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“Yeah, But they did make the trains run on time.”

US Bishops Offer 5 Keys to End Financial Crisis
Urge Responsibility for Choices Made

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 29, 2008 ( As Congress goes back to the drawing board to consider the nation's finances after today's failed bailout vote, the country's bishops have their own list of principles they hope will be taken into account.

In a letter sent to government leaders Friday, Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, chairman of the episcopal conference's Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, urged a consideration of five key principles when considering how to bail out the nation's failing economy.

He first promised that the bishops are praying for the situation, which he called "both terribly disturbing and enormously complicated." Then, acknowledging that "my brother bishops and I do not bring technical expertise to these complicated matters," he affirmed that "our faith and moral principles can help guide the search for just and effective responses to the economic turmoil threatening our people."

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[Click here to read the original letter]

    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 EconomyThere 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

You wrote:

Our Catholic tradition calls for a “society of work, enterprise and participation” which “is not directed against the market, but demands that the market be appropriately controlled by the forces of society and by the state to assure that the basic needs of the whole society are satisfied” (Centesimus Annus [35])

Pope John Paul II wrote

In this sense, it is right to speak of a struggle against an economic system, if the latter is understood as a method of upholding the absolute predominance of capital, the possession of the means of production and of the land, in contrast to the free and personal nature of human work.73 In the struggle against such a system, what is being proposed as an alternative is not the socialist system, which in fact turns out to be State capitalism, but rather a society of free work, of enterprise and of participation. Such a society is not directed against the market, but demands that the market be appropriately controlled by the forces of society and by the State, so as to guarantee that the basic needs of the whole of society are satisfied.

    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:

Curiously enough, while Wallace [named FDR's Secretary of Agriculture in 1933] was paying out hundreds of millions to kill millions of hogs, burn oats, plow under cotton, the Department of Agriculture issued a bulletin telling the nation that the great problem of our time was our failure to produce enough food to provide the people with a mere subsistence diet. The Department made up four sample diets. There was a liberal diet, a moderate diet, a minimum diet and finally an emergency diet ­ below the minimum. And the figures showed that we did not produce enough food for our population for a minimum diet, a mere subsistence.

The AAA [Agricultural Adjustment Administration] produced all sorts of dislocations in our economic system. For instance, we had men burning oats when we were importing oats from abroad on a huge scale, killing pigs while increasing our imports of lard, cutting corn production and importing 30 million bushels of corn from abroad.

Wallace himself said: "It is a shocking commentary on our civilization." That was not so. That kind of thing was no part of our civilization. It was, rather, a shocking commentary on the man who engineered it. It was a crime against our civilization to pay farmers in two years $700,000,000 to destroy crops and limit production. It was a shocking thing to see the government pay one big sugar corporation over $1,000,000 not to produce sugar.

    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.

in XTO,
Fr. Brusca
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