Thanks to recent news reports that cut through all the partisan spin, the choice between major parties couldn't be clearer.
Republicans in the Senate blocked a bill, the "Buffett Rule," that would have increased taxes slightly on the wealthiest among us. Republicans also discussed in more detail their budget plans to cut programs such as food stamps and WIC.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops weighed in with sharp criticism of the Republican budget plan, in letters sent to the House Ways and Means Committee and the Agriculture Committee.
They said the budget fails to meet certain "moral criteria" by disproportionately cutting programs that "serve poor and vulnerable people." They also voiced opposition to a provision making it harder for illegal immigrants to claim child tax credits.
And they protested "unacceptable cuts to hunger and nutrition" programs for "moral and human reasons." Instead they favored cuts in subsidy programs that "disproportionately go to large growers and agribusiness."
In the simplest terms, the voting choice is between luxury items for the wealthiest and milk for poor babies: extravagant wants or basic human needs. Quite literally this is the choice.
Sixty-two percent of Ryan's budget cuts take from the poor while the rich not only keep the Bush tax cuts, they get further tax cuts.
The bishops point out the immorality of this. Ryan, a Catholic, is not listening to the church on this.
It is hard, though, to see how one can claim to be pro-life, or anti-abortion for that matter, while enacting laws that contribute to malnutrition, starvation, increased miscarriages and increased abortions. Welfare cuts in the past have led to the highest abortion rates among those who formerly received AFDC.
Some politicians profess great concern for every zygote, embryo, fetus and newborn, yet show little concern for the women doing the carrying and the delivering. This is hardly pro-life. Good pre-natal care is needed, as well as good delivery care, good post-natal care, and good nutrition for baby and mother.
The term post-natal abortion has been used for infants that die shortly after birth because of inadequate medical care and inadequate nutrition. Being pro-life is about much more than delivery.
One final point. Poor women and children on Main Street did not cause our recent economic collapse. Those who did came from the wealthiest of us, the one percent, or the point zero zero one percent, the morally lax Wall Streeters who clearly showed they can't regulate themselves and can't be counted on to create jobs or to contribute to the common good.
True, they were just a portion of the wealthiest. There are others, like Warren Buffett, who wanted their taxes increased.
And that's where we came in, with Republicans blocking the bill named after him.
(James Lein is a community columnist for The Minot Daily News)