Re “The G.O.P. Tax Plan Is Deliberately Designed to Collapse” (Our Take, 12/25): The most pernicious angle of this tax bill is that it is a set-up for cutting social security and, more important, Medicare and other socially needed programs. By ballooning the deficit, the Republicans will have a ready-made excuse to cut spending programs. House Speaker Paul Ryan has said as much.
Most in Need
“Tax cut” is just a snappy title. Cutting federal spending on socially needed programs and letting the states take over the health insurance market is the true aim of the bill. Fifty smaller insurance pools will not be able to cover those most in need; insurance needs the largest pool possible.
Let’s face it: No one except a few super-wealthy people can afford to care for themselves as they age and become more dependent on others. Individuals cannot save enough. There has to be some pooling of resources, or most people will suffer.
In Good Conscience
Re “A Catholic’s Immigration Wish List,” by J. Kevin Appleby (12/25): The author is correct that U.S. immigration policy and practice desperately need revamping. However, he makes some points that a Catholic in good conscience can disagree with. For one, he claims that “the Catholic position would be to bring the vast majority of undocumented immigrants who are not a threat to our communities out of the shadows to register with the government and continue on a path to citizenship.” Implementation of immigration policy is a matter of prudential judgment. There is no guarantee that immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally will willingly register as aliens or that they have any intention of becoming U.S. citizens.
There needs to be reasonable and reasoned approaches to our immigration needs and issues. There is no one “Catholic” way to address these, as the author implies there is.
Taking Us Nowhere
Re “What Catholics Can Learn From Silicon Valley,” by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry (12/25): Thank you for this truly thought-provoking essay. I was particularly caught by the comment, “We should be alarmed that it is mostly secular scientists who are taking on the project of creation-repair, for there is no good reason to believe that they, working from a deficient materialistic metaphysics, or profit-seeking businessmen and investors are up to that challenge, or that their cure will not be worse than the disease.” I am a strong supporter of STEM education, but I also think it is critical to develop a strong foundation of service to the Gospel (or at least an awareness of its calling) among today’s students. Otherwise, tomorrow’s great discoveries may end up taking us nowhere. Again, thank you. Kenneth Feldt Online Comment
This is a great article. Despite 12 years of Catholic education and innumerable homilies, I do not think I ever got this sort of activist message: to dream big and do your part, no time to waste. There was plenty about social justice, to be sure, and that is fine, but that is not quite the same thing as connecting my own vision (necessarily myopic and limited) of how things should be with God’s vision (the really big picture). We accept that our little earth-bound, time-bound attempts are bound to be small and sometimes discouraging. Yet that is where all those helpful parables come in to describe how the kingdom of God works (mustard seed, etc.). We do not have to do it all ourselves or in our own lifetimes, but we do have to do it. How encouraging. Pity I never got this message back in my 20s.
Re “Christmas Classics on Screen, Familiar and Unexpected,” by John Anderson (12/25): I love movies in general, and I especially love Christmas movies. I love several of the movies you list here, but I really think you have misrepresented and misinterpreted “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The point of the movie is not negated by the happy ending. The point of the movie is the happy ending: that one man’s life affects so many other lives, that the little things we do to help others ultimately make a big difference, even if we do not realize it. Additionally, I think it has a very Catholic perspective. It emphasizes the importance of one’s community and the role the community plays in helping us keep faith. In the context of post-war America, or in the context of today’s political climate, I think these are very important points to be made.
Lauren Rotella Bergesen