MUSINGS FROM MOORMAN: Can budgets be kind?
Jordan Moorman is a sophomore political science and history major and writes "MUSINGS FROM MOORMAN" for the Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Jordan at email@example.com.
In today’s frenzied political climate, conservatives are often accused of lacking compassion toward individuals in need of social programs. They are told by people with the little blue check mark next to their name on Twitter that they are hypocritical and unChristian for supporting budget cuts. Broadly, conservatism represents ideas surrounding smaller government, increased economic freedoms and socially traditional views.
With that being said, compassion exists strongly within conservatism. The goal of this piece will not be to say left or right ideologies are more compassionate than one another, but rather to prove compassion is embedded in conservatism.
The recent budget cut proposed have caused quite a stir, with headlines popping up such as “How Trump’s Budget Cuts Could Hurt Low-Income Americans” and “If You’re a Poor Person in American, Trump’s Budget Cut is Not For You.”
Despite such misleading accusations, the amount of federal spending on poverty will go down a mere 0.2 percentage points from the last administration to this one.
Indeed, this is not an indictment on compassion. Conservatives donate more time, more money and more blood. Conservative families on average make six percent less than liberal families, but still donate thirty percent more to charity.
During the 2004 presidential election, Bush won 24 out of 25 states, where charitable giving was above average. An anecdote used to illustrate this is often used. If a man starves, if he has no other way, if he has exhausted all resources, if he has children that are hungry, whose fault is it? The government's for not doing anything? The conservative would say no. The fault is his family, his friends, his neighbors, perhaps his church, and maybe his coworkers, for being apathetic.
A video released by Prager University, a conservative think tank offering educational videos, states “liberals champion government action as the best vehicle to alleviate suffering, but they are uninterested in the questions of whether these government programs actually alleviate suffering.”
Simply put, leftist politicians tend to just like being viewed as generous and heroic to their voters. The video goes on, explaining that government studies reveal anti-poverty spending really has not made much of a difference. Narrated by Bill Voegeli of the Claremont Institute, it goes onto reveal that the federal government’s pre-school program, Head Start, certainly does not achieve its goal.
Indeed, children enrolled in it are no better off by the time they get to first grade than their counterparts who did not enroll in Head Start. Liberals continue to call for its expansion even more, Voegeli goes on to reveal that our federal, state and local governments spend more than $3.2 trillion for year, yet, in the past forty years, poverty has stayed consistently in the eleven to fifteen percent range. It is fair to reason, I believe based on the evidence, that more governmental spending does not always result in more solutions. Perhaps money could be better off unspent.
Religion is brought into the equation as conservatives are accused of ignoring the teachings of Jesus. Leftists say Jesus would support these social welfare programs to help the poor. There are a few problems with this statement; the Bible never says to support a welfare state. As Matt Walsh, a conservative columnist points out, there are numerous examples in the Bible talking about how to treat the poor. Matthew 5:42 (New American Bible) says, “Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.” Luke 12:33 states, “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” These two verses share a common thread: the word “you.” Not your government, not your neighbor, “you.”
As Matt Walsh puts it, “You. Personally. Physically. Of your own free will and volition. Christ is not outlining a budget proposal or advocating for a certain form of government.” These are Jesus’ commands, and they should be followed by all believers.
Rather than government programs or a social welfare state, conservatives believe it is up to individuals be charitable to one another. It is perfectly moral to not want to raise taxes, pay more for social programs, or be in favor of cuts. Especially if the programs are not working.
Indeed, through the theological logical, and factual evidence, it can be deduced that compassion is embedded in conservatives. Applying this knowledge to modern-day political movements can help reduce political strife, and allows opposing viewpoints to be sympathetic to each other and approach a common good.