New Jersey congressman Chris Smith has warned that the budget deficit is an “economic tsunami” that will “undermine everything we do” unless Congress adopts reform proposals such as those put forward by Speaker of the House John Boehner.
Speaking to Newsmax in Rome, Smith was responding to a letter signed by over 80 academics in which they claimed Boehner had not done enough in Congress to protect the poor, and criticized him for his budget-cut proposals that they said would disproportionately affect those worst off in society.
The letter was timed to coincide with Boehner's commencement speech at Catholic University of America last month.
In defending Boehner, Smith said the country is facing “the most monumental deficit, an economic tsunami that will undermine everything we do — our whole economic way of life.”
He added that the national debt is on course to double in ten years, “an exponential increase that is completely unsustainable.” He said the academics' reaction was therefore “disappointing in the extreme.”
In contrast, he argued that the Republicans were advocating tough but necessary policies.
“There needs to be a balance about what is achievable if we truly want to be responsible,” he said. “It's easy when all you have to say is “how much do you want? I'll write you a blank check.” Boehner therefore looks like he's the heavy when he's really fighting for those poor programs which will get cut.”
Smith also warned of the dangers if the Fed continues with its policy of printing more money, saying that “everyone's 401(k) and home values, which are already eroding, will become a joke. A cruel joke.”
The academics' letter, made public May 11, also claimed that Boehner, a Catholic, was ignoring the Church's social teachings. However, Smith said that the speaker “is a man who believes passionately in Catholic teaching and cares about the poor — he really does.”
He also noted that the speaker led the effort on Obamacare to ensure it was pro-life.
On the pro-life situation in the U.S. in general, Smith, a longtime campaigner against abortion, said the movement “has never been stronger” and has particularly strong support among young people.
“I see it in high schools where I speak — I used to be booed in the '80s because I'd get a question about abortion,” he said. “Now they break out into applause and come up and shake my hand.
“They are really seeing it's a violence issue, violence against children and mothers, and one-third of the kids in their schools are missing because of abortion, so maybe that somehow creeps into their thought processes as well.”
However, he said young people were not so strong on resisting same-sex legislation perhaps because of the way Hollywood has portrayed the homosexual agenda. Moreover, he criticized the Obama administration for “pushing the gay rights agenda in all of our foreign policy.”
He said the administration's determination to integrate it into human rights policy has meant it is “displacing in prioritization all the traditional human rights like torture, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and all the others.”
But Smith rejected accusations that to speak out against such policies makes him homophobic. “I take the view of Mother Teresa: hate the sin, love the sinner, there's no animosity,” he said.
“It's about reverence for marriage and the importance of marriage. Look at what's happening in D.C. where Catholics have been forced out of the adoption business, ditto in Massachusetts where if you refuse homosexual adoptions you're out, you can't do it. So it is very serious.”
Smith praised the Catholic Church, and particularly blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI, for their uncompromising stance on these issues.
“They have really given a magnificent defense and that gives hope to all — lawmakers, policymakers and especially to women who might be contemplating abortion,” he said. “Who provides the love and a path to reconciliation? It's not Planned Parenthood; it's the Catholic Church, the other Christian churches, and the ministries they have created.”
Smith was speaking to Newsmax on the sidelines of a May 18 conference hosted by the U.S. embassy to the Holy See on combating human trafficking, a cause he has spearheaded in Congress for many years.
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