41 & 48: No, faith-based social agencies can't fill the gap

By Mark Kirchmeier of Portland, Oregon. Mark is a member of the faith-based Metropolitan Alliance for the Common Good, former EMO Legislative Commission member and recent Democratic candidate for the Oregon Legislature.

Ballot Measures 41 and 48 will throw a haymaker punch at every Oregon faith-based hospital and social service.

Measure 41 would eviscerate $400 million from the Oregon Health Plan and social services, forcing thousands of people to seek help from faith-based social services and hospitals.

Measure 48 ignores how many vulnerable groups like seniors and prison inmates (thanks to Kevin Mannix’s Measure 11) are growing at a faster rate than the median population. And Howard Rich ignores or doesn’t care that health care costs – for all Oregonians -- are rising faster than the population percentage growth

Rich and Loren Parks preach a secular religion that markets are better at distributing wealth than government, and that faith-based social agencies will pick up the detritus who lose their health care, senior services and children’s programs.

Catholic Charities, Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries can deliver services at low costs, but only because they are largely volunteer driven. And those faith-based hospitals like Providence and the Lutheran Church’s Good Samaritan with hundreds of salaried professionals (to go with their volunteers), solely exist to meet public needs, not accumulate wealth.

Those institutions have the good hearts, but will never have the resources nor secular mandate to replace a state government’s duties for three million people.

Parks and Rich believe that greed will is good. The Religious Left believes that the partnership of government and faith-based volunteerism is infinitely better.

Comments

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    The failures of the pie-in-the sky promises of the R's tax-cutting economic strategies are coming home to roost. See the AP wire story 'GAO Chief Warns Economic Disaster Looms'

    The comptroller general of the United States, David M. Walker, is frontman of "the Fiscal Wake-up Tour, a traveling roadshow of economists and budget analysts who share Walker's concern for the nation's budgetary future."

    "He has committed to touring the nation through the 2008 elections, talking to anybody who will listen about the fiscal black hole Washington has dug itself, the 'demographic tsunami' that will come when the baby boom generation begins retiring and the recklessness of borrowing money from foreign lenders to pay for the operation of the U.S. government."

    "... Republicans talk of cutting taxes to make life easier for the American people.

    What they don't talk about is a dirty little secret everyone in Washington knows, or at least should. The vast majority of economists and budget analysts agree: The ship of state is on a disastrous course, and will founder on the reefs of economic disaster if nothing is done to correct it."

    Measures 41 & 48 are merely more pandering by right-wing ideologues to people hurting from the economic policies of tax-cuts for the rich of Corporate America, which amount to shifting the tax burden onto the middle class (refer to the local levies on your ballot). They then try to shift the blame, too, onto apocryphal overspending Liberals!

  • THartill (unverified)
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    One question.

    Can someone explain to me how anything above Inflation + Population growth is sustainable?

  • Sally (unverified)
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    "Measures 41 & 48 are merely more pandering by right-wing ideologues to people hurting from the economic policies of tax-cuts for the rich of Corporate America, which amount to shifting the tax burden onto the middle class"

    When will someone call out Oregon's flat income tax? Just how regressive can a single tax be? Is there a single "progressive" on this site willing at least to take this topic on? They were nearly of a piece when it came to imposing the additional 1.25 tax in Multnomah County. Rather than take on the teacher's unions, and demand that they live up to their promise to reduce health care costs, it was easier to impose one more tax on nearly the poorest working people.

    Oregon's tax structure is a disgrace, and one reason it is so is not the disparities in corporate taxes but the burden on the lowest classes that there seems no call among so-called progressives to remedy.

    I have seen no campaigning for Measure 41. It seems it will serve as a vague gauge among those who vote as to how good it sounds. It would not seem to stand a chance of passage, and in and of itself it might well deserve not to.

    But in and of itself, Oregon's income tax -- to almost all intents, purposes and effects a flat tax -- requires remedy beyond simple demands for status-quo & rising government programs and revenue.

  • Bill (unverified)
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    The Sisters of Profit "solely exist to meet public needs, not accumulate wealth?!"

    Someone's been smokin' the medical marijuana over there (while denying women healthcare services, and shuttling funds to a church that underwrites efforts to block evidence-based research, and science education in the public schools)...

  • Don Smith (unverified)
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    Can someone explain to me how anything above Inflation + Population growth is sustainable?

    No.

  • timeforachange (unverified)
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    Why do the cuts have to come from schools and social services? There has to be waste that it can be cut from. And, who will make these cuts? Politicians? Isn't it then their decision where the cuts will come from? Couldn't they cut their own salaries and get rid of some of the posititons that are in state offices that dont do anything usefull? I really think throwing money at a hole and trying to plug it isn't the answer. We need accountability and budgeting that works.

  • Danny Haszard (unverified)
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    <h2>I was born and raised into the Jehovah's Witnesses and they have NO charities at all.</h2> <h2>Danny Haszard Kingdom Hall Jehovah's Witnesses Rockland Massachusetts</h2>
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