The Common Good

Fiscal Cliff Negotiations Should Protect Programs for the Poor, Religious Leaders Say

Date: November 20, 2012

As Congress and Obama debate what to do about the fiscal cliff, the Circle of Protection is asking them to maintain effective programs for the poor. In particular, the letter mentions Medicaid (health insurance for the poor), SNAP (sometimes called "food stamps"), and the Earned Income Tax Credit, which provides a transfer payment through the tax code to poor people. The letter also states that doing nothing about the fiscal cliff is "morally unacceptable."

In a Tuesday conference call with reporters to introduce the letter, Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners, said the Bible supports the view that the government should care for the poor.

"The biblical view of government, right out of Romans 13, says that government is responsible for protecting the common good and the poor. There is a role for government, biblically. So those who say, 'there is no role for government,' that's not a biblical position. It's a political one, but not a biblical one," Wallis stated.