Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Matthew 25 dilemma...

"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me'." 

Matthew 25:40

One of my favorite verses from the Bible is Matthew 25:40. It is not only a favorite, it is critical to believe if one is to be a follower of Christ. In our married life, it has guided our charitable giving for years, and will into the future. It is a simple verse, and yet says so much. No matter how many times I hear this verse, I get (as the church expression goes) Holy Ghost Bumps.

 "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me'."

Okay - so what is the problem. Jesus did not make this cryptic. It seems pretty straight forward to me. Well, not quite. What is straight forward is it needs to be done. What is not straight forward, is who should do it. Confused? Let me explain.

Mick Mulvaney just released the "teaser" for the GFY 2018 budget. And it is a budget like no other. Instead of the usual "cuts" a Republican budget has (which are only reductions in the rate of growth), this one has honest to goodness cuts. Cuts which will hurt. Hurt? Why?

They will hurt because in the past Uncle Sugar has been the one to administer much of the charity in this country. And no offense Uncle Sugar - you really do a crappy job. In fact, if you were a 501(c)(3) charity, I would hate to see what your rating would be on Charity Navigator.

So now comes the tough part. Should even a portion of the GFY 2018 budget pass next year, who is going to pick up the slack? The states? The local counties? Churches and local charities? Someone is going to need to do it. 

One of my major complaints about how we do business in this country is the "pay it forward" game. Actually, it should be called "pay it upward" instead. We just pass these huge financial needs on to Washington to let the money trees on the Washington Mall take over.

Wait - there are no money trees? How have we paid for all these things over the years? High federal taxes and an even higher national debt. And President Trump has said that has got to stop. Now. Left unchecked, it will ruin the county.

My vote is certainly not the majority vote on this issue, but it is the way I feel. Who should pay for food assistance? The churches and local communities. Trust me, I have been involved with many of them. They do amazing things. Nobody can stretch a dollar further.

The Medicaid cuts will need to be picked up by the states. Sorry - it would make no sense to pass them down any further. In fact, one of the reasons the feds want to have the states handle Medicaid is fraud. The feds cannot control the enormous fraud in Medicaid system. It is felt my many the states will do a better job in the funding and administering of Medicaid and cutting fraud at the same time. 

I am actually a bit excited about having more control of some of these big ticket items. They should be controlled at the state, local and private levels. That is where they should have been all along.

Do I think the least of us will suffer more without having the highly ineffective hand of the federal government involved? Not one bit. Bring it on. People I know who love to give and serve can't wait to show the feds how this should have been done all along. Yes, we truly are our brothers (and sisters) keeper.  

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