“Yeah, But they did make the trains run on time.”
Well, Bishop, if not “technical expertise” perhaps a general understanding of economics would help. If you are a citizen and intend to vote—and certainly if you intend to tell other people what to do—you have an obligation to understand the principles underlying the “economic turmoil threatening our people.” When people give counsel about something they do not understand, they are liable to give dangerous advice indeed—no matter how well intentioned they may be. I would urge you to read Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson, and Thomas E Woods, The Church and the Market- A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy. There are other worthwhile books out there, but these two will get you going with a minimum of effort.
Some of what you wrote makes sense—there is some greed in the market, there is a need for oversight in the form of uniform accounting principles for all of the players, those who have profited unjustly ought to be punished.
Your fundamental error was in quoting the late Pope John Paul II on economic matters. He got along entirely too well with the Marxist regime in his native Poland—others were beaten or did jail time while the regime allowed him to flit about the world as he pleased. If David Yallop is correct, Carol Wojtyla became Archbishop of Cracow only after the Communist Party boss vetoed seven other candidates—not because the Church had worn him down, but because Wojtyla was the man he wanted. In any event, even if Yallop is wrong, the late Pope's thinking was always tainted with the existentialist philosophy that nurtures Marxism
Pope John Paul II wrote
As an existentialist, the late Pope always seemed to think that things could both “be” and “not be” simultaneously. With enough “dialogue” virtually any heresy could be made conformable to Catholic Truth. In context, Pope John Paul spoke against a caricature of free enterprise, claimed that the alternative to this caricature was not socialism, “which in fact turns out to be State capitalism,” and then goes on to describe his ideal system as nothing other than socialism! If you are a purist, you may wish to recognize it as the species of socialism called fascism.
A significant portion of our economic woes comes from entirely too much control by “the forces of society” that we call “government.” The valueless “money” issued by the quasi-governmental Federal Reserve has utterly debased the the U.S. dollar, while enabling politicians to pile up staggering debts, which they have not the decency even to record on the governments books. Our national debt—mostly for unconstitutional programs—is many times the $10 Trillion or so that the government recognizes. The “sub-prime mortgage crisis” was engineered by the government—by creating federal guarantees for loans via “Fannie” and “Freddie,” by not taking swift and decisive action against abuses found in these two companies, and by demanding that companies make loans to unqualified buyers in the name of some distorted social consciousness or warped conception of civil rights.
Government regulation? Consider how the rules are made and by whom. Government regulations are made largely by influential corporations (i.e. big campaign donors) who sit on government committees to make sure that the rules favor them and hurt their competitors—rules which require a battalion of lawyers to fill out all the forms and insure compliance. Consider the Enron example. Consider the cartel we call the Federal Reserve. Consider the cartel we call Congress: a three page $700 Billion bailout —had to become a 451 page bill, loaded with tax breaks for constituents before it would pass. Consider congressional oversight of Fannie and Freddie.
The Church too is one of “the forces of society” but look where it has been in the past fifty years. Beyond the unmitigated disaster of Vatican II, we have been treated to a continuous parade of pervert priests and bishops preying on the innocent (not to mention playing with each other) and being shuffled around for protection by their bishops and the Pope. Perhaps there is a similar problem in Rockville Centre. What does one have to do to get a Roman basilica these days? In Palm Beach we had two pervert bishops exposed for what they were. And when the Palm Beach County police went to arrest a pair of priest-thieves, they had to wait until one came back from Ireland, and the other from his cruise around Australia! At $8.6 Million it was worth the wait!
Politicians and Prelates have absolutely no right to preach about how free enterprise ought to become even more fascist.
If there is any doubt, just take a ride into New York City. Any fair sized city will do, but the “Big Apple” probably makes the point best. There are 15 million people jammed into the lower end of Manhattan on a business day. Somehow they all get modern communications services and electricity. When it is time to eat, they can get most anything they want, from a hot dog to pheasant under glass; they can wash it down with their favorite brand of soda, water, beer, wine, whiskey, coffee, tea, or milk. If they have a headache, back-pain, a cold, or an itch, a nearby pharmacy will have their choice of remedies. They can buy a pair of denim jeans or a fine wool suit; a cotton dress or a gown of silk. There are newspapers and magazines, candy bars, chewing gum, cigars, and cigarettes. With all of this ability to get what one wants, there is little waste and rarely a shortage. How did it all get to the right place, at the right time, in the right quantities? Does the Mayor of New York plan all of this? the Governor? the Cardinal-Archbishop? God help New Yorkers if they did! The free market puts those things there. By the way, you won't be able to get a cab, and parts of the Subway small like sewers in the ninth circle of Hell—but that is not because of any failure of free enterprise—it is because of the limited number and high cost of taxi medallions issued by the city government—it is because when everybody owns something like the Subway, nobody owns it, and no one cares what happens to it.
Now contrast that with “the forces of society” running an economy. The United States suffered over a decade of depression and war under the most powerful social controllers in our history, the Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt administrations. Here is a first hand account of how they handled just one of the myriad aspects of a cartelized economy:
The quote is from John T. Flynn, The Roosevelt Myth (Book I, Chapter 5 in this case). The book is must reading for anyone who thinks that “the forces of society” ought to run the economy. It is packed with many such bizarre stories—were it not for the sufferings of millions of people the book would be funny.
Yes, Bishop, Mussolini made the trains run on time, but at great cost. If we need any one thing in our society it is honesty—honest money, honest accounting, honest regulation, honest government, honest elections, honest men in office—honest theology, and even honest bishops.
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