I’m a big believer that money talks and bs walks. I used to be more idealistic: that money wasn’t everything, and that (outside of very healthy friendships and family relationships) how someone values you wasn’t necessarily dependent on the money they were willing to give you or trust you with.
But the older I get, the more I believe that unless someone is willing to put up, they should shut up. This goes for employers, for example: they can talk all they want about how great a place theirs is to work and how much they want your talent. But if they aren’t willing to pay the price for your talent, they don’t value it as much as they say.
Kuo is coming under massive fire from all fronts, including the supposedly ‘liberal’ media. Personally, I believe the guy when he says that he really wanted to believe in the administration, and was disillusioned by the machinations he found within. He keeps trying to tell people that this isn’t a gossip book, but a memoir reflecting on what it meant for him to mix faith and politics and to grapple with that question.
I haven’t read the book yet, but I keep hearing things about it, like this post on Faithful Democrats that explains how the administration, while it wouldn’t shut up, definitely didn’t “put up.”
When it came time to send the budget up to Capitol Hill, however, â€œthose charity tax credits werenâ€™t listed by the White House as must-haves,â€ writes Kuo, so they were left out. Senator Charles Grassley put them back into the Senate version, because â€œhe assumed that the White House had omitted the charity provisions by oversight.â€ Alas, no. During negotiations over the final budget bill, Bushâ€™s chief congressional liaison told Grassley â€œto get rid of the charity tax creditsâ€¦.The White House didnâ€™t want them anymore.â€
To make things even worse, the tax credits were bumped aside in order to make room for elimination of the estate tax. One popular way of getting around the estate tax for many wealthy individuals has been to donate money to charities and write off the gift. Eliminating the estate tax not only prevented $16 billion of new giving from being stimulated, but it cost more than $5 billion per year in charitable giving by those wealthy Americans who could keep their money to themselves now.
I wonder where, in the Gospels, Jesus says to take promised money from the poor and give it to the rich — and to do so in a way which discourages the rich from giving to the poor either?
I’m pretty sure it’s not in there. Neither is any mention of homosexuality — and yet the Republicans have managed to galvanize such fear of sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular over the last eight years, they’ve had scared Americans voting in droves.
I suppose championing the poor with your dollars and not just your mouth doesn’t motivate people to vote?
Edited to add: Here’s a good interview with Kuo at Newsweek. In it he says the following, which I think sounds very sensible, and like the kind of thing Christians I’ve looked up to all my life would say:
The Christian political leaders have been seduced. If you look at their comments that they know what theyâ€™re doing, Iâ€™m not quite sure how to read thatâ€”is it wonderful or a little troubling? Thatâ€™s one of the reasons I call for this fast from politics. Iâ€™m not saying that Christians shouldnâ€™t vote, which is going around on Christian talk radio. But for a periodâ€”I personally think it should take two years from after this election to the presidential electionâ€”evangelical Christians should take a fast from giving their money to political causes and from giving much of their time as well. Take that money that is currently fueling all those wonderful hate-filled ads, the hundreds of millions being spent, and spend that money on the poor and inner-city kids. Instead of spending time lobbying, spend your time with your neighbor, saying love your neighbor as yourself.
How can you argue with that?