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Would Jesus vote for unemployment benefits?

What would Jesus do? (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

There are some people who argue that even if Congress can find the money, it’s time to cut unemployment benefits.

Chris Edwards of the libertarian Cato Institute says workers need to plan ahead, “When they have jobs they need to save money, they need to build up their own personal funds, they even have to perhaps move to different states, like Texas that are growing more rapidly.”

That may sound unsympathetic, or even un-Christian. But there’s a line of thought that says these benefits hurt more than they help.

In a speech a few months ago, a rather prominent Christian, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, said we’d all be better off if needy people relied on charity, not government.

“Christ’s special love for the poor is a special quality that they possess in abundance: meekness. It is humbling to be an object of charity. The transformation of charity to legal entitlement has produced donors without love and recipients without gratitude.”

Of course, the most famous example of charity in the New Testament is the Good Samaritan, but unfortunately the story doesn’t tell us what eventually happened to the man he helped.

I would only say that if Congress ever does decide to move to the charity model, we would all do well to follow the suggestion to keep plenty of savings on hand.

And failing that, to cultivate close friends who are rich, or failing that, move to a place with a lot of Samaritans.

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