Mark Perry describes a Smackdown: Pope Francis vs. Greg Mankiw. It seems the Pope is a bit ignorant in economic matters. Some suggest this might be due to his life in Argentina as the corrupt government’s attempts to control who has what and how much the money is worth has been a matter of legend.
Manikiw hits the fact that it is free-market capitalism that has been the great driver of economic growth as well as a driver of a more moral society. He notes that “trickle down” is a perjorative used by those on the left. His weakest point is about the fact that it is capitalist societies that provide tax exempt status for churches.
“3. As far as I know, the pope did not address the tax-exempt status of the church. I would be eager to hear his views on that issue. Maybe he thinks the tax benefits the church receives do some good when they trickle down.”
The real key to that is that it is the capitalist societies that set the church in a privileged position. What should concern the Pope is how that privilege is being corrupted by those whose claims marginalize the traditional church, and the Catholic church in particular. One only has to look at the lawsuits involving abortion or or gay ‘rights’ to see this.
There are apologias for the Pope. Gene. M. Van Son describes his understanding of What the Pope Really Said as an example.
“Pope Francis’ views on economics and capitalism have likely been influenced by a life spent in Argentina — a country with an annual inflation rate of over 10%, where the poor live in slums and the rich live in gated communities, and where Liberation Theology came of age. But it’s also evident that he is only saying our current economic system needs to be fixed, not tossed in the garbage. And it’s not just our economic system that needs fixing.”
That does not excuse the leftist perjoratives and it only underlines the point that the Pope’s comments are misdirected. Matthew 7.3 comes to mind: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”
It might be more appropriate to fix the ills in Argentina, Venezuela, and the many other places where poverty, real poverty, and human suffering is endemic. But no, the target seems to be the U.S. and western cultures. That means the target is one of convenience and not one of reality. That approach is one that only fosters and feeds the cancer the Pope is trying to address. Even Jesus addressed this in his famous parable about teaching people to fish rather than just feeding them. It seems to Pope is falling into that class that figures just feeding is enough as it is the economic systems he condemns that teach people how to find their own sustenance.