Catholic Social Doctrine and the Market Economy: Free Persons and Free Markets

Free Markets Catholic Church by Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.
The free market must operate within certain moral, institutional, and legal norms, or else it becomes something other than a free market. The free market is not an autonomous, free-for-all area exempt from moral law or from the hand of positive law. The market must always be protected and kept free, and it must be safeguarded from those who would seek to use it wrongly, whether by fraud, manipulation, abuse of economic power, or monopolization. It operates within the Rule of Law. …

The social doctrine of the Catholic Church undeniably puts great emphasis on the free market as a valuable, indeed “irreplaceable” economic and social institution. (Compendium, No. 349) Drawing largely from John Paul II’s encyclical Centesimus annus, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church is bullish on the free market and supports it as the best general means to assure proper allocation of scarce economic resources, of achieving economic efficiency, and of benefiting the common good.

The free market is an institution of social importance because of its capacity to guarantee effective results in the production of goods and services.  Historically, it has shown itself able to initiate and sustain economic development over long periods.  There are good reasons to hold that, in many circumstances, “the free market is the most efficient instrument for utilizing resources and effectively responding to needs.” [Read more...]

American Exceptionalism Under Assault

American Exceptionalism Under Assaultby Emil W. Henry, Jr. -
The Obama presidency has turned the American Social Contract on its head.

In this election cycle, one noticeable phenomenon is how the Republican presidential candidates are emphasizing our country’s founding principles — liberty and freedom — more than in any campaign in the modern political era. Each speaks often of the Declaration of Independence. Citing articles of the Constitution is commonplace.

The president’s record of evoking such themes stands in stark contrast. In his State of the Union address, for example, our president made only one perfunctory reference to the Constitution and then went on to misquote it. [Read more...]

Obama’s Bogus Jobs Data, 1.2 Million Less Jobs

Obama’s Bogus Jobs Data, 1.2 Million Less JobsThe Washington Times -

The White House hyped the news Friday that January payrolls had risen by 243,000. The hitch is the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also dropped 1.2 million from the calculated workforce. Somehow this net loss of a million workers in a single month was transformed into an improvement in the unemployment rate. As the old saying goes, figures don’t lie, but liars can figure.

“Job growth was widespread,” the BLS reported, but most Americans sense that something isn’t quite right with the numbers. The most important change was the deep decline in the workforce. While the overall population jumped an 1.6 million in January, the workforce declined a record-setting 1.2 million. This figure represents those who out of sheer frustration or for other reasons have dropped out of what the government defines as the active labor pool. They are worse than simply unemployed; they are both jobless and hopeless. [Read more...]

Morality and the Economy, No Separating the Two

Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson

by Chuck Colson -
The next election should be all about the economy, right? Wrong in spades!

During the seemingly endless build-up to the Iowa caucuses, there was one consistent refrain repeated over and over. It’s like the big lie — the more you keep repeating it, the more people are going to believe it, but it remains a lie.

The lie was simply this: that the political parties have to choose between social issues and economic issues. This year, the media and the party machines are telling us ad nauseam that the only issue that matters is the economy.

So any candidate who wants to win the White House should just shut up about things like marriage, the sanctity of life, religious liberty, and those other annoying issues that distract us from focusing on jobs and the economy.

But that’s crazy! Doesn’t anybody get the connection between the social issues and economics issues [Read more...]

Obama: Our Marxist Wizard of Oz

Obama Marxist Wizard of Oz by Peter Ferrara -
His mother was an unabashed hippie from 1960s central casting. His father was an openly avowed Communist from Kenya. While his father wasn’t around much, his devoutly progressive grandparents arranged for him to be mentored during his adolescent years by a dues paying member of the U.S. Communist Party, Frank Marshall Davis.

When he went to college, he was attracted to the Marxist professors and student activists, according to his own published memoirs. When he graduated, he moved to Chicago and became an instructor for the left-wing extremist organization ACORN in the social manipulation methods of radical Marxist agitator Saul Alinsky. He attended for close to two decades the Trinity United Church of Christ, which practiced neo-Marxist Black Liberation Theology. That church was headed during those years by the openly socialist Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who declared that the 9/11 terrorist attack on America was “America’s chickens coming home to roost.” He also famously preached from his pulpit, “Not God bless America, God damn America….” [Read more...]

Craving Another Great Depression

Obama radical marxist hates America by Ralph R. Reiland -
Pushing his agenda for higher taxes on “the rich,” President Obama kicked off his December 6 speech in Kansas by saying his Kansas grandparents “shared the optimism of a nation that triumphed over the Great Depression.”

In fact, the 1929 stock market crash turned into the long-running Great Depression because the counterproductive soak-the-rich policies of the federal government hadn’t “triumphed” in reversing the downturn.

Franklin Roosevelt’s forceful expansion of federal regulations and confiscatory taxation, his intimidation of “the rich,” encouragement of labor strikes, and half-baked policy experiments discouraged employers from hiring workers and provided strong disincentives to new business investment.

“From 1929 to 1940, from Hoover to Roosevelt, government intervention helped make the Depression Great,” writes Amity Shlaes in The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. “The trouble, however, was not merely the new policies that were implemented but also the threat of additional, unknown, policies. Fear froze the economy, but that uncertainty itself might have a cost was something the young experimenters simply did not consider.” [Read more...]

What the Pilgrims Can Teach Us about Economic Freedom

Thanksgiving Freedom Economic Freedom Economic Freedom -
The Pilgrims struggling to survive at Plymouth Plantation learned the importance of private property first-hand in 1623 when Governor Bradford adopted a free-enterprise system after just two years of communal sharing. Their experiment with socialism revealed valuable lessons that inspired the colony to shift to a free-market economic system that would serve as the foundation upon which America would grow into a great and prosperous nation.

As the Pilgrims learned, societies that respect property and the rule of law capture the benefits of free-market enterprise and enjoy high levels of prosperity. The benefit that we see from free markets is contingent on individuals having the right to own and protect property and to benefit from their labor. [Read more...]

PovertyCure – From Aid to Enterprise

PovertyCure is an international network of organizations and individuals seeking to ground our common battle against global poverty in a proper understanding of the human person and society, and to encourage solutions that foster opportunity and unleash the entrepreneurial spirit that already fills the developing world.

[Read more...]

Who Will Save New York? Herman Cain?

Radical Liberals Leftists by Richard F. Miniter -
I’ve just had my fourth grown son move his employment or business from New York State to Virginia. A fifth had already moved to Colorado. A daughter and three grandchildren are still here both working and living. For how long I don’t know because my son-in-law’s situation is fluid and the school taxes they pay on a home he rebuilt from the ground up with his own hands is more money each year than the purchase price of my first house forty odd years ago, not two minutes walk away. More money than a lot of people make today. More money than many senior citizens have to live on.

“I’m single and tired of paying more than half my income in taxes” my last son to move south grinned, “so I decided to let you and Mom shoulder the New York state public school teacher’s retirement fund all by yourselves.” [Read more...]

Jobs and Deficits: The Moral Equation

Rev. Robert A. Sirico

Rev. Robert A. Sirico

by Rev. Robert A. Sirico -

The Genesis account of creation tells us that from the beginning, humanity was created to work. God puts Adam in the garden to “work and watch over it.” The Scripture provides an insight into our nature: We are all, man and woman, called into this life to find our vocation, the work that is uniquely ours and contributes to the flourishing of the wider community.

This explains why we are naturally so troubled about what appear to be merely economic problems: intractable unemployment and the various schemes put forth by policy makers to spur job creation. But behind the question is the reality that we naturally prefer people to be productive contributors to our economic life.

How we accomplish that is the subject of the debate over our unsustainable budget and debt trajectory. Do we choose those policies that make room for more freedom in the market, unleashing the creative potential of the American worker, business owner and entrepreneur? Or do we default, once more, to political and bureaucratic measures that require heavier burdens of taxation and regulation? [Read more...]

The Austerity Myth: Federal Spending Up 5% This Year

Government Spending 2000-2011by John Merline -
When Republicans took control of the House in January, they pledged to make deep cuts in federal spending, and in April they succeeded in passing a bill advertised as cutting $38 billion from fiscal 2011′s budget. Then in August, they pushed for a deal to cut an additional $2.4 trillion over the next decade.

Some analysts have blamed these spending cuts for this year’s economic slowdown.

But data released by the Treasury Department on Friday show that, so far, there haven’t been any spending cuts at all.

Higher Spending, Deficits
In fact, in the first nine months of this year, federal spending was $120 billion higher than in the same period in 2010, the data show. That’s an increase of almost 5%. And deficits during this time were $23.5 billion higher. [Read more...]

Steve Jobs and American Exceptionalism

Apple America capitalism freedom by Ed Feulner -
Steve Jobs, who died yesterday at the too-young age of 56, was a living refutation of all that liberals constantly tell us about our country — that we’re falling behind others and live now in a “post-American world,” as one of Barack Obama’s favorite books puts it in its title.

As anyone who’s ever handled an Apple product or had his life improved by the technological innovations our system has produced in just a decade (that means all of us) will tell you, Jobs and innovators like him epitomize that immeasurable quality the left somehow finds most abject — American exceptionalism.

The meme of the left is that drudgery and mediocrity is not just our future but probably also our just deserts–for being too imperialistic, consumerist, wasteful, patriarchal, or what have you. (For an inexhaustible list of all our ills and sins, please check with the mob gathered at the “Occupy Wall Street” protest.) One should compare this deadened vision with the wonders Jobs wrought. [Read more...]

Taxi Cab Conservatism

Taxi Conservatismby Michael Bayewitch -
I was just recently in Washington D.C. and had an amazing conversation with a taxi driver on the way to the airport. After pointing out some of the many historical sites on the way out of town, the conversation took a surprising turn. She started to complain about people that do not work and live off of welfare and other government assistance programs; virtually all their lives.

To paraphrase, she made the following assertion: “It is a shame. I know many people, even my own family members, that have never held a job. I have one relative that is 31 years old and only held a job temporarily once. They do not feel a need to work because the government takes care of them.”

“Even worse” she explained, “it is becoming a generational thing. [Read more...]

Can Warren Buffett Do Simple Arithmetic?

Buffet and Obama Love fest Notice the striking similarities in misrepresenting the facts and seeming to lack basic math skills when making pronouncements on taxes and embracing a liberal/progressive agenda?

by Verum Serum -
As you probably heard, Warren Buffett wrote an op-ed last week begging to be taxed at a higher rate. Rather than give you an excerpt of the article, here’s a little video clip in which he makes most of the same points:

Two points to make about this. First, can Warren Buffett do math? The Tax Foundation looked at his proposal [ht: Matt Cover at CNSNews] and found that his plan is a bust:

Suppose Mr. Buffett got his wish and loopholes and deductions were eliminated, making it possible to tax the “super-rich” (those earning $1M – $10M per year) at an effective rate of 50%.

This would theoretically (in reality people would find ways to protect their money) bring in enough to reduce next year’s deficit by 8%. This amounts to 1% of our current debt. But Buffett also envisioned a super-tax on those making over $10 million a year. It’s an easy sell since few of us are so fortunate, but what would it accomplish? Again, the Tax Foundation crunched the numbers and found that a 100% tax rate on these individuals would reduce the deficit by 12%. [Read more...]

Couretas: Protect the Poor, Not Poverty Programs

John Couretas

John Couretas

by John Couretas

One of the disturbing aspects of the liberal/progressive faith campaign known as the Circle of Protection is that its organizers have such little regard – indeed are blind to — the innate freedom of the human person.

Their campaign, which has published “A Statement on Why We Need to Protect Programs for the Poor,” equates the welfare of the “least of these” in American society to the amount of assistance they receive from the government — a bizarre view from a community that trades in spiritual verities. Circle of Protection supporters see people locked into their circumstances, stratified into masses permanently in a one-down position, thrown into a class struggle where the life saving protection of “powerful lobbies” is nowhere to be found. And while they argue that budgets are moral documents, their metrics for this fiscal morality are all in dollars and cents. [Read more...]