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Government and Politics

A group of nuns traveling the Midwest opposing G.O.P. budget cuts visits Cleveland
The Nuns on the Bus say the proposed cuts would hurt already struggling social service programs

Kevin Niedermier
The Nuns on the Bus stop at Cleveland's St. Augustine's Catholic Church to denounce the G.O.P.'s proposed budget cuts.
Courtesy of Kevin Niedermier
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In The Region:
A busload of Catholic nuns is traveling the Midwest, condemning federal budget and tax cuts proposed by House Republicans. The “Nuns on the Bus” tour came to Cleveland to discuss how the cuts would hurt social service programs here and across the country.                             
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The budget cuts proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan reduce taxes on the wealthiest Americans and lower spending for many social service programs and for Medicare. During their 9 state tour, the nuns are documenting the work being done at Catholics churches and charities…services that would lose funding under Ryan’s proposal.  At a stop at St. Augustine’s in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood, Sister Simone Campbell called Ryan’s budget immoral. Campbell praised the churches efforts.


Campbell:  “What we’re finding are these amazing, responsible programs everywhere we go of serving people in need. Here at St. Augustine’s, caring for the deaf and the blind, and worshiping together. It’s those kinds of opportunities to touch real people, and we’re taking these stories back to D.C.”


Sister Corita Ambros heads St. Augustine’s hunger center, which feeds more than 500 people a day. She worries about more cuts to programs that have already been reduced.


Ambros:  “A hunger center is not just a place where people come to eat, it’s also a place where people come for services, and we try to provide that. Many of these people have alcohol problems, and the funding for those programs are being cut, and how can were get them help if we can’t get them into programs?”


The Nuns on the Bus agree that the budget deficit needs to be closed. Sister Campbell says the nation’s budget mess started when the government cut taxes and…as she phrases it…. put two wars on a credit card. And she offers a different solution than the one the G.O.P. has proposed.


Campbell:  “We believe that wealth people like hedge fund folks who make millions of dollars should not pay lower taxes than the middle class. That’s wrong, they’re benefiting tremendously from our economy so they should invest in it. We also believe a responsible way forward is to clean up some of the Defense Department abuses. They have no bid contracts for a lot of the services, that means there’s no competition. What happened to the free market?”


Campbell also believes the nation’s economy could be improved by investing in lower income people.


Campbell:  “And pent up demand in this country is not at the top. There may be pent up demand for off shore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, but we don’t need that, we need to invest in our nation. So we need to get money to where there’s need, and that’s toward the bottom. So if they have more money they’ll spend it, that will boost production and that’ll improve the economy.”


In an e-mail, Congressman Ryan’s office issued a statement that says, in part, that economic stagnation and growing dependency on government assistance are pushing the nation toward a debt crisis. And he maintains the people who would be hurt most are the people who need government assistance most.
Listener Comments:

Looks like a ploy to make liberal values look good. Many people don't want the state taking "care" of them - as evidenced on the leftist Need to Know program Sun.7/1/2012 - in this segment people were given incentives to improve themselves, and not need gov. "assistance". The New America Foundation/Family Independence Initiative/Ron Haskins/The Brookings Institute supported conservative values, a refreshing break from the political programs which basically said give up Republicans, and accept your fate - us liberals have won - the liberals' arrogance will be their downfall.
- ncregister-com (national catholic) - A ‘Catholic’ Social Justice Lobby? DESMOND, REGISTER CORRESPONDENT 04/19/2010 “... Your enthusiastic support of the [health-care reform] legislation, in contradiction to the position of the bishops of the United States, provided an excuse for members of Congress, misled the public and caused serious scandal for many members of the Church,” … “We felt the right to life has been protected. We could have ducked this whole thing, but there does come a time when policies come up that we don’t normally take a stand on.”...However, Network’s website has provided no sign of any internal debate — or sensitivity to pro-life concerns. More recently, though, the group posted this note on its homepage: “NETWORK congratulates the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the historic healthcare reform legislation...“Most talk about social justice as an overarching social program, a utopian vision, a political platform, arranged around placing all care for the needy in the hands of the state. In other words, the most common use of social justice no longer provides an alternative to the state,”

Posted by: the emperor has no clothes on July 2, 2012 1:07AM
Thank you for this excellent reporting, Mr. Niedermier. I think your article captures the essence of the Nuns' campaign for justice. Mr. Ryan's office statement is so misleading, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Why do these politicians never mention the wars, expanding defense spending,

Posted by: JSK (mentor) on June 27, 2012 10:06AM
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