Archive for Finance and money

Whither the Pope? – creating a new Jesus Christ for modern sensibilities

“Ours is “an economy of exclusion and inequality,” Pope Francis insisted. Our system of “inequality” both results from and encourages “laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless.” Thus, “masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.”

“Worse, the Pope informs us, our “capitalist” system with its “inequality” violates the divine injunction against “killing,” for “such an economy kills” (emphasis added).”

“First, as already noted, it is simply dishonest: there is no basis, Biblical or otherwise, for equating an obligation to care for the poor with an obligation to endorse political policies ostensibly aimed at reducing “inequalities” in income and wealth. Decent minded people of all faiths and no faith have long recognized the need to care for those in poverty, and Christians specifically have always been acutely aware of this as a moral imperative.

“But it hasn’t been until the emergence of large, centralized governments, immensely affluent, industrialized societies, and the dominance of secular, egalitarian ideologies—i.e. phenomena that don’t appear until relatively late in Christian history—that anyone, much less any Christian cleric, has thought to identify compassion for the poor with the amelioration of “inequalities.””

“Second, even the tireless emphasis that pastors place upon Jesus’ relationship with “the poor” is less than fully honest, for it is grounded in a selective reading of the New Testament.”

“Third, this exclusive stress on Jesus’ fondness for “the poor,” whether by accident or design, conveys the impression that He was exclusively fond of “the poor,” a respecter of persons by virtue of their socio-economic condition—exactly what the Bible insists God is not.

Jesus, Today’s Church, and ‘Inequality’ by Jack Kerwick.

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Corruption funded government

RAHN: Government corruption on the rampage

“The Obama administration is arguably the most corrupt administration in U.S. history. Corruption destroys civil society and economic growth by undermining the rule of law and protection of private property.”

“The Justice Department is involved in a $100 billion shakedown racket against the big banks. The banks are heavily regulated and can easily be destroyed by government officials.”

“The Constitution is quite specific in that revenue measures are to begin in the House of Representatives and go through a congressional appropriation process. Yet the Justice Department and others have been able to greatly expand their budgets outside the legislative process by obtaining financial “settlements” from the private sector, through threats, intimidation and asset forfeiture. Bank settlements with the Justice Department now total something near $100 billion. This is corruption on a massive scale. Again, banks have little alternative but to settle with the Justice Department in order to stay in business. John Allison, president of the Cato Institute and former CEO of the 10th-largest bank holding company in the United States, BB&T, has noted that many laws contradict each other, such as the Patriot Act and many of the financial-privacy laws and rules, thus making it impossible for a bank to be in compliance with both. Then the Justice Department comes in and says if you pay us X billion dollars, we will not prosecute you.”

Banks, of course, are big, profit making, corporations and that, by modern ideological popular standards, makes them intrinsically evil. That means that many think the sort of thin Rahn notes is entirely a good thing. 

worried yet?

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Wailing for more – taxes for infrastructure

The complaint seems to always be the same ol’ supply side — need more to fix it. Education, health, roads, whatever. Mead takes on How the Highway Fund Impasse Illuminates Important Truths About American Life.

“When you look past the political tooth-gnashing and think about it for a second, this is really good news—the kind that Malthusian greens keep trying to ignore. The U.S. highway trust is running out of money because Americans are using much less gas even as our economy grows. Vehicles are becoming more fuel efficient, and the patterns of economic development are changing in ways that make energy use less intensive. As a result, gas and diesel taxes aren’t generating revenue growth in the highway fund. This is of course bad news for the highway fund, but we really should be celebrating a big national win here overall.”

“When dealing with the consequences of this happy shift, media coverage looks short-sightedly only on the revenue side. Gas tax receipts aren’t rising fast enough! But the other side of the equation also needs serious examination: What’s going on with the cost of infrastructure?”

The difficulty in the article is that they cite government controls as part of the problem and then beseech intellectuals and philanthropists to solve it. The obvious solution of reducing the government and giving the market a chance seems to be out of sight. That is its own problem as the market has a proven track record of success while that of intellectuals and philanthropists is nowhere near as rosy.

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EPA attach your wages?

scary. BRUCE: Feds plot to steal your paycheck. “The EPA takes its cue from rogue president on wage-garnishment scheme.”

Government bureaucrats gone rogue?

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Business friendly? Not Nevada

There are a lot of ways to inhibit commerce. Nevada provides an example. It starts with the ideology that a business is simply a cash cow, a target for getting money for the government. Local business owners share their stories, debunk notion that Nevada is a ‘business-friendly state’. “Excessive licensing, local regulations delay new businesses from opening, prevent established businesses from growing” by Kyle Gillis.

“Arshakuni’s experience with local licensing requirements is not uncommon. As detailed in “The Path to Sustainable Prosperity” a report released recently by the Nevada Policy Research Institute, the free-market think tank that publishes Nevada Journal, the state’s local licenses and regulations are so onerous that the idea of the Silver State as “business-friendly” no longer holds true.”

There is an exemption for minors doing incidental lawn mowing or babysitting but otherwise you’d better get city, county, and state business licenses as well as register with the state sales tax office and make sure all requirements are up to date and proper. Even then you’ll need to annually certify your income,even if it is below minimums, and pay annual fees.

Tax it and you get less of it. In this case that means that those products and services you need become harder to find and more expensive. The people of Nevada haven’t connected the idea that business is a target for government income with the realty of higher prices for goods and services that results from the ever increasing load that burdens business.

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Hockey sticks in economics as well as climate: matters of faith rather than science

It is yet another tome with the aura of science and logic and deep water that can’t suffer any significant examination. Jonah Goldberg takes a look at Mr. Piketty’s Big Book of Marxiness to raise a few questions to examine.

“The radical philosopher Georges Sorel (1847–1922) recognized that Marx’s Das Kapital was next to useless as a work of scientific analysis. That’s why he preferred to look at it as an “apocalyptic text… as a product of the spirit, as an image created for the purpose of molding consciousness.” And for generations of revolutionaries, intellectuals, artists, and activists, it served that purpose well. Marxism lent to its acolytes a certainty they could call “scientific”—an indispensable label amidst a scientific revolution—but, as Sorel understood, that was a kind of psychological marketing, a Platonic “vital lie” or what Sorel called a useful “myth.” Indeed, Lenin’s most significant contribution to Marxism lay in using Sorel’s concept of the myth to galvanize a successful revolutionary political movement.

“Marx tapped into the language and concepts of Darwinian evolution and the Industrial Revolution to give his idea of dialectical materialism a plausibility it didn’t deserve. Similarly, Croly drew from the turn-of-the-century vogue for (heavily German-influenced) social science and the cult of the expert (in Croly’s day “social engineer” wasn’t a pejorative term, but an exciting career). In much the same way, Piketty’s argument taps into the current cultural and intellectual fad for “big data.” The idea that all the answers to all our problems can be solved with enough data is deeply seductive and wildly popular among journalists and intellectuals. (Just consider the popularity of the Freakonomics franchise or the cult-like popularity of the self-taught statistician Nate Silver.) Indeed, Piketty himself insists that what sets his work apart from that of Marx, Ricardo, Keynes, and others is that he has the data to settle questions previous generations of economists could only guess at. Data is the Way and the Light to the eternal verities long entombed in cant ideology and darkness. (This reminds me of the philosopher Eric Voegelin’s quip that, under Marxism, “Christ the Redeemer is replaced by the steam engine as the promise of the realm to come.”)”

Like the global temperature hockey stick predictions, Piketty’s economic doomsaying is also the outcome of statistical manipulation and tortured definitions. Perhaps if he substituted political power for capital he might have something?

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cost of green

The subject is Ivanpah. California’s New Solar Plant: Burning Up Taxpayer Money, Land, and Wildlife by Benjamin Zycher describes the situation:

“the nominal capital cost per kilowatt (kW, one one-thousandth of a MW) of capacity for Ivanpah is about $5600, a figure that ignores some costs that are important but hidden. In comparison, the Energy Information Administration publishes estimates of the capacity costs per kW for coal, combined-cycle natural gas, nuclear, and on-shore wind capacity: respectively about $2700, $885, $4800, and $2075. For solar thermal plants in general, the EIA estimate is about $4750. (Bear in mind that these figures are for capacity costs only; they exclude fuel, operations and maintenance, and other costs.) The per-kW capacity cost of Ivanpah is well over twice that of wind power, which cannot compete federal production tax credit guaranteed market shares, and other subsidies.”

“The EIA estimates of total system (that is, including variable and other costs) levelized costs per mWh for solar thermal, conventional coal, natural gas, nuclear, and on-shore wind generation are, respectively: $243, $96, $66, $96, and $80. (Again: The wind estimate is far too low.) … True enough: Renewable power may enjoy future technological advances, but technological improvement is likely to characterize all electricity production. Accordingly, such future improvements in renewable generation do not necessarily imply increases in renewables’ competitiveness, particularly given the diffused energy content of sunlight and wind flows, a reality impossible to change.”

Then there’s the footprint. “Ivanpah sits on 3471 acres of Mojave desert” which compares to just a few acres for a traditional power plant. Not only is the land covered and the biosphere it supports drastically impacted, the materials requirement to cover that land with solar collection devices has a manufacturing and installation footprint that is often ignored.

“Ivanpah is a monstrosity, the kind that only a marriage among Beltway politicians, crony capitalists, and environmental Leftists could engender. It is the classic illustration of the dismal reality of “renewable” energy, and thus serves a public purpose very different from those argued by its proponents: It helps to reveal the truth of modern environmentalism.”

But is anyone listening? The amount of government funding put into this sort of boondoggle is horrendous yet is doesn’t seem to make any impression.

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Malthusians lack imagination?

One basic assumption of the modern era traces back to 1798 when Thomas Malthus published An Essay on the Principle of Population as illustrated by  the best-selling book “Limits to Growth” published in 1972 by the Club of Rome. It seems common sense: use something and you will run out of it. That is based on the zero sum presumption that all is fixed and nothing is created. The amount of wealth is fixed so rich are rich at the expense of the poor. The amount of oil is fixed so we will run out of that. The amount of land is fixed so we will run out of room for farms to feed the population. Matt Ridley says The World’s Resources Aren’t Running Out. “Ecologists worry that the world’s resources come in fixed amounts that will run out, but we have broken through such limits again and again.”

“In 1972, the ecologist Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University came up with a simple formula called IPAT, which stated that the impact of humankind was equal to population multiplied by affluence multiplied again by technology. In other words, the damage done to Earth increases the more people there are, the richer they get and the more technology they have.”

The problem for these Malthusians is that life isn’t a zero sum game.

“Economists call the same phenomenon innovation. What frustrates them about ecologists is the latter’s tendency to think in terms of static limits. Ecologists can’t seem to see that when whale oil starts to run out, petroleum is discovered, or that when farm yields flatten, fertilizer comes along, or that when glass fiber is invented, demand for copper falls.

“That frustration is heartily reciprocated. Ecologists think that economists espouse a sort of superstitious magic called “markets” or “prices” to avoid confronting the reality of limits to growth. The easiest way to raise a cheer in a conference of ecologists is to make a rude joke about economists.”

It is a lack of imagination, an immaturity of cognition, a concern grown to a paranoia. It is a part of that guilt that those in areas where the wealth was created seem to feel or the envy that those in other areas seem to feel. The feelings defy history and reality. 

The future is what we create. The U.S., in particular, has shown that the limits of the past can be set aside. The fight of the present appears to be whether or not we will regress to those limits, and poverty, of the past or proceed to create a future of our dreams.

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Grand conclusions from small islands

Michael Barone says Thomas Piketty wants income equality — and the hell with growth and notes a common tactic of those on the left.

“Like global warming alarmists, he extrapolates from abstract theory and a few years’ trendlines out a century forward — and presents the results as inevitable.

He also presents them as justifying the confiscation, more or less, of wealth accumulated by private individuals and putting it in the hands of mandarins guided by their supposedly superior sensitivity to public welfare.

People that build things, create things, make things cheaper and better — these are the targets of Piketty and others of his ilk (and, it appears, the Pope as well).

The U.S. stands as an example of just what you can do for the poor if government will stand back and let people build and create and improve. Sadly, the modern trend seems to be to harass, inhibit, and punish this sort of effort. The rationale, as Barone illustrates, is often dishonest in that it takes a small island and creates a grand conclusion with much hubris but very little base.

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Envy and ignorance, insurance, causation vs correlation

Mike takes a look at How Does Wealth Affect Auto Insurance Coverage and Costs? and provides an illustrative example.

“These days, auto insurance companies offer discounts based on your education, profession and wealth. They don’t tell that they give you discounts because you are rich. … Effects of credit score cannot be ignored either.

These revelations may come across as discrimination and many states fought using credit score as a factor in premium calculations. However, the fact is that companies and the studies carried about by some states showed that people with better credit history are less likely to make claims.”

As Mike points out, the discrimination is based on factors that insurance companies have found correlated to their costs. However, discrimination is a bad word these days. There is an ongoing effort to eliminate any form of discrimination. Perhaps one of the better examples of this has been in the housing market. Banks and other lenders were forced to eliminate their traditional methods for discriminating between who was likely to pay back the loan and who wasn’t. The result was the housing crash between 2005 and 2010.

Discrimination, whether in product quality or in business factors, can lead to increased quality, better production and reduced costs, and a growth in wealth … but it also results in winners and losers and that, for some, is morally repugnant. The choice is better wealth and health for all as in the U.S. or what people suffer in places like Cuba and Venezuela. The underlying problem is that some can’t see this reality.

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Picking your villains

The Senate Majority Leader got going on his favorite villains on the floor of the Senate despite propriety or reason. That was just another episode of attacks the left has been using to personalize the debate. Murdock thinks the Liberal critics of Koch brothers ignore their philanthropy.

The Kochs’ critics are free to disagree with the Kansas industrialists and their libertarian ideas. However, most who despise the Kochs would be shocked by what these “greedy capitalists” do with their profits, beyond campaign donations.

Medicine, arts, environment, education … The real story is one of the typical successful American Capitalist. It stands in contrast to the story of the wealthy individuals in most of the rest of the world, how they acquire their wealth, and what they do with it. Take Russia, for instance …

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Reed thinks they are evil: delusion and denial

John Hinderaker wonders if it is A New Low for Liberal Haters. David Koch gave the New York-Presbyterian Hospital $100 million toward construction of a new outpatient facility.That effort has generated all sorts of protest.

“A rational person would wonder: if David Koch is opposed to affordable health care, why would he donate $100 million to a hospital? Won’t his contribution help to make health care more affordable?”
 …
“David Koch is a cancer survivor who has given hundreds of millions of dollars to cancer research and to improve the treatment of cancer and other diseases, out of love and concern for his fellow man. Liberals try to block improved health care because they are consumed by rage and hate. This episode tells you, really, all you need to know about modern liberalism.”

What is it that drives one to such self destruction.

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The optimists view on Ivanpah

You may have heard the stories about fried birds or remember from a while back about the desert tortoises and you may even be sufficiently mathematically literate to wonder about effectiveness but all of that is set aside as Katie Fehrenbacher says The Hoover Dam of solar is now live in the desert of California. Here’s why it’s so important.

“Less than a hundred miles from the rim of the Hoover Dam, just outside of Las Vegas at the edge of dusty San Bernardino County, sits a symbol of how the sun will some day provide copious amounts of electricity for entire cities. This is Ivanpah, the world’s largest operating solar farm, which uses 347,000 mirrors (173,500 heliostats) and three huge 450-foot towers to harness the sun’s heat to generate electricity.” … “enough solar power into the grid to power 140,000 (average American) homes”

… “the 5-mile by one-mile long colossal clean power project, Ivanpah is the Hoover Dam for this generation”

“Ivanpah took years longer to get built than expected. It was one of the first projects to be developed on controversial Bureau of Land Management land, and the location ended up having more desert tortoises than originally thought.”

“Average panels convert about 10 percent to 12 percent of the light, while more high efficiency panels like those from SunPower convert about 20 percent.” … “Ivanpah uses dry cooling instead of water cooling to manage its heat. That’s important because as we’ve seen with the California drought, the future will be increasingly water-constrained.”

“Connectivity and computing is playing a role in Ivanpah as well. Each heliostat is connected by not only a power cable but also a data cable that controls each one ensuring they track the sun, or change position according to the facilities’ needs. When there are high winds the mirrors go into a safety flat position. When it rains they also go into that position to get a free mother nature washing. Data commands all aspects of the Ivanpah facility.”

The optimists gloss over many things. If you don’t gloss over the column, you can see them. Time may also reveal these things.

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The green war on the poor

“Before around 1960, anybody other than a crank would have been flabbergasted at such suicidal stupidity and policies one would expect from an enemy or a rival. An illiterate farmer in the 19th century knew you had to husband natural resources and protect them for the future, but he would never have idealized a harsh natural world that only stubbornly and by dint of hard labor produces sustenance for humans. But that was before environmentalism evolved into a cult for an affluent society of people so rich that they can take for granted their protection from nature by technology and industrialism, all the while it demonizes a modern world those same people couldn’t live without for five seconds.”

Bruce Thornton: The Costs of the Environmentalism Cult. To deprive farmers of the water they need to grow fruits and vegetables, to deprive people of the fuel they need to keep warm in the winter, these sorts of actions are a war of the wealthy on the poor.

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Raw emotion often goes negative

Walter Williams on the Politics of Hate and Envy:

“Though sports and Hollywood personalities earn multiples of CEO salaries, you’ll never find leftists and progressives picketing and criticizing them. Why? The strategy for want-to-be tyrants is to demonize people whose power they want to usurp. That’s the typical way tyrants gain power. They give the masses someone to hate. In 18th-century France, it was Maximilien Robespierre’s promoting hatred of the aristocracy that led to his acquiring dictatorial power. In the 20th century, the communists gained power by promoting public hatred of the czars and capitalists. In Germany, Adolf Hitler gained power by promoting hatred of Jews and Bolsheviks.”

Michelle Malkin on Standing up against wealth-shaming:

“America, we have a bullying epidemic. No, not the school bullying issues that get constant attention from Hollywood, the White House and the media. No, not the “fat-shaming” and “body-shaming” outbreaks on Facebook. The problem is wealth-shaming. Class-shaming. Success-shaming.”

“Perkins barely scratched the surface of the War on Wealth that has spread under the Obama regime. Anti-capitalism saboteurs have organized wealth-shaming protests at corporate CEOs’ private homes in New York and in private neighborhoods in Connecticut. Hypocrite wealth-basher and former paid Enron adviser Paul Krugman at The New York Times whipped up hatred against the “plutocrats” in solidarity with the Occupy mob. New York state lawmakers received threatening mail saying it was “time to kill the wealthy” if they didn’t renew the state’s tax surcharge on millionaires.”

It is an old technique and has a number of tragic wins to speak  for it. The ‘tragic’ part just doesn’t seem to have any impact which is enough to make one wonder just how historically literate the advocates of wealth envy must be. But then, it isn’t reality that is the driver, it is raw emotion and that seldom leads to happiness.

 

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About that goose with golden eggs

“Even those of us who create goods and services in more mundane ways receive income that may be very important to us, but it is what we create for others, with our widely varying capabilities, that is the real wealth of nations.

“Intellectuals’ obsession with income statistics — calling envy “social justice” — ignores vast differences in productivity that are far more fundamental to everyone’s well-being. Killing the goose that lays the golden egg has ruined many economies.”

Thomas Sowell on The Inequality Bogeyman

“These little episodes have much wider implications. Most of us are much better at some things than at others, and what we are good at can vary enormously from one person to another. Despite the preoccupation — if not obsession — of intellectuals with equality, we are all very unequal in what we do well and what we do badly.” … “We are lucky that we are so different, so that the capabilities of many other people can cover our limitations.”

Rather than obsess on the wealth, it would probably be better to look at just what the wealthy did for others.

“Before Rockefeller came along in the 19th century, the ancient saying, “The night cometh when no man can work” still applied. There were not yet electric lights, and burning kerosene for hours every night was not something that ordinary working people could afford. For many millions of people, there was little to do after dark, except go to bed.”

Finding just what some wealthy person did for the ‘common man’ is easiest for those directly connected to innovation and industry such as Edison, Ford, Gates, and Jobs. It is a bit more difficult when wealth is acquired at the second level, that of capital formation and management. That is why Wall Street is so often a target of the leftist envy. That envy is what killed the goose that laid golden eggs. It has caused much human misery.

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Inequality: good or bad

Steve Cichon dug up a 1991 Radio Shack newspaper advertisement and found that 13 electronic products for $5k (and 500 hrs. work) can now be replaced with a $200 iPhone (10 hrs.).

“The comparison above is an example of the “invisible hand” at work, giving us more goods, better goods, and cheaper goods over time. And the poor and middle class benefit the most. While only the wealthy might have been able to afford the bundle of 13 electronic products costing $5,000 in 1991, almost anybody today can afford an iPhone with features that far exceed the 13 products in 1991.

“Instead of spending so much time obsessing about income inequality, the “top 1%,” the “decline of the middle class,” and generally criticizing and blaming the free market for every woe, maybe we should devote more time to celebrating how the “miracle of the marketplace” has brought about rising living standards for all income groups in America, especially low-income households. Falling prices of manufactured goods like food, cars, clothing, household appliances, computers and electronics have probably given low-income households in the US greater access to the “good life” than all of the government programs and safety nets that are part of the trillion dollars of spending on America’s “War on Poverty.””

Then there’s the story about people in San Francisco ‘outing’ a Google engineer in anti-technology protests. Being poor just ain’t what it used to be … but then, many facets stay the same – see Appalachia: The big white ghetto for an insight into the new ‘Pepsi’ generation.

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Inequality in honesty

A. Barton Hinkle posts on The Great Inequality Debate with some good insight but some rather glaring dishonesty.

“The abstract notion of equality is the lodestar of the American left, just as the abstract notion of liberty is the lodestar of the right. Or at least some liberty: Most conservatives care greatly about the economic kind, and the sight of an entrepreneur caught up in red tape enrages them. But certain conservatives care less about other kinds of liberty, such as the freedom of gays and lesbians to pursue their own happiness as they define it, or the freedom of a young black male in a hoodie to walk down the street with a bag of Skittles unaccosted.”

The distinction between left and right could be useful but the references maligning the right are dishonest. The “freedom of gays and lesbians” is a matter of the limits of libertarianism and the fundamental requirement that rights (freedoms) have responsibilities. The comment about “unaccosted” probably refers to the Zimmerman case and misrepresents the facts of that case as determined by trial.

“Focusing only on inequalities of result also ignores another important dimension to the question. Again, Wilkinson: “It’s not enough to identify a mechanism of rising inequality. An additional argument is required to show that there is some kind of injustice or wrongdoing involved.”

This gets to the matter that the left is presuming a guilt without evidence of a crime much less a proper connection between cause and effect. The whole ‘income inequality’ idea has very little to do with its purported aim – to reduce poverty or provide credibility to questionable behavior – and much more to do with such things as envy.

Efforts to force equality where it does not exist can lead to an unintended suffering. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. took the effort for equality to its limit in his 1961 “satirical and dystopian short story Harrison Bergeron. Governance efforts based on the ‘forced equality by government idea’ have failed and often expressed significant human suffering in the process of doing so.

Yet here we go again. The quote attributed to Albert Einstein on insanity comes to mind.

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Capitalism again: Wondering what Bible the Pope is reading

What did Jesus say? Thomas Mullen a number of parables of Jesus on economics and wonders What Bible is Pope Francis reading?.

“There is no need to address each of the pope’s arguments against free markets from a purely economic perspective. Tom Woods has already done this thoroughly during his December 6 episode of the Tom Woods Show, “Pope Francis on Capitalism.”

What is more surprising than the pope’s leftist economic ideas is his ability to ignore the overtly pro-capitalist themes in the gospels themselves. Jesus’ teaching consistently holds capitalists up as heroes. He never once even hints that the government should direct economic affairs.

The misconception that Jesus’ message is anti-capitalist probably stems from the same confusion that pervades all leftist thinking: the inability to distinguish voluntary from coerced human action. Jesus often exhorts his followers to voluntarily give to the poor. Nowhere in the gospels does he suggest that the Romans or the vassal Jewish government should be empowered to tax the wealthy to provide for the poor.

Tax collectors are de facto sinners, remember?”

The question is an important one. If a church leader can stimulate discussion about a perceived dissonance between what he espouses and his guidance, what about the rest of us? Are we suffering the same disconnect? How can this be addressed?

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More on the realities of capitalism

Professor Williams takes on the Pope with what capitalism really is. In so doing, he gives Carson in the previous post a lesson in reality. The Pope and Capitalism is a response to those who castigate others as ‘selfish and greedy’ and denounce economics based on free choice and liberty.

“Profits force entrepreneurs to find ways to please people in the most efficient ways or go out of business. Of course, they can mess up and stay in business if they can get government to bail them out or give them protection against competition. Nonprofits have an easier time of it. Public schools, for example, continue to operate whether they do a good job or not and whether they please parents or not. That’s because politicians provide their compensation through coercive property taxes. I’m sure that we’d be less satisfied with supermarkets if they, too, had the power to take our money through taxes, as opposed to being forced to find ways to get us to voluntarily give them our earnings.”

It is the ‘tugging at heart strings’ that keeps people paying taxes. That is the incentive in government and you see it any time the school systems want more money or when there is a fiscal showdown and the park service targets the public or whenever vague and abstract ideas like justice or equality are bandied about as where something must be done.

In the private sector, such come-ons tend to fade as the reality surfaces. In the public sector, they only seem to grow and fester.

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