Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, is blasting yesterday's meeting of eight "Circle of Protection" religious leaders with President Barack Obama. The eight offered their support in Obama's budget debates with conservatives.
Here's Tooley's take: "Jim Wallis and his allies who visited the White House profess to speak for 'real people who are struggling, some of whom are poor; families, children, and the elderly.' But in their limited, materialistic vision, only government entitlements and transfer payments qualify as legitimate expressions of Christian charity."
Tooley continued, "There is no apparent concern for working families struggling with high taxes, young people forced to pay into transfer payment schemes from which they likely will gain no just return, struggling potential entrepreneurs who would like to found new businesses, the chronically unemployed who would like jobs and not welfare . . . None of these Americans evidently merit a religious 'Circle of Protection.'"
Tooley's perceptions are accurate, and they pinpoint a longstanding problem that we could summarize algebraically: The left pays attention to person A, who has a problem, and person B, the politician who purports to have a solution. The left ignores person F, who pays more taxes so that person B can gain glory for sending aid to person A. In the late 19th century, William Graham Sumner offered a similar equation and called person F "the forgotten man."
For a recent example of forgetfulness in reporting, look at some recent reporting on the Minnesota government shutdown. The Associated Press told of how those reliant on state funds were "scrambling," and that was important to report, but the scrambled 1,200-word story disregarded taxpayer F, who has to pay the bills. Other stories told of people who could not camp in a state park because of the shutdown-but the forgotten man was . . . forgotten.