Paul Ryan’s Budget Undermines the Best of America

by Sister Simone Campbell

This piece appeared in the National Catholic Reporter on March 25, 2013.

Last year, some of my Sisters and I became known as the “Nuns on the Bus.” Together, we journeyed through many parts of America to raise awareness of the plight of working poor families and the threat that Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget posed to them and to our country as a whole. This week, Rep. Ryan is expected to unveil his new Republican budget. Based on his last proposal and what he has said about this one, we can again expect a budget that rewards wealth instead of work—one that reflects the worst of Ayn Rand as it undermines the best of America. It will take from working poor families to spend more on the wealthy, and it won’t even reduce the national debt.

Paul Ryan hasn’t called me recently for advice on his budget, but the one piece of advice I wish he would take would be to remember that his budget is not about numbers, it is about people. It is not about charts, but about God’s children.

I wish he could have been with us on our bus journey when we met Billy and his wife in Milwaukee. They are two of the more than 20 million working Americans who earn so little that they still live in poverty. Both Billy and his wife work, but they make so little that they qualify for and use food stamps to help put meals on the table for themselves and their children.

Reading about Billy isn’t the same as meeting him. He’s not a name, not a number—he is a young man working his hardest to support his family. But Paul Ryan has said Billy and his family shouldn’t get food stamps because Billy is working...

To read the full piece, please go to the National Catholic Reporter.


Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby since 2004, is a religious leader, attorney and poet with extensive experience in public policy and advocacy for systemic change. She is also a leader of the “Nuns on the Bus” campaign.