Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Dear Pope Francis, Please Shut Up....
It is bad enough living in a nation with an economically-illiterate president constantly espousing nonsensical economic theories, or worse, making his theories the basis for law.
Now I have to read in today's paper that Pope Francis, the leader of over a billion Catholics worldwide, has gotten into the act of saying economically moronic things.
In a recent speech decrying what he sees as growing economic injustice around the world, Pope Francis said:
"Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting."
This might be among the most absurd paragraphs in economic history.
If Pope Francis wrote this economic garbage on one of my final exam questions he would receive zero points and I would probably use up a box of red pens correcting the absurdity of his "logic."
Here are the facts.
First, there is plenty of evidence that so called "trickle-down" economics - the idea that reducing tax and regulatory burdens leads to growth and opportunity from the top down - works beautifully.
I would encourage any and all of you (especially you, Russ Kessler) to go back and look at the Mellon tax cuts of the 1920s, the Kennedy tax cuts of the 1960s, Reagan's 1981 and 1986 tax cuts, the Clinton tax cuts of the late 1990s and evidence from Chile, Sweden, Ireland, China, Germany, Canada, and other nations that have adopted the mantra that letting people keep more of their money will boost all income groups, not just the rich.
The data on upward mobility of the poor and middle class, productivity gains, the unemployment rate, the rate of infation (which robs the poor more than anything), GDP data and tax collections all proves that when it comes down to the question of where your next dollar should go - in your wallet or to the government - if economic growth, justice and inclusiveness is desired, the best way to go about it is to free those dollars from taxation to begin with.
During the 1980s, for example, Reagan reduced the number of tax brackets from fourteen to two and the top rate fell from 70 to 28%. The result (go get the data, it is free of charge on the Internet) was that all income groups saw a gain in net income and wealth. Yes, the rich gained at a faster rate than everyone else, but that is called mathematics. If everyone receives a 30% tax cut, someone making $1 million per year is going to naturally gain more than someone making $20,000 per year.
Pope Francis should look at what goes on in nations that do the opposite - like France, Venezuela, most of Western Europe and in recent times, the United States. Nations that adopt a "trickle-up" philosophy that argues for an expanded welfare state and higher taxes see sluggish to negative economic growth, a growing number of poor people and a shrinking middle class. This is simple to understand. If we tax those who are producing the most for our economy, the incentives to shelter income increases and the desire to expand is diminished. This inevitably impacts people in the middle and the bottom of the economic spectrum more in the form of fewer jobs and lower incomes. President Obama has never understood this. That is why FIVE years into his disastrous experiment with "Hope and Change" the only thing we see is declining hope and less change in our pockets.
Pope Francis should go talk to a buddy of mine in Chicago who happens to be a rich Catholic.
I met this guy in 1995 when he was in his late 20s. He grew up in a lower middle income household without his father being around for much of his life. That would seem to point towards a life where he becomes a victim of society, bad luck and a free market that rewards only those of us who grow up with silver spoons dangling from our mouths.
This guy lived in a tiny apartment, worked at a long-hours, low-paying job but kept digging in, working like a man on a mission, moving from city to city, job to job until he finally landed a job, and a career selling high-end medical technology to surgeons.
Today he lives in a house that is so big you better have GPS when you wander around in it and is married with two kids living a very upper-middle class or even lower wealthy class life.
I wonder what he might think about the Pope's views on what he should have to pay in taxes? This guy puts in unreal hours starting at the crack of dawn and his Pope thinks more of his money should be stolen so late-sleeping, lazy crackheads in Chicago can have more food stamp funds.
Is that justice? Is that equity?
Since when did our concern for the poor become no concern for the working stiffs who keep the poor alive? Since when did it become a good thing to COVET AND STEAL?
This is what Pope Francis wants. He wants 20% of the Ten Commandments to be violated in the name of his warped, illiterate view of economic justice.
I would suggest that instead of pretending to be some sort of armchair economic expert, the Pope spend more of his time on the other issues that have surfaced in the Catholic Church over the past several years. If he really cares about justice and the rights of human beings, there is plenty going on in his church to keep him busy without giving us his half-baked socialistic theories that have never helped the poor achieve any measure of progress.