What Matters Most: Money or People?

Stimulus has become a dirty word for many. They think it is wrong to spend money to help the economy, because the most important thing is to stop government spending. 

They worry about the ballooning federal deficit–and the concern is legitimate. Of course, I don’t remember former President Bush, and many allies in both parties, worrying much about the deficit a few years ago when they were handing out tax cuts all over the place.  

But today, many of them are really worried. Now is the time, they say, to focus on the fiscal deficit. Forget the national jobs deficit.

One way is to cut funds for the unemployed, including ending a $1 billion program to directly pay the salaries of unemployed people so they could get jobs in government, nonprofits, and small businesses. Many governors, including Republicans, have used the program creatively to get some important things done and also help people move from “welfare to work” (that description is from Mississippi’s Republican Governor Haley Barbour).

The foundation of any nation worthy of being called one is not its money but its people.

According to Alan Axelrod, Gandhi insisted that “the litmus test of any proposed action was how it would affect the most vulneralbe individual imaginable. The test was therefore human and particular, never ideological and general.” That sounds a lot like Matthew 25, “whatever you have done to the least of these, you have done to me.”

When will we learn to value people more than money?