Acton Institute Powerblog

Finding Morality in the Federal Budget

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Budget battles have heated up recently throughout the United States, and President Obama’s budget proposal has not been exempted from the intense discussion.

The current proposal by the President pushes our national debt to $15.476 trillion or 102.6 percent of our GDP.  Furthermore, there are no cuts to entitlement spending which consist of 57 percent of the spending in the budget, or approximately $2.14 trillion.

While it is imperative to our economic recovery to have a budget that is fiscally sound, it is also crucial to have a budget that is morally sound.  There are critics to cutting entitlement programs, however, a fiscally sound budget which may require a look at entitlement cuts and reforms, will help the poor and vulnerable.  If we continue the spending trend the United States has been fostering under previous budgets than economic recovery will be hampered which means less job opportunities.  The poor and vulnerable will be dependent on entitlement programs, violating the principle of subsidarity.

A fiscally responsible budget also abides by stewardship principles.  To be good stewards we must look long term and create a strong and stable prospering economy not just now, but for our children and grandchildren.  Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula addresses this issue in his blog post:

…we are leaving our debts to future generations. We are asking them to pay the principal and the interest on our debt with their labors. This is akin to forcing them into a form of indentured servitude to us, and it will last long after we have gone to meet our Maker. By law, one can reject an inheritance if has more liabilities than assets, but a citizen cannot reject public debt if he wants to remain a citizen…

Rev. Sirico also articulates the necessity of morality in the Federal Budget during his recent interview with Raymond Arroyo on EWTN’s World Over.

Louie Glinzak


  • Artaban

    I don’t think many people truly understand how greatly and disastrously carrying such a budget can hamstring our ability to help the poor or respond to human need. When we commit to a budget that is so great a percentage of our GDP (indeed, as you point out it exceeds it), we lose all flexibility to respond to the unexpected disaster.

    Let’s say the New Madrid fault has another “big one”, causing trillions in damage and potentially thousands or tens of thousands of deaths? We don’t have the resources to respond to that with the current deficit and budget.

    What if a dirty bomb or nuke is detonated in New York?

    Or the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone erupts?

    The list goes on. With this budget and deficit we have essentially chosen to live in a nation without an emergency response kit or plan. If we continue that, it’s only a matter of time before we pay a terrible price.

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