While America grapples with its national debt and huge deficit, it also faces a reality that much smaller economic growth may be in the forecast for the future. These factors may contribute to politicians aiming their budgetary axes at those populations which can hurt them least at election time, rather than aiming for meaningful and significant cuts that will reduce the mammoth deficit.
Politicians have shown no real willingness to tackle issues related to Social Security or Medicare, though these are programs which contribute the biggest portion of federal spending and thus the deficit. A reason is obvious: these are programs that affect people who vote. Politicians don’t usually get elected by ticking off voters.
So it is not surprising that congress voted to cut funding to the WIC program while deciding to continue to fund farm subsidies. Infants and children don’t vote, and no doubt the mothers served by this program don’t vote much either. Farmers and farm states on the other hand have powerful lobbies to defend their funds, and politicians need their votes and monies for their campaign coffers.
While I know the need to cut federal spending and the deficit, and support it, targeting the WIC program results from knowing this demographic has no political clout in America. (In fact 90% of Americans – those who don’t belong to the 10% of the population who are the wealthiest – share only 18% of the total value of the stock markets. One can imagine that those who belong to the 20% of Americans who are poorest own even a proportionately smaller percent of stock wealth)
At least for those of us with a consistent pro-life belief, we have to ponder whether the cuts that congress are willing to make to the budget are in fact opposed to a pro-life ethic. Being pro-life, we need to support programs which help our fellow citizens bring their babies to birth and then help nurture them with healthy life styles. If our policies result in cutting support to pregnant moms and new born infants, we are in fact dooming some of these women, infant and children to higher infant mortality rates. This is not a consistent pro-life policy.
One argument Christian pro-life people have made through the years is that we must defend those who cannot defend themselves – including the unborn child in the mother’s womb. There are also plenty of children already born into this world who cannot defend themselves, and who have no champions to defend them from those who measure everything in utilitarian terms. We are to defend the unborn, but also we are to defend the widow and the fatherless and others who cannot defend themselves.
It may be that like in any government run program there is waste and even fraud. Tightening up how such programs operate is a good thing. But if we are going to be consistently pro-life, we need to support programs not only which restrict abortions but which encourage healthier life styles for pregnant women, and for infants and children. Changing the budget does not mean we have to abandon our ethics and morality.