Let us ponder this for a moment: We are a nation who will spend $3.73 trillion in the next fiscal year to run our country, but in order to do so we have to take away money from the poor, the elderly and the sick that they use to pay heating bills in order to stay warm in winter. We have to do it by taking away hundreds of millions of dollars from a grants program that sends dollars to communities so they can improve themselves.

And that is just a start. More than 200 programs will be severely trimmed, if not eliminated, under the budget that President Barack Obama sent to Congress on Monday for the next fiscal year. But if you think that is callous, just take a look at what the Republicans are pushing with regard to the current budget. They want to cut between $61 billion and $100 billion from federal spending that will adversely impact programs that benefit women and children, health and education. With their newly minted majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Republicans are planning to put hundreds of social programs to the budget axe for the remainder of this year and launch a frontal assault on those programs generally for the next year.

We are past the time to do much about it, but that does not mean we should not reflect on what caused the grave situation in which the federal budget finds itself. First, politics: Then President George W. Bush exhausted the surplus left by his predecessor President Bill Clinton and bequeathed a huge deficit to President Obama. Second, greed: the race for billions by Wall Street that created the mortgage meltdown and sent the economy into a tailspin. Those culprits are unlikely to feel the blade of the budget axe – at least not nearly as much, proportionately, as the poor, the sick, the elderly and women and children.

It is useful to reflect on those factors because it gives context to what President Obama must now painfully do to save the nation.

Whatever the Republicans do and how much success they achieve, this much is clear: We as a nation elected them to a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and a stronger minority in the U.S. Senate. We must be prepared to live with the consequences of our decision.

But that does not mean we cannot grieve when we are forced to put the welfare of the rich and powerful over the basic needs of the least among us.