U.S. Budget Cuts Could Harm Poor

Vantage Point
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I attended a meeting recently in Washington, D.C., that left me deeply disturbed. There, representatives from a number of denominations and faith-based organizations heard a presentation by a staff person from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities that made it clear that the current discussions about the budget deficit in the United States may well result in substantially reduced spending for the poor.

Scripture tells us over and over that God is very concerned about the poor. For example, Deuteronomy 15:11 states, “I command you to be openhanded toward those of your people who are poor and needy in your land” (TNIV). And Proverbs 31:9 says, “Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

I believe the budget deficit and overall debt load of the United States is one of the most significant problems my country currently faces. However, I believe it would be morally wrong to solve that problem “on the backs of the poor.”

Some of the current proposals would certainly do that. For example, there is considerable support for a proposal to cut all “discretionary spending” by a certain percentage. This cutting across the board on a relatively small part of the budget will mean substantial cuts for programs that help people who have low incomes, programs such as Medicaid, SNAP (formerly food stamps), and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program).

Moreover, I’ve been astonished by how little emphasis we’ve placed on helping the poor in our political discourse in recent years. Even President Obama failed to mention the poor in his latest State of the Union address; he was only the second president since Truman to do so. It seems that no one speaks on their behalf these days. Given Scripture’s emphasis on helping the poor, Christians should speak loud and clear for them!

The Christian Reformed Church’s Office of Social Justice is one vehicle that enables us to exercise that responsibility. I encourage everyone to go to www.crcjustice.org and subscribe to OSJ’s newsletter, which regularly provides opportunities to contact your congressional representatives on proposals that impact the poor.

And, when deciding whom to vote for in an election, I urge you to find out the views of political candidates on this issue.

It sometimes seems easy for Christians to become passionate about certain social issues, such as abortion. Those issues are important; yet we can’t ignore the fact that Scripture also places great emphasis on justice and poverty.

About the Author

Gary Mulder, formerly director of Faith Alive Christian Resources, is the Washington, D.C., representative for the CRC’s Office of Social Justice.

See comments (25)

Comments

The great leap here is that the command to Christians to help the poor is the same as a command to Christians to direct our government to help the poor.

That's a non-sequitur of the first order.

And the results of nearly 50 years and tens of trillions of dollars in government assistance programs is a country on the verge of bankruptcy, the veritable destruction of the Black family, a cycle of ignorance, dependence, destitution and death.

I think, given those results, it's time we found a different instrument - government as a means of aiding the poor has worked in some individual cases, but on a societal level it is an abject failure.

Great topic. Please keep your focus on balancing the US budget and dealing with its deficit and the poor.

"The poor you will always have with you" means that it is a continuous issue always in front of us who have been given much. Government assistance programs are hardly the cause of the current economic crisis; imagine the destitution without the programs; imagine the overwhelmed churches throughout the nation, many of which serve poor congregations and operate on shoestring budgets. Government bears a responsibility to its people, not to provide a living, but to aid when needed. Look honestly at the ginormous amount we spend on defense, on war, on "preparedness" for war; look honestly at the role of Wall Street and financial institutions in the crisis, whose trickle-down economics evaporates way before hitting the poor. Massive cuts without a viable alternative plan to social programs is cruel.

Fixing problems with the poor should be a bipartisan issue. Seeing firsthand some of the abuse of the current welfare system troubles me. People purchase flat screen TV's with their checks, but still can't afford to pay their rent. What I would like to see is the role of NGO's and the church taken up a few notches. There is far greater efficiency and accountability in these rings. What we don't need is handouts. It's wiser to take a poor man for lunch than to give him $5 for lunch. Just my two cents.

Leviticus 19:15 and Leviticus 22:32 should be considered if you are looking at justice and the poor. 23:32 says to leave it for the poor and foreigners not cut it down and distribute it to them. The poor will always be with us and we should assure they have justice. If they can not glean then have some one help them and they work in another way to give back and assist. The widow was not praised for the amount she begged from someone else but the fact that she gave what she had to others.

President Kagame of Rwanda was quoted as saying "Aid must take steps to remove people from aid. If Aid does not take that step aid is worthless. Too many times we feel the poor just need money.

I am saddened that Jeff C doesn't see the crippling dependence that government programs have created in our country, or the role that government programs and pressure (placed on lending institutions) played in the housing and financial crisis. The government promises a 'home ownership society' and contributes to the mess through lending quotas and Freddie and Fanny, and then it gets to act like the savior, attacking private companies and pretending their own hands are clean. It's about winning votes. It is impossible to know how things would have gone without the creation of the welfare state, but it is far from certain that people would actually have been worse off.

I would like more information about what is meant by 'the poor'. It is discussed as though it were a static class within society. However, as I understand it, most who are under the category 'poor' at one point in their lives have moved out of it within 10 - 15 years. I believe there is actually only a very small % of this country that is persistently poor and the statistics often offered are misleading.

The fact that Christians are called to help, does not mean that Christians are called to help by demanding our government does it. If you believe that most in government does it best, you have never been privy to committee brain. Remember, just because things are bad, they can always be made worse and the idea that we need to do something is often a motivation.

Jeff C.
Gov't assistance programs are indeed behind the current fiscal crisis. It is the ever expanding liabilities of entitlement programs without the funds to cover them that is the heart of the problem. The imminent bankruptcy of Social Security and Medicare/MedicAid are the issue. You could eliminate the Defense budget and foreign aid and still be looking at the same looming crisis.

But more than this, since when does government bear "a responsibility to its people...to aid when needed"? Biblically, the government is the authority to kill (bear the sword) in order to restrain evil, an entirely negative function.

You might be able to make a case on the basis of Deuteronomy and the way tithes were handled, but those tithes were administered by the Levites and the priestly clans as I read it, not the chiefs or elders of the other tribes or by the monarchy in later years. It'd be a tough case to make biblically.

I find nothing definitive in Scripture that puts this within the legitimate purview of government and I can find much in historical experience to suggest that when government does take it over, it mucks it up rather badly.

"Thus the Church is, both by commission and by omission, author of the welfare state. Deacons start from here. Government has undertaken to do what conscience, tutored out of the Scriptures, demands but fails, through the Church, entirely to achieve."

1980 - Deacons Handbook: A Manual of Stewardship
Lester DeKoster, Gerard Berghoef

PNR said, "The imminent bankruptcy of Social Security and Medicare/MedicAid are the issue."

Exactly. With the exception of Medicaid these "entitlement" programs affect just about everyone, not JUST the poor (the subject of this article). It seems the discussion of entitlement programs gets confused with the welfare state. They are two different discussions in this sense.

You could totally eliminate the social "safety net" programs and not hardly make a dent in the budget crisis. The discussion, in my opinion, should be on the effectiveness of the welfare programs and how/who should run them.

As there are more white people on welfare than black, why don't we hear more about the destruction of so many white families, not to mention other groups?

JD-
While there are more Whites receiving welfare transfer payments, as a percentage of the White population in this country it is significantly less than the percentage of Black Americans receiving welfare transfer payments. The net effect on the total White population is therefore lessened, but among White families that have a multi-generational dependence on welfare, the same patterns of increased crime, increased neglect of children, lower high school graduation rates, out-of-wedlock births, higher abortion rates, etc. also hold.

Social Security and Medicare are also transfer payment programs. They are not advertised that way, but they are. They are premised on the notion that the current working population transfers some of its wealth to the non-working population, specifically the retired/elderly. Not all retirees are dependent on these transfer payments, so again, the deleterious effects are masked a bit but for those who are dependent, the social and moral costs of that dependence are manifest.

I would also suggest that the existence of these programs, and the falsity with which they have been sold to the public, has also encouraged an imprudent pattern of behavior during working years that has led to unnecessary dependence in the same way that many welfare programs have also encouraged imprudence. No, I am not saying that all poor people are imprudent - only that the design of these programs encourages it.

As for the DeKoster/Berghoef quote, I don't disagree with their assertion that this is the source of the welfare state as a concept. My contention is only that, as an attempt "to do what conscience, tutored out of the Scriptures, demands but fails, through the Church, entirely to achieve," the welfare state has also failed and that its failure has been far more damaging.

GM,

It's fine to share your belief that the government is the most effective vehicle for helping the poor.
You need to understand, though, that this is not an issue of morality or justice.
Helping the poor through taxes is in no way a holier offering than helping the poor through a private charity.

We must not allow ourselves to stray from doing God's work to issuing extraneous, un-Biblical moral dictates on how to do God's work. Assigning moral value to these things will tear the Church apart and, ultimately, weaken our impact on the world.

Rather than trying to get the government to "invest" more money in the poor, we should be encouraging all Christians to give more to assist the poor. Most every study has shown how little of our tax dollars dedicated to helping the poor actually gets there. A recent release of the tax returns of our President and Vice President showed that VP Biden gave about $5,000 to charity (including churches) out of an income of almost $400,000. This should be embarrassing to anyone who calls himself a Christian. Also, we should be shouting from the rooftops the fact that Planned Parenthood receives $330 million while life-affirming organizations such as Bethany only receive government dollars when they are hired to provide social services.

The Center for Public Justice, in cooperation with Evangelicals for Social Action, has launched a national movement to demand that Washington end our ongoing budget deficits--and do it in a way that helps, not hurts, poor people at home and abroad.

"A Call for Intergenerational Justice" is the start of a biblically grounded movement in which grandparents, grandchildren and everyone in between can join hands to promote a just solution to our debt crisis.

See http://www.cpjustice.org/intergenerationaljustice for more information.

U.S. Budget Cuts Necessary, Not Cutting Budget Could Harm Poor
Not cutting the U.S. budget will result in much less help for people who have low incomes, because it takes money out of the pockets of job-creators and generous Christian givers.

May 6, 2011 — I am deeply disturbed by the idea that increasing taxes on working families and the small businesses that create jobs will somehow help the poor. Not only is redistribution of wealth immoral, but it is also an ineffective way to truly help the poor.

The reason United States taxpayers and their children have a $1.6 Trillion budget deficit and $14 Trillion in debt is that politicians spend too much money in unauthorized and unconstitutional ways. The result of their overspending is too much debt, slower economic growth, fewer jobs for the poor and middle class, and less money in Christian’s and others pockets that they can cheerfully donate to help the poor.

Yes, scripture tells us over and over that God is very concerned about the poor, and he tells us as Christians to be generous and compassionate with our own money and to help the poor. However, God also says “Thou shalt not steal”, so He respects private property and does not condone the confiscation of one’s personal property by force against one’s will. If you don’t think the government is taking our tax dollars by force, try not paying your taxes and see who shows up at your door, and see where you end up.

I agree with the writer of the article, the budget deficit and overall debt load of the United States is one of the most significant problems our country currently faces. However, I believe it is morally wrong to accuse working Americans of “solving the problem on the backs of the poor.” Working Americans just want to keep more of their own money, which they can then voluntarily donate to the poor, which God commands us to do.

One of the best current proposals will certainly increase the economic growth in the country, which will create more jobs for formerly poor and middle class citizens. If we look at Paul Ryan’s plan at http://budget.house.gov/ , for example, simply returns non-defense discretionary spending to below 2008 levels. President Obama and a Democrat Congress have increased spending by breathtaking amounts in the past few years, so going back to a more reasonable level is necessary and appropriate. Americans elected a new Republican majority in 2010 in part because they were appalled at this lack of spending discipline. The proposed budget simply adheres to the people’s mandate to stop the Democrats’ unchecked spending spree.

I agree with the author that Christians should speak loud and clear for the poor, and furthermore they should do more than speak…they should reach into their own wallets, and cheerfully donate their time and effort to help the poor. After all, we know from 2 Corinthians 9:7 that “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” How many of us feel like “cheerful givers” on April 15th? However we are cheerful givers when we personally give of our time and money to help the poor, weak and abandoned. God commands us to stop taking from others, and to get to work, so we will have something to share with those in need: “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.” (Ephesians 4:28)

I have looked at The Christian Reformed Church’s Office of Social Justice web site. They seem to have a liberal, leftist bent and they promote a liberal political agenda. If there are two ways to attack a problem, you can be sure the OSJ will promote the leftist approach and imply that their way is the only “Christian” way to approach solving the problem. This is offensive to many Christians who only want to solve the problem, and help people in the most effective way possible.

The issue of abortion really can’t be compared to justice and poverty. God command to us is “Thou shalt not kill”. When abortionists, abortion companies and the politicians they support and fund stop the beating heart of an innocent child, as Christians there are no “two sides” or alternate opinions possible here. Science shows that the child in the womb feels pain, has a beating heart and fingerprints. Taking the life of the child is clearly evil and we as Christians should oppose this grisly practice and any politicians of either party that support it. There are not two approaches to this issue…all Christians agree that killing an innocent child is immoral and should be stopped by made illegal, just like all Christians agree that killing one’s spouse or a bank teller is immoral and should be made illegal.

On the other hand, solving the issues of justice and poverty have many approaches, and we have empirical evidence of which ones work and which ones do not work. One approach many countries and peoples have tried in the past is to confiscate the wealth of working people and punish them for creating more wealth through helping their fellow man more effectively. This approach assumes that a few elite people should be in power and they should make the decisions on how and where we should spend the taxpayers money. This approach has failed everywhere it has been tried.

The other approach recognizes our God-given freedom and rights, including our right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness (meaning the pursuit of “wisdom and virtue”, not “hedonism and acquisition”). There is no entitlement to happiness, just the right to pursue it. This approach is in alignment with Christian values, because it puts the onus on the follower of Christ to be the eyes, hands and feet of Jesus here on earth. It does not empower government bureaucrats to increase taxes so they can decide how and who to help, while taking a hefty fee for themselves off the top.

U.S. Budget Cuts Necessary, Not Cutting Budget Could Harm Poor
Not cutting the U.S. budget will result in much less help for people who have low incomes, because it takes money out of the pockets of job-creators and generous Christian givers.

May 6, 2011 — I am deeply disturbed by the idea that increasing taxes on working families and the small businesses that create jobs will somehow help the poor. Not only is redistribution of wealth immoral, but it is also an ineffective way to truly help the poor.

The reason United States taxpayers and their children have a $1.6 Trillion budget deficit and $14 Trillion in debt is that politicians spend too much money in unauthorized and unconstitutional ways. The result of their overspending is too much debt, slower economic growth, fewer jobs for the poor and middle class, and less money in Christian’s and others pockets that they can cheerfully donate to help the poor.

Yes, scripture tells us over and over that God is very concerned about the poor, and he tells us as Christians to be generous and compassionate with our own money and to help the poor. However, God also says “Thou shalt not steal”, so He respects private property and does not condone the confiscation of one’s personal property by force against one’s will. If you don’t think the government is taking our tax dollars by force, try not paying your taxes and see who shows up at your door, and see where you end up.

I agree with the writer of the article, the budget deficit and overall debt load of the United States is one of the most significant problems our country currently faces. However, I believe it is morally wrong to accuse working Americans of “solving the problem on the backs of the poor.” Working Americans just want to keep more of their own money, which they can then voluntarily donate to the poor, which God commands us to do.

One of the best current proposals will certainly increase the economic growth in the country, which will create more jobs for formerly poor and middle class citizens. If we look at Paul Ryan’s plan at http://budget.house.gov/ , for example, simply returns non-defense discretionary spending to below 2008 levels. President Obama and a Democrat Congress have increased spending by breathtaking amounts in the past few years, so going back to a more reasonable level is necessary and appropriate. Americans elected a new Republican majority in 2010 in part because they were appalled at this lack of spending discipline. The proposed budget simply adheres to the people’s mandate to stop the Democrats’ unchecked spending spree.

It is amazing to me how many people still think that if people will just give more voluntarily to help the poor they will be sufficiently helped - this is especially true in our medium to large cities. That just won't do it!

Gary, why do you think that people giving more of their money through the inefficient and wasteful corrupt government will do the job, yet Christians and others giving more money and time personally and through private charities won't do the job? What is the magic of a centralized, big government bureaucracy that skims off the top?

I personally feel like I'm following Christ and getting to know the people I am helping when I contribute time and money to private charities and directly to those in need. I don't feel like I'm following Christ when more money is confiscated from me by a bloated, inefficient government who uses it to fund infant deaths at Planned Parenthood and funding NPR and PBS to spread the gospel of liberalism and big government.

Gary M. - I am continually amazed at people who think the answer to poverty is that a demonstrably failed approach should simply be repeated with more money.

I agree with the author that Christians should speak loud and clear for the poor, and furthermore they should do more than speak…they should reach into their own wallets, and cheerfully donate their time and effort to help the poor. After all, we know from 2 Corinthians 9:7 that “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” How many of us feel like “cheerful givers” on April 15th? However we are cheerful givers when we personally give of our time and money to help the poor, weak and abandoned. God commands us to stop taking from others, and to get to work, so we will have something to share with those in need: “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.” (Ephesians 4:28)

The issue of abortion really can’t be compared to justice and poverty. God’s command to us is “Thou shalt not kill”. When abortionists, abortion companies and the politicians they support and fund stop the beating heart of an innocent child, as Christians there are no “two sides” or alternate opinions possible here. Science shows that the child in the womb feels pain, has a beating heart and has fingerprints. Taking the life of the child is clearly evil and we as Christians should oppose this grisly practice and any politicians of either party that support it. There are not two approaches to this issue…all Christians agree that killing an innocent child is immoral and should be stopped by making it illegal, just like all Christians agree that killing one’s spouse or a bank teller is immoral and should be made illegal.

On the other hand, solving the issues of justice and poverty have many approaches, and we have empirical evidence of which ones work and which ones do not work. One approach many countries and peoples have tried in the past is to confiscate the wealth of working people and punish them for creating more wealth. Wealth is created by helping our fellow man more effectively—we can’t force people to buy our products or services, we have to meet their needs most effectively to get their business. The “confiscate wealth” approach assumes that a few elite people should be in power and they should make the decisions on how and where we should spend the taxpayers money. This approach has failed everywhere it has been tried.

The other approach recognizes our God-given freedom and rights, including our right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness (the founders and today’s conservatives mean the pursuit of “wisdom and virtue”, not “hedonism and acquisition”). There is no entitlement to happiness, just the right to pursue it. This approach is in alignment with Christian values, because it puts the onus on the follower of Christ to be the eyes, hands and feet of Jesus here on earth. It does not empower government bureaucrats to increase taxes so they can decide how and who to help, while taking a hefty fee for themselves off the top.

I am amazed at those who think Christians and the Church, replacing the government as aid source, can provide adequate assistance, not just a bandaid for the day, to the many Americans in poverty---realizing that many of those Christians are the very ones living in poverty, attending churches with poor congregations, living in poor economic regions in urban settings and in rural areas. Will the wealthy and middle class prosperous Christians and congregations be willing to go beyond the tithe and give double or triple what they have been giving to the deacons' projects?
I am amazed at those who will cut, severely deny, outright end social assistance programs, yet not even consider the $1 trillion (and counting) spent on war as a source of the nation's financial ills.

JCarpenter -
How many Americans are in fact living in poverty does depend on how one defines "poverty". The gov't uses what amounts to a "relative" definition. Most people use an "absolute" definition. Charities that are privately funded will tend to go with the latter in order to continue to appeal to donors. This will mean more of those the gov't defines as poor, but who could provide for themselves the necessary food, clothing and shelter will have to do so. That's a good thing.

We must also consider the message sent by a government that punishes those who practice prudence and responsibility by confiscating the fruits of their labor in order to subsidize the imprudent and irresponsible. I assure you this is not lost on people who can plainly see that, under the current system, there are circumstances when irresponsibility and imprudence pays better than the opposite. Reversing this would also be a good thing.

As for the $1 trillion spent on war, we've spent more than that. Like all government spending, it is wasteful and inefficient. War, however, is one of the legitimate and biblical purposes of government (the sword was not a tool for planting row crops) and it is something nobody else can do - can't have the United Way or GE dropping into Pakistan to pop a few rounds into bin Laden, can we? I suppose we could hire Blackwater, but you might see where that would be problematic, I'm sure.

There may well be room to trim the amount budgeted for the U.S. Department of Defense while still keeping people like Kim Jong Il at bay. This would not significantly alter the need to trim entitlements and discretionary spending - many of which have the disadvantage of not being legitimately within the sphere of government's responsibilities - in order to reduce our $14.6 trillion in national debt or our current projected deficit of $1.5 trillion.

Why do you think “the government” (only funded by taxes, they produce no revenue on their own), is not just a “bandaid”? Why disparage Christians and the Church giving more money and time personally and through private charities as “a bandaid”?

An example: When I give $500 to a church food bank, then volunteer my time to pack and deliver it, then all of that money ends up in the hands of those that truly need it. Furthermore, I get a chance to personally show Jesus’ love with those that I am giving to and they in turn give me a blessing.

If I have $500 confiscated from my paycheck for the bloated federal government, much of it is wasted or funneled to programs like funding abortions at Planned Parenthood that I as a Christian do not support. Once my money gets in the hands of greedy, corrupt politicians in Washington D.C., I can’t control what they waste it on. Politicians use my money to buy votes and try to make more people dependent on them. Most Americans agree with this and voted in conservatives in great numbers last November. Christians and others were sick and tired of the high spending, high taxing government bureaucrats who only piled up debt for us and our children.

We need to look at the underlying reasons for poverty. The policies of the current administration to punish success and punish the job creators, small businesses, has led to high unemployment. This is not the moral thing to do for the poor. Of course we as Christians will help them get through these tough times, but that is not enough. We must vote out the big spenders who don’t know how to create jobs, and vote in people who understand what has worked every time in the past.

“Will the wealthy and middle class prosperous Christians and congregations be willing to go beyond the tithe and give double or triple what they have been giving to the deacons' projects?” Yes, of course we will. But we don’t have the money to give double or triple right now, because the government has raised our taxes and taken away the money we would usually give away. The whole system is upside down and we need to empower the people, and trust them with their own money, rather than empower the Washington bureaucrats and their cronies. I myself have doubled my giving in recent years, and statistics show Americans are the most generous givers in spite of the recession. I'd like to triple it, just let me keep more of my money.

We also are strapped by the high gasoline and food prices brought on by the current administrations policies. They won’t let Americans get to work drilling for our own oil, instead the throw them out of work and their companies into bankruptcy, while promoting deep water drilling by other countries. God has blessed this country with excellent resources but they won’t let us use it…instead we see $4 and $5 a gallon gas and soaring food prices.

So I do not recommend cutting, severely denying, or outright ending social assistance programs – I just want Christians and others to have better control and oversight over how we help, by letting us contribute our own money in places we know are doing the most good. I don’t want to rely on Barney Frank and Barack Obama to decide where to waste my money.

When we talk about the taxpayer’s money spent on the primary job of the federal government, protecting the safety and lives of the American people, we must look at both sides of the equation. Paying for the protection of safety and lives costs money, but it would cost many times more in lives and property damage if we did not protect the people. Let’s just look at one example: counting the value of lives lost as well as property damage and lost production of goods and services, losses from just the one attack on America by radical jihadists on 9-11-01 exceed $100 billion. Including the loss in stock market wealth -- the market's own estimate arising from expectations of lower corporate profits and higher discount rates for economic volatility -- the price tag approaches $2 trillion. If Bush did not act aggressively and prudently, we would have had many more of these $100B/$2T attacks on America, with many more lives lost.

How much did the mission cost to take out Osama bin Laden? Much less than the $100 billion or $2 trillion. If we had only had a good policy of keeping these killers in check BEFORE the attack, we could have saved a lot of money, which could then lead to tax cuts to let people keep more of their money. Many look at the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but they don’t look at the costs of NOT preventing the disasters caused by these evil regimes.

Some may not think the following point is important, but I as a Christian see all humans as God’s creatures that deserve life. When Saddam Hussein was implementing his genocidal Al-Anfal Campaign against the Kurdish people, using Weapons of Mass Destruction to kill 300,000 people, in addition to the 600,000 Iraqis executed by Saddam’s regime, something had to be done. The fact that Saddam had vowed to destroy America and was rebuilding his WMD program while shooting at our airplanes was also a factor, as well as his ongoing practice of rewarding and harboring terrorists, including al Qaeda. Meetings between al Qaeda's Number 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Iraqi intelligence in Baghdad in 1992 and 1998 and the Iraqi regime paying Zawahiri $300,000 in 1998, around the time his Islamic Jihad was merging with al Qaeda also were disturbing and required action to protect American lives and safety.

We need strong leaders who understand what it takes to protect Americans and the world, who will spend wisely now instead of having to pay enormous amounts to recover from future attacks. We need someone in the oval office who has experience and who understand and promotes the strengths of America, and who won’t go around apologizing to thugs and dictators around the world.

An interesting contrast can be made between the federal government funding social assistance programs, as discussed in this article and comments, versus the taxpayer’s money spent on the primary job of the federal government, protecting the safety and lives of the American people, we must look at both sides of the equation. Paying for the protection of safety and lives costs money, but it would cost many times more in lives and property damage if we did not protect the people. Let’s just look at one example: counting the value of lives lost as well as property damage and lost production of goods and services, losses from just the one attack on America by radical jihadists on 9-11-01 exceed $100 billion. Including the loss in stock market wealth -- the market's own estimate arising from expectations of lower corporate profits and higher discount rates for economic volatility -- the price tag approaches $2 trillion. If Bush did not act aggressively and prudently, we would have had many more of these $100B/$2T attacks on America, with many more lives lost.

How much did the mission cost to take out Osama bin Laden? Much less than the $100 billion or $2 trillion. If we had only had a good policy of keeping these killers in check BEFORE the attack, we could have saved a lot of money, which could then lead to tax cuts to let people keep more of their money. Many look at the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but they don’t look at the costs of NOT preventing the disasters caused by these evil regimes.

Some may not think the following point is important, but I as a Christian see all humans as God’s creatures that deserve life. When Saddam Hussein was implementing his genocidal Al-Anfal Campaign against the Kurdish people, using Weapons of Mass Destruction to kill 300,000 people, in addition to the 600,000 Iraqis executed by Saddam’s regime, something had to be done. The fact that Saddam had vowed to destroy America and was rebuilding his WMD program while shooting at our airplanes was also a factor, as well as his ongoing practice of rewarding and harboring terrorists, including al Qaeda. Meetings between al Qaeda's Number 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Iraqi intelligence in Baghdad in 1992 and 1998 and the Iraqi regime paying Zawahiri $300,000 in 1998, around the time his Islamic Jihad was merging with al Qaeda also were disturbing and required action to protect American lives and safety.

We need strong leaders who understand what it takes to protect Americans and the world, who will spend wisely now instead of having to pay enormous amounts to recover from future attacks. We need someone in the oval office who has experience and who understand and promotes the strengths of America, and who won’t go around apologizing to thugs and dictators around the world.

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