillions and trillions of dollars of red ink. Legislators are scratching their heads and trying to figure out what to cut—that is, whatever it is that doesn’t affect their constituents. Funny—some of the people screaming the loudest about the amount of this budget have somehow wiggled their earmarks into this document for their special projects that will benefit folk back home. They all want to cut somebody else’s budget. As people have talked about budget cutting few voices have been raised about the military chunk of this new budget. We must remember that President Obama has put the war expense as part of the budget. In the past years President Bush handled the war as a separate item that was voted on separately. It was not even part of the proposed annual budget. This would be like preparing your family budget and leaving out the house payment. We couldn’t do that. So I applaud our President for openly putting out the astronomical figures for all to see. Most of those screaming about the deficit have not mentioned the fact that the war is a huge part of the budget.
If we could do something about all this money we are plowing into the military and the war—we could solve many of our hurting problems. But the war goes on and people hide behind terrorism as the deficit keeps mounting. If you are concerned about the great silence on military spending you might want to join Jim Wallis’ and Sojourners’ campaign to send a message to Washington. Read it for yourself. You might want to join all these that think this is a moral issue.
I felt a little better about the proposed budget when I read Paul Krugman’s article in Saturday’s New York Times. This well-respected economist says these deficit horror stories are simply not true. He says the screamers are not dealing with the facts at all. He points in clear terms that running big deficits dealing with the worst financial crisis since the 30’s is actually the thing to do. He says a lot of this money should be spent on jobs, jobs, jobs. I’m no economist (just ask my wife)but I do know that attacking and name-calling and spreading panic could well be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Who wants that? Nobody.
Somebody said the most theological document in any family or church is the check-book. Study where the money goes and you will know where people’s hearts truly are. If this is true of the Federal Budget—look at what we are spending on the military and you will know where our priorities truly are.