The time for pastors and churches to give lessons on financial stewardship based on biblical principles has never been more critical, say Christian leaders.
Saddleback Church’s Pastor Rick Warren, who has devoted most Sunday sermons this fall on the subject of money as talked about in the Gospel, kicked off his financial series by stressing the severity of the nation’s problem.
“We are now three years into a major recession. There are more people out of work right now than ever in our lifetime. There are more people underneath the poverty line than ever in America. More people are classified as legitimately poor than ever before. There are more people that own a home that is upside down, another words they owe more on it than its worth, than ever before,” he said. more >>
Recovering Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords urged her fellow lawmakers to pass her January proposal to cut lawmakers’ pay while members of both bodies work to balance the budget.
In a statement released Thursday, Gifford’s staff told members of the U.S. House of Representatives that it is her wish that they vote to cut lawmakers’ salaries by five percent.
“Congresswoman Giffords strongly feels that members of Congress must lead by example as we tighten federal spending,” Giffords’ Chief of Staff Pia Carusone said. more >>
Two days before the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, and one week before the “supercommittee” is supposed to propose a bill to reduce future deficits by at least $1.2 trillion, the national debt passed the $15 trillion mark.
In addition to the over $15 trillion in current debt, the federal government has over $116 trillion in unfunded liabilities, according to USDebtClock.org. Unfunded liabilities are obligations that the federal government has committed to paying, but will not have the revenue to pay for. They are Social Security, Medicare and the Medicare prescription drug benefit, which are funded through payroll taxes. more >>
More Republicans have recently followed in the footsteps of Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) in arguing that they are no longer bound to the Americans for Tax Reform pledge to not raise taxes because they did not renew their pledge during the previous election. Both political parties are struggling to find a way to reduce budget deficits. A compromise bill could mean that some Americans would pay more in taxes.
Americans for Tax Reform, headed by Grover Norquist, have played an important role in the debates over reducing the size of the nation's ballooning budget deficits because of its pledge, which has been signed by almost every House Republican.
No Republican has supported increasing tax rates, but there has been some discussion of increased tax revenue that could come from eliminating some tax deductions and credits. Reforming the tax code by lowering rates and reducing deductions could mean that some, who enjoy many deductions today, could end up paying more in taxes. Norquist has said that any increased revenue would be a violation of the pledge. more >>
A tax on Christmas trees proposed by the Obama administration in an effort to promote the tree growers industry and scheduled to go in affect Wednesday was put on hold at the last minute, according to White House officials.
The proposed 15-cent tax on Christmas trees was designed to finance a new “Christmas Tree Promotion Board.” The board wanted to start a campaign similar to the campaigns of other agricultural-related industries, such as those conducted by the Milk Advisory Board.
The tax was announced by the Federal Register on Tuesday and was supported by Christmas tree growers, according to reports. more >>
The federal government spent $1.299 trillion more than it received in revenue for fiscal year 2011, according to the Congressional Budget Office's November report on Monday.
Despite congressional efforts to cut government spending this year, federal spending increased $145 billion over fiscal year 2010. The total national debt is now close to $15 trillion, with over $116 trillion in unfunded liabilities.
In the 2010 elections, Republicans made large electoral gains on promises to reduce federal spending. They won control of the House of Representatives and gained six Senate seats. The resulting divided government, with Republicans in control of the House and Democrats controlling the Senate and presidency, set up contentious budget battles through most of 2011. more >>