Paul Ryan: GOP Budget Based Upon Catholic Social Teaching

House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said that the federal budget passed last month by House Republicans contains many principles consistent with his Catholic faith, in an interview on CBN.

"A person's faith is central to how they conduct themselves in public and in private. So to me, using my Catholic faith, we call it the social magisterium, which is, how do you apply the doctrine of your teaching into your everyday life as a lay person?" Ryan answered when asked how his faith informed the budget.

The interview was conducted April 3 and the full interview will be aired for the first time on CBN's "700 Club" Thursday night.

Ryan named two principles contained in the budget that can be tied to Catholic social thought: "subsidiarity" and "preferential option for the poor."

The principle of subsidiarity, or the belief that large, complex organizations should not deal with problems that can be dealt with smaller, simpler organizations, Ryan said, "is really federalism, meaning government closest to the people governs best."

"Having a civil society of the principal of solidarity where we, through our civic organizations, through our churches, through our charities, through all of our different groups where we interact with people as a community, that's how we advance the common good. By not having big government crowd out civic society, but by having enough space in our communities so that we can interact with each other, and take care of people who are down and out in our communities."

Ryan also mentioned "preferential option for the poor," another tenet of Catholic social thought which teaches that consideration of how policies effect the poor and vulnerable should be given preference over considerations of how they affect everyone else.

The preferential option for the poor, Ryan said, "means don't keep people poor, don't make people dependent on government so that they stay stuck at their station in life. Help people get out of poverty, out onto life of independence."

Ryan has been the main architect of the House Republican budget, called "Path to Prosperity" and more popularly known as the "Ryan plan." The budget has been criticized for its cuts, or reductions in growth, to many domestic programs.

President Obama called it "thinly veiled social Darwinism," suggesting that it is a dishonest attempt to benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor.

The Ryan plan would reduce the current growth rate in government spending by about $5 trillion while adding about $3 trillion to the national debt over 10 years. It would also repeal the Affordable Care Act (2010), also called "Obamacare," and reform Medicare by increasing the age of eligibility and providing vouchers for seniors who want to purchase insurance in the private market.

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