Nuns on the Bus tour leader Sister Simone Campbell appeared on MSNBC's The Cycle on Thursday afternoon to discuss her ministry, which predictably led to her left-wing agenda becoming the focal point of the conversation. The only host to take issue with her talking points was token conservative S.E. Cupp, who was armed with facts and figures that the good sister could not rebut except by adamantly insisting they were "really wrong." That's when it started getting a little tense. [ video below, MP3 audio here ]
Cupp began her line of questioning by addressing the myth that Republicans are cruel and heartless, effectively making the case that the growing welfare state is only making things worse:
Sister Simone, I think you know everyone can agree we'd like to decrease poverty and even though conservatives have been maligned for wanting to quote-unquote cut social safety programs and the social safety net, expanding welfare hasn't reduced poverty. In fact, adding millions to the ranks of welfare has seen poverty explode over the past four years. So what's the balanced response here?
Despite Cupp's cordial approach, the liberal nun took strong exception to Cupp's argument. "Excuse me, but that data is really wrong," she said. Continuing:
No, poverty has increased but quote welfare has not. The real culprit here is minimum wage. Minimum wage has stayed below the poverty level, and what we have to be keenly aware of is that in 1970 if you worked for minimum wage it kept you out of poverty. And so if we were going to go back to a wage that would keep families out of poverty, minimum wage would have to be about $12.50 an hour instead of its current $7.25. So let's talk about the working poor. People don't realize a big percentage of the people in poverty are the folks who are working.
Undeterred by Campbell's lack of logic, Cupp backed up her side of the argument with more statistical evidence. "Those are very nice sound bites," Sister Simone huffed. Visibly agitated at this point with her refusal to accept the reality of the predicament our nation has found itself in, Cupp countered, "No, they're terrible sound bites, Sister Simone. They are terrible."
Without really conceding anything, Sister Simone sought to put Cupp on the defensive with a strawman argument:
They are terrible, but they're erroneous. Because when you look at who's getting -- the recipients of Social Security paid into an insurance program for a long time. I know I'm still paying into Social Security, so when I get it I hope you're not calling me a loafer.
Seeing that she wasn't getting anywhere, Cupp resisted the temptation to go any further -- allowing Sister Simone to continue her 'religious rationalization' of big government.
So I think we have to be responsible as a nation that we have chosen not to raise minimum wage. We've chosen rather to have food stamps as way to let people eat. And I'm sorry, but I believe, as a Catholic, as a Christian, that everyone has a right to eat and part of government is to take care of it.