BACKGROUND: FY'06 Budget Priorities

March 7, 2005

Presiding Bishop Griswold urged us to ask the following questions in evaluating the President’s budget proposal:

  1. Is the budget compassionate? Jesus tells his followers to “be compassionate, as your Heavenly Father is compassionate.” But compassion is just an abstraction unless we make it real in our lives. A compassionate nation must use its common resources to respond to the Gospel command to care for the least among us as well as for security.
  2. Does the budget strive to serve the human family, both at home and around the world? Our nation and we Episcopalians are part of a community that stretches beyond our borders. This gives us an imperative to use our common resources to combat poverty, disease, injustice, and instability wherever they occur, but most of all in places where the need is greatest.
  3. Does the budget serve the common good? While we hear a great deal in the secular world about creating an “ownership society,” the ethic of Christian stewardship teaches us that the resources we possess are God’s alone, merely held in trust by human hands. In a nation of such immense prosperity, our budget must seek to use our resources not just for our own good, but broadly for the good of the entire human family.
    (Click here to read the Presiding Bishop's full statement.)

How does the budget stack up on these values?

  • COMPASSION: We are deeply concerned that the budget makes sharp cuts to programs that serve “the least among us.” For example, 45 million Americans today lack access to quality and affordable health care, an increase of five million over the past three years. This budget exacerbates the problem by recommending deep cuts in Medicaid, of which the most bruising impact will fall upon the poor and working poor, children, senior citizens, and the disabled and states will be hard-pressed to make up the difference.
  • SERVICE TO THE HUMAN FAMILY, BOTH AT HOME AND ABROAD: Among the most distressing aspects of the budget are the cuts made to programs designed to combat poverty and disease abroad. As proposed, the budget cuts overseas-development assistance, child-survival programs, international-family-planning assistance, and – perhaps most troublingly – the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. The President’s budget provides just $300 million for the Global Fund, one-fifth of the amount needed to honor our commitments to the rest of the world.
  • SERVICE FOR THE COMMON GOOD: The President’s Budget includes revenues derived from drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, land sacred to the Gwich’in Nation, nearly 90 percent of whom are Episcopalian. Drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge threatens the Porcupine Caribou that the Gwich’in have depended on for survival and culture for 10,000 years, and it would ruin a pristine wildlife sanctuary for less oil than the U.S. uses in a few months. Conservation and development of renewable sources of energy is the surest path to energy independence and serves the common good.