from Gabino Zavala, Justice and Peace Director
In March I wrote about my concerns in regard to President Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 (Read). Now the administration has released this proposed budget that would gravely impact vulnerable people. It includes plans to slash social safety nets, cut funds for refugee resettlement programs while increasing funding for detention, deportations and militarization of the border including building a border wall. It would seriously impact the arts, the care for our common home and the education of the poor among other things.
According to Catholic Social Teaching, the dignity of the human person, the pursuit of the common good, the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity all provide the context and a moral framework to make wise and moral budgetary decisions. If we listen to the Word of God, the measure of a community is how it treats “the least of these” (Matt. 25: 31-46).
How are we treating “the least of these” with this proposed budget that recommends cuts of $191 billion over ten years from SNAP —formerly known as food stamps — that would have a devastating impact on poor and hungry people like children and the elderly? How are we caring for the dignity of the human person when the budget is suggesting Medicaid cuts of 1.3 trillion over the next 10 years leaving children, the elderly and our poorest families without access to healthcare?
Nancy Clisbee, one of our St. Joseph Companions, wrote to me of her concerns about the effects of this proposed budget in our own communities sharing that “the cuts…will directly impact the teaching of English to adult immigrants and refugees at Webster in St. Joseph, and all Missouri Adult Education Literacy sites (think Don Bosco), as well as the teaching of Citizenship, preparation of older teens and adults to pass the HiSet test (formerly GED), and basic education classes for older teens and adults who experience difficulties in learning.” Nancy makes a statement that we should all reflect on as Missionaries of the Precious Blood: “Clearly these are our brothers and sisters on the margin.”
As a Precious Blood Community we are called to advocate for and serve our sisters and brothers on the margin. Please raise your voices on behalf of “the least of these” that have no voice, our sisters and brothers on the margins. Call the White House to express you concerns about this proposed budget. Contact your Senators and your House Representatives and let them know that this budget does not serve our people, especially the most vulnerable.