Budgets, Deficits and Karma

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”


This quote from Dr. King’s speech against the Viet Nam War has been on my mind constantly since President Obama sent his budget proposals to Congress last week. One expects the budget proposals of the GOP to lack common sense or a sense of compassion, but it is disappointing to have this President propose such an immoral budget. Budgets are moral documents. They reflect our priorities and values, they are a statement on our goals and ideals as much as on our pragmatic concerns.

This government, the President as well as Congress, is guilty of pretending to address our budget problems by punishing the most vulnerable in our society: the poor, children and the infirm. Their proposals are ineffective (they will not significantly reduce the deficit) and immoral. To increase the Defense budget that is already bloated with waste by tens of billions of dollars while reducing the pittance allotted to the poor to pay for heating fuel and food for impoverished and sick children is a sign of moral illness and of cowardice. To give away hundreds of billions of dollars to Wall St. criminals or to corrupt governments, such as Afghanistan, and then deny a few millions of dollars to care for vulnerable Americans is a sign of spiritual death.

I believe that the American people would be willing to sacrifice some benefits from Social Security and Medicare, if the sacrifice was shared by defense contractors and the 400 families that possess 50% of America’s wealth – and if they had a the leadership from men and women in government with some moral compass. American society is ready for a spiritual revival. Not the kind of false spirituality of politicians like those in Arizona who recently passed a bill to ban “Karma” (although I can understand their concern, given their record of mean-spirited and oppressive laws). I mean a real revival of the spirit of compassion and cooperation that led to our very existence as a Nation.

Who in government now reflects those spiritual values and has the courage to propose real solutions without causing the suffering of our most vulnerable neighbors?

3 Responses to Budgets, Deficits and Karma

  1. R Lowe says:

    Dear Mr Fieger: So sorry to hear of the passing of Dr.Kevorkian. My sympathies to you. I have worked in healthcare for 40 years, I say “Bravo” to the doctor and to you for having the courage to represent him.

    R. Lowe

  2. R Lowe says:

    My sympathies. Take care

  3. InYourFaceNewYorker says:

    Alas, I am one of those impoverished who is paying for this country’s disgraceful debt for stupid wars. I graduated 8 years ago and have struggled to keep my head above the water, living in NYC (I wouldn’t live anywhere else) in a post-9/11 economy which then cascaded into The Great Recession, going to one dead-end job after another that ultimately ended when the companies ran out of money. After 7 years I FINALLY got a good job with excellent benefits. It was a government job, and it was supposed to be stable. I was there for a grand total of 9 months because the government cut budgets from EVERYTHING (schools, libraries, courts, parks, etc.) resulting in layoffs. This, of course, happened in reverse order of seniority.

    500 people in the institution I worked were cut. So of course this resulted in people who are barely scraping by getting screwed, the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. When I found out I was getting laid off, I cried. I said to someone, “I hate this government. I absolutely hate it. It doesn’t care if its people live or die. Politicians run around with their hands in each others’ pockets and think big oil companies should rule the world. And yes, I know that beats living in a country where women who read risk having battery acid thrown in their faces, but for a country that claims to be the best, it’s failing miserably.”

    Although I didn’t work there, the cuts to the libraries sickened me the most. It’s the one institution that truly supports intellectual freedom, where people with an insatiable thirst for knowledge can go educate themselves, and I think self-education is often the best form of education. I learned more about evolutionary biology by reading Richard Dawkins’s books than I did in any science class.

    Also sickening is how gym classes and sports are sometimes cut in schools for budget reasons. I’ve read about a number of studies that have proven that kids actually learn more if they are getting regular exercise because of the increased oxygen flow to the brain. But of course people who make these decisions never read these studies. They just think that cutting non-academic classes/activities is okay. Wait, I’m giving them too much credit. They don’t think. People don’t think. The ones with the power DON’T THINK.

    Human stupidity frustrates me to no end, and by stupidity I don’t mean people who lack intelligence. I mean intelligent people who never stop to consider anything. I cannot imagine living like that. It seems like such an empty existence, but somehow that’s what the majority of people do.

    I hope I’m not overstepping my bounds by rambling on and on on this blog but a lot of these entries are pressing my buttons!


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