I can only imagine that Bryan Fischer would drive the Hebrew prophets insane.
In his latest column, the American Family Association’s director of issue analysis for government and public policy is incensed that Republicans would agree to a deal with President Obama to extend the Bush-era tax cuts. Why? Because extending unemployment benefits will add to the deficit:
Conceding on this point is a sign that the GOP senatorial leadership still doesn’t get it. There is no offset for this extension of unemployment benefits, meaning that the GOP did not insist that some way be found to cover the cost of this program without borrowing money from their own grandchildren. They’re just going to willy-nilly add to the deficit cavalierly and casually, as if the Tea Party movement and November 2 never happened, and as if we’re not already staring down the barrel of a $14 trillion national debt. They are going to make that worse, and pat themselves on the back?
I can hear Isaiah now:
“Woe to those who enact evil statutes, and to those who constantly record unjust decisions, So as to deprive the needy of justice, and rob the poor of My people of their rights, in order that widows may be their spoil, and that they may plunder the orphans. Now what will you do in the day of punishment, and in the devastation which will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help? And where will you leave your wealth?” (Isaiah 10:1-3)
Fischer’s concern belies his allegiance to the rich and not the poor and needy. While the unemployment benefits will add $56 billion to the deficit, extending the tax cuts, including the wealthiest 1 percent of the population, will add another $363 billion.
Instead of worrying about borrowing from the grandchildren of the widows and orphans this agreement plunders, Fischer is concerned that more unemployment benefits will simply continue to “pay people not to work.”
Fischer has a nice cozy job in his ivory tower from which to pontificate about the lazy poor, but the reality is, with nearly 10 percent of Americans out of work, there are simply few jobs to be had. Even those who are willing to work for less are finding it more and more difficult to locate a job. Unemployment benefits are their lifeline right now—and a stimulus to the economy, because what they get, they spend on food, their mortgage, clothing, and other goods and services.
The rich, however, will take their millions on savings and continue to save it—or invest it. The tax cuts have been in place for years without stimulating jobs. Instead, the gap between rich and poor continues to grow.
Between 1979 and 2006, the average post-tax household income (including benefits) of the wealthiest 1% increased by 256%; the poorest households saw an increase of 11%; middle class homes, 21%, much of which was due to the arrival of two-job families.
And yet, Fischer bemoans the fact that the government is willing to spend a little more to help those who are suffering, while not making one peep about how giving more money to those who need it the least will blow a hole in the deficit.
The prophet Amos says don’t think that God doesn’t notice this kind of attitude: there will be a price for those who neglect the truly needy in favor of the rich.
You trample on the poor and force him to give you grain. Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them; though you have planted lush vineyards, you will not drink their wine. For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins. You oppress the righteous and take bribes and you deprive the poor of justice in the courts. (Amos 5: 11-12)
Woe to you, Mr. Fischer.