Posted Nov 27, 2013 by Martin Armstrong
Pope Francis has attacked unfettered capitalism as “a new tyranny”, urging global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality in the first major work he has authored alone as pontiff max. This 84-page document, which is known as an apostolic exhortation, sadly amounts to an official platform for his papacy. While he is liberal in his views of abortion and same-sex marriages, his views on economics shows serious signs of a great misunderstanding from which communism sprang roots.
Pope Francis displays a stark misunderstanding that seriously needs to be address. He has criticized the economic system attacking the “idolatry of money” and beseeching politicians to guarantee all citizens “dignified work, education and healthcare”. He has further called upon rich people to share their wealth. Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ he states defines human rights, he claims today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality.
“How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”
Pope Francis has overlooked the commandment that thou shalt not covet their neighbor’s goods. It is true that back in 2012, the top 1% of earners in the US collected 19.3% of the country’s total household income. There is a growing disparity between the rich and poor. However, how to address this is not by endorsing more Marxism. The entire structure should be reformed. It is the cost of government that has been rising and is sucking up all disposable income. The rich can hoard their capital, refuse to invest to create jobs, and move money offshore for safe-keeping. However, the age earner cannot hoard his labor and as President Cleveland recognized during the Panic of 1893, he is dependent upon contented capital. The more we attack capital, the great we will drive it away.
Deal directly with the issue. REGULATE the banks and stop their trading with other people’s money. Banks are supposed to lend to small business to create employment. That is not taking place and the youth even in the USA are being defrauded by irrelevant education. Forbes Magazine has reported that 65% of graduates cannot find employment in the field they studies in college.
Attacking capital will solve nothing. It will cause capital to withdraw and create even fewer jobs. The disparity will grow for taxes are rising exponentially and the social programs are collapsing. The Obamacare has proven to be a disaster because honestly career government workers have no idea of the real world.
It is not capitalism that is failing, but socialism that is centralized government planning. End taxation that is really no longer necessary and when the Bible talks about tithing your income, does it really mean giving a tenth of your income? How about (1) we stop coveting their neighbors’ goods, and (2) limit all taxation to no more than 10%. We are over 40% with the state taxes and this is far beyond the Biblical tithing. All politicians do is take other people’s money. Stopping some CEO from making a million does nothing for the homeless. Deal with the real problem – bloated government that consumes more than it benefits society. We have raised tax rates to insane levels and drove capital into hiding. This approach has never worked even once.
I was just there in Rome and listened to the Pope address the crowds. He was good and they loved him. He has been a true breath of fresh air when it comes to religion. However, he knows nothing about what he is saying in the field of economics. Sorry! How about we look at the real issue – “Unfettered Socialism” that is used as an excuse for political corruption. For the record, the Protestant Reformation was funded by men who wanted to get into banking where the Catholic Church prohibited the charging of interest as did the Arabs. Catholics were seen as second class because their standard of living was less for they could not borrow even for a mortgage. That idea of Saint Thomas Aquinas being the Sin of Usury dominated the Catholic Church after the fall of Rome and the Debt Crisis that produced that collapse. Now 70% of national debts on average is accumulated interest expenditure. Look well to the debt behind the headlines and you will see the same evils that the Church once stood against – forget the rich v poor disparity.
Deal with that issue of debt and political corruption and we will raise the real standard of living for everyone and capital will return to create even more jobs. Capitalism is the freedom of choice to do what you want and to be what you want. Under communism, the government took all the wealth from the people and they told you what to do. Is that what you really want to see? You cannot be a little-bit pregnant and you cannot be just a little bit socialistic when career politicians are in charge. Restore REAL democracy, not republics/oligarchies masquerading as democracies.
Be careful about this area in economics. You may mean well, but God created man with equal rights – not equal abilities. Some are born athletes. Others are brilliant theoreticians. If someone invents an assembly line and reduces the cost of a car so the middle class can now afford it, why is his contribution worth less respect and should be subject to government confiscation because of his success when he created millions of jobs and a whole industry? There would be no suburbs without car transportation. There would be no roads. Food would not exist in this abundance without motorized tractors. It is sad to say that people like Henry Ford become demonized for their wealth when they have contributed greatly to the creation of national wealth and raising the living standards for all.
I gave an example of the reality of this logic. What if a teacher adopted “social justice” and gave everyone the same grade. It will not work. We have equal rights, but not equal abilities. Paying me $1 million to play basketball will not be the same as paying Michael Jordon. Likewise, paying Michael a $1 million to explain market and economic movement will not work either. We all have our worth and it is based upon our comparative advantage. It may not be fair to some that they have more than another. It is also not fair that some people die at 30 and others live to 110. The bottom line – life is not fair and God designed this. Who is man to tell God this ain’t fair?
Go down this path VERY, VERY, VERY cautiously. This logic has killed millions of people with various revolutions in China and Russia that spread elsewhere and created the Cold War. Playing with these ideas of “social justice” have led to more wars and untold carnage than any other theory. This is not a subject that a Pope should be casually commenting on without a full understanding of how the economy really functions any more than I am qualified to speak about religious doctrine or every passage in the Bible. I will be glad to fly to Rome to explain the reality Behind the Curtain if anyone is really interested.