It is no coincidence that spring is a time when both Jews and Christians celebrate significant moments in their respective religious traditions. The celebrations of both at this time of year point to freedom that has been brought about because of great sacrifice, which leads to new life.
Our faith traditions remind us that sacrifice is often the path that leads to freedom. We know this is true as we embrace sacrifices on so many levels in our lives to ensure our own well-being and that of our families. This is also true for us as a nation as we contemplate sacrifices that will hopefully allow for a better future for generations beyond ours. No matter what side of the debate you favor, there is no disputing the need for sacrifice that in the long run will bring great benefit. (See excerpt below)
Throughout our history, it is the strong among us that are asked to sacrifice for the weak and so parents sacrifice for their children, the fortunate for those less fortunate, those who can for those who can not. However, in the debate over the federal budget I fear that the call to reduce the deficit at times masks a distorted sense of sacrifice that advances the premise that those who have need to give less in order to somehow provide for the less fortunate. Let me suggest that for the children and families we serve the impact of the sacrifices they may be asked to bear will only further jeopardize them.
Sacrifice is in order, not just for some, but for all.
As we celebrate Passover, Easter, Earth Day and springtime, let us take heart that the value of shared sacrifice will lead us all to a better life and indeed a hopeful future!
What follows is an excerpt from the briefing that we have received from the Child Welfare League of America concerning the federal budget debate
The President’s approach contrasts with the House’s approach in several ways. First, Obama would end the Bush-era income tax cuts and close a number of tax loopholes. The House, on the other hand, would cut taxes by more than $4 trillion over the next decade and reduce the corporate and income tax top brackets to 25%. This is a critical difference because the less revenue the federal government brings in, the more programs will have to be cut in order to reduce the deficit. Secondly, President Obama does not dramatically restructure entitlement programs in his plan, while the House would convert Medicare into a voucher system and Medicaid into state block grants. Thirdly, the President is willing to cut both non-security and security discretionary spending, while the House has resisted cuts to security spending. Again, this is an important difference because to the extent that security spending can be reduced, there will be less need to cut non-security discretionary spending, including human services programs. Finally, the President hopes to build on passage of last year’s health care reform law with further reforms to reduce the growth in health care costs, while the House plan would repeal the health care reform law which would eliminate the Medicaid expansion that will benefit up to 20 million people and the expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that would provide coverage for 6 million additional children.