In advocating for cuts to the U.S. social safety net, House Speaker John Boehner has chosen the "radical values of Ayn Rand" over the social teachings of his Catholic faith, a commentator with a religion-based group said Tuesday.
Dan Nejfelt, a Senior Editor and Training Coordinator with Faith in Public Life. The group positions itself as a strategy center "advancing faith as a force for justice, compassion and the common good."
On Wednesday, Boehner responded to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, who said a budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan fails to meet certain "moral criteria" by disproportionately cutting programs the serve the poor and vulnerable.
The Ayn Rand Institute says it supports her ideas and exists "to promote the principles of reason, rational self-interest, individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism."
Boehner said Wednesday that the Bishops should look at the bigger picture.
"I want them to take a bigger look," he said. "And the bigger look is if we don't make decisions, these programs won't exist, and they'll have really have something to worry about."
Nejfelt says Boehner omits other options that don't affect the safety net, "such as raising revenues or reining in military spending – both of which the Catholic bishops have mentioned as critical elements of a morally responsible debt-reduction plan.
"He knows it's a losing argument to claim that tax breaks for rich people are more important than programs that feed poor children, so he simply pretends the possibility of ending those tax breaks doesn't exist."
"The Ryan budget gave Boehner a clear choice between the social teachings of his Catholic faith and the radical values of Ayn Rand. By voting yes he chose the latter. He should spare us his crocodile tears about the poor."