Monday, October 15, 2012

Riches and Wealth for the Common Good

"The Church's History is Full of Examples of Rich People Who Used their Possessions in an Evangelical Way"

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 14, 2012 ( Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Sunday before and after praying the midday Angelus in St. Peter's Square.
* * *
Dear brothers and sisters!

Wealth is the principal topic of this Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 10:17-30). Jesus teaches that it is very difficult for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God, but not impossible; in fact, God can conquer the heart of a person who has many possessions and move him to solidarity and sharing with the needy, with the poor, to enter into the logic of the gift. This is how wealth presents itself in the life of Jesus Christ, who – as the Apostle Paul writes – “rich though he was, he became poor for us so that we might become rich though his poverty” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

As often happens in the Gospels, everything begins from an encounter. In this case Jesus’ meeting with a man who “had many possessions” (Mark 10:22). He was a person who from his youth had faithfully observed the commandments of God’s Law, but he had not yet found true happiness; this is why he asks Jesus what he must do to “inherit eternal life” (10:17). On the one hand, like everyone else, he is after life in its fullness. On the other hand, being used to depending on his wealth, he thinks that he might be able to “buy” eternal life in some way, perhaps by observing some special commandment. Jesus welcomes the profound desire that is in him and, the evangelist notes, casts a gaze full of love upon him, God’s own gaze (cf. 10:21). But Jesus also understands what the man’s weakness is: it is precisely his attachment to his many possessions, and this is why he invites him to give everything to the poor, so that his treasure – and thus his heart – will no longer be on earth but in heave, and adds: “Come! Follow me!” (10:22). That man, instead of accepting Jesus’ invitation, goes away sad (10:23) since he is unable to give up his wealth, which can never give him happiness and eternal life.

It is at this point that Jesus offers his teaching to the disciples, and to us today: "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" (10:23). The disciples are puzzled, and even more so when Jesus adds: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." But seeing that the disciples are astonished he says: "For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.

All things are possible for God" (10:24-27). St. Clement comments on the episode in this way: “The story teaches the rich that they must not neglect their salvation as if they were already condemned. They need not throw their wealth into the sea or condemn it as insidious and hostile to life, but they must learn how to use their wealth and obtain life” (“What rich person will be saved?” 27, 1-2). The Church’s history is full of examples of rich people who used their possessions in an evangelical way, achieving sanctity. We need only think of St. Francis, St. Elizabeth or St. Charles Borromeo. May the Virgin Mary, Seat of Wisdom, help us to welcome Jesus’ invitation with joy so that we might enter into the fullness of life.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Republican vs. Democrat: Preference for the Poor

Alright, Preference for the Poor. Let that be a goal.

If you have a Preference for the Poor, then here are some ways to politically help the poor.

A. ISSUE: Abortion.

R: Against killing babies, the poorest of the poor.
D. Willing to kill babies, both in the womb and out, if you consider O's voting record in the IL State senate.

Preference for the Poor: Republicans.

B. ISSUE: Homosexual "marriage" and "rights"

R. Against, because it tears at the fabric of the family and society and creates insecurities, disease, dysfunction and consequent poverty and unemployment as society crumbles around its presence.
D. Willing to allow homosexuality regardless of the social consequence.

Preference for the Poor: Republicans.

C. ISSUE: Widespread Sub-Prime Home Mortgages

R. Against, because our economic system cannot sustain easily the collapse of sub-prime mortgage payments without government bail out of the investment banks on Wall Street. The collapse would create a dire need for the poor who are kicked out of their homes. The Republicans repeatedly tried to regulate the mortgage insurance business so the collapse would not occur, but the D's beat them back -- and what the R's predicted happened. There is greed on Wall Street, but that isn't what caused the recession.

D. Even in the midst of the financial crisis D's Maxine Waters and Barney Frank, and every other Dem except the Blue Dogs, supported the sub-prime fiasco.

Preference for the Poor: Republicans (for personal responsibility)

D. ISSUE: Jobs

R. Generate jobs by lowering taxes and lowering unnecessary regulations to encourage investment in new products that have a multiplying effect on wealth creation and consequently more jobs from earnings that are invested. This gives more opportunity for the poor to (a) get a job, (b) start a business, (c) benefit from the higher tax revenue created by the greater flow of money in the economy. It is a natural law that lower tax rates create higher tax revenue by virtue of the increased cash flow in the economy. Surpluses are the norm in such states.

D. Government hires people to give them jobs. But, job creation is limited to taxes available or money that can be borrowed (the deficit). There is no possibility for multiplying jobs through product development, sales, innovation and creating new markets. The poor cannot grow in government jobs without the government growing. Jobs are limited.

Preference for the Poor: Republicans who want to help the poor by giving them the opportunity to create individual wealth.

E. ISSUE: The 1%

R: Stop corruption but let the marketplace generate wealth for any individual. It is the 1% (actually the top 20%) that pay nearly all Federal Taxes, and thus it is the rich that support welfare, food stamps, aid the poor, etc. etc. It is the 1% that give away their money to charities, and that build universities, and hospitals, and grant money to thousands of non-profit benevolent agencies that support the poor. When the government takes the 1%'s money, there will be less to help the poor through the government tax rolls because the rich will not be capable of earning as much.

D. Higher regulation, creates higher cost, creates finanical burdens for employers, institutions, and increases taxes... ultimately making healthcare more expensive and less accessible to the poor.

Preference: Republicans in the long run, although it looks like if we can borrow from the Chinese indefinitely, the D get the nod.

E. ISSUE: The Gap between Rich and Poor

R: Allows it because even though the gap may increase, the poor have jobs and aren't as poor as before. Poverty is NOT defined by how big the gap is, but how well the lower class can afford necessities of life.

D. Wants to minimize the Gap between rich and poor. But rather than helping the poor create wealth, they penalize the rich for their success, which just demotivates the rich and then less people are employed, and there is less tax for helping the truly poor.

Preference: Republicans in the long run, although it looks like if we can borrow from the Chinese indefinitely, the D get the nod.

E. ISSUE: Distribution (Solidarity) & Charitable Giving

The public perception is that D give more to the poor. But just the opposite is actually true. One study showed that Utah (red) averages 10.2%, where Vermont (blue) gives 2.5% to charity.

R: R's prefer to give to the poor through personal giving. It's more efficient, and it avoids graft. Republicans see more value in creating work and jobs than giving to charity, and it can be argued that creating jobs is far more important to the poor than handouts.

D. Prefer to give to the poor through government (using other people's money). They personally give far less than Republicans.

Preference: Republicans. The Dems are hypocrites at this.

F. ISSUE: Personal dignity

R: Republicans believe that work creates dignity more than wealth. That is probably why R are richer than D. If you want to be rich and create personal wealth, embrace R philosophy.

D. Believe that having money creates dignity and so they prefer welfare. And this is why D are poorer than R. If you want to be poor, embrace D philosophy.

Preference for the poor: Republicans.

How the Poor Can Become Rich

Subtitle A: What do the Rich know that the Poor don't?

Subtitle B: Secrets of the Rich that the Poor Could Use

The following lift from a website suggests to me that the rich have a secret which isn't really a secret, onto which the poor need to latch if they want to not be poor.


==== quote ==== 

The results [of several studies] conclude that lower income Americans vote in favor of their economic position (favoring Democrats).  With increases in income, voters can afford to follow social issues. 

The 2008 vote by income graph examines how income varies between rich and poor states.
Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the Union, Connecticut is consistently one of the wealthiest and Ohio falls in between.  Likewise, Mississippi is Republican stronghold, Connecticut is even more Democratic and Ohio is a toss-up.
The lower income level within the three states votes consistently in favor of the Democrats.  As income rises its clear which states follow conservative social ideologies.

 === end quote ===

The "secrets" may be these:

A. If you want to be rich, live by the philosophy (worldview) of the Republicans (see below). If you want to be poor, live by a Democrat philosophy. 

B. The Rich may read more, taking in a variety of input and make voting decisions based on what's the best way to create personal wealth; e.g. the candidate's understanding of how the economy works, proposed tax structure, proposed regulation structure. The Poor may read less, take in less input, and make voting decisions based on reasons other than personal wealth; e.g. on the color of a candidate's skin, political party affiliation, or promises to boost fiscal support to the poor. 

C. Regardless of what is vocally espoused, the self-made wealth generally lives by fiscally conservative capitalistic fiscal principles. I know a man who verbally claims to be a progressive social Democrat, that is, he favors socialism in terms of taxing the rich and giving it to the poor. But the man and his family guide their personal finances after a conservative capitalistic Republican philosophy, and he is easily in the top 10% income bracket among Americans.

Political Definitions can be subtle and confusing. Here's how I'll generally classify differences. I will probably not be consistent about one thing— the difference between a person's spoken political philosophy and the person's actions. That is, what a person says they believe and how they actually live are meant to be equivalent in the table below.

METRICConservative Capitalist 
(Trends Republican)
Allows for unrestricted growth of personal wealth generation.
Social Progressive 
(Trends Democrat)
Allows for restricted growth of personal wealth generation. 
Responsibility (Subsidiarity)Takes Personal Responsibility for Well Being. Blames self when things go wrong. Pushes subsidiarity down to individual.Looks to government, agencies, parents, organizations, hierarchy to take primary responsibility for well-being. Blames others when things go wrong. Pushes subsidiarity up to larger and more powerful social-political structures.
Laws (see also Govt. Regulation)Believes in a Natural Law with absolute cause and effects that never changes regardless of laws.

Believes that the goal of man made laws is to be fair to all people, that legislation is limited in itself to bring out that fairness. Believes, therefore, in adjudication for unintended circumstances.

Believers in Political Law cause and effects that can change by human law.

Believes that the goal of man made laws to to be fair to all, and that much can be legislated to be fair to all.

Believes in the homogeneous of humanity (everyone is the same and needs to be treated the same.)
Government RegulationBelieves in limited government regulation and broad judiciary judgement, but not in "legislation from the bench."

Believes in a heterogeneous humanity (everyone is different and needs to be treated differently).

Believes in strong government regulation and narrow judiciary judgement, and would allow "legislation from the bench."

Believes in a homogeneous humanity (everyone is the same and needs to be treated the same).
OrderBelieves in a Natural Order, and the scientific method. If a pattern of behavior or structure observed, there is a natural law behind it that can be discovered but not fundamentally changed.Believes in a Political Order. If a pattern of behavior or structure is observed, it can be changed by social interventions.
Human SolidarityBelieves in the solidarity of all humans, and that individuals and not bureaucratic institutions (e.g. faith based, and volunteer) should oversee distribution of earth's resources. Believes in the solidarity of all humans, and that government should play a controlling role in the distribution of earth's resources.
Religious LibertyBelieves in absolute freedom of religious expression and practice, as long as individual human rights are not forcefully violated.

Unrestricted freedom of conscience.
Believes in limited freedom of religious expression and practice; one person's religion should cannot be allowed offend another person's feelings.

Limits freedom of conscience.
TaxesBelieves in low taxes to generate economy and high revenue for governments.Believes in high taxes to generate revenue for government, even through economy is restricted in the process.
CharityBelieves in giving to charity out of individual's pocket. Believes in giving to charity out of government's pocket.
EconomyBelieves in free market capitalism.Believes in politically controlled socialism. (In reality, the ruling class in socialism practices capitalism, using the people as currency.)
The PoorBelieves there are two classes of the poor: those capable of working and those incapable of working.

Believes in helping the destitute with cradle to grave care, but those able to work, must work or not receive care.
Believes the poor are poor becasue they were represeed by the rich.

Believes in helping all  poor with welfare support, and that those capable of working can't find a job because there are none to their liking.
The RichBelieves that the best way to help the poor is to create jobs and the dignity that comes from work.

Understands that all the money they earn is reinvested or spent, which stimulates the economy and crates secondary jobs. 
Believes that the rich only care for themselves  and do nothing to help the poor.

Believes that the rich should be taxed to redistribute their ill-gotten gains to the less fortunate.
CharityBelieves in their individual responsibility of giving to charity (which includes the poor). 

Believes in their government's responsibility of giving to charity (and helping the poor.) 

Believes in using OPM (Other People's Money) to help the unfortunate and fund programs.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Republican Preference for the Poor

Vote for the Poor by Voting Republican.

A Catholic friend of mine claims he is Democrat because the Democratic Party (DP) has demonstrated its Preference for the Poor (PFT Poor), where the Republican Party (RP) has demonstrated its Preference for the Rich.

For my friend, the political need to show a PFT Poor evidently trumps the immoral issues of Abortion and Homosexual Rights that the DP has enshrined in its platform, and which the RP has explicitly rejected.  For some Catholics a PFT Poor is a secondary concern to abortion and homosexual issues, but for my friend it is the poor that need protection.

Care for the Poor

I cannot disagree with him about the need to show a preference for caring for the poor.

But, while the DP mantra claims it cares for the the poor, the physical actions of the two parties, indicates to me that the RP is the clear winner when it comes to actually living out a PFT Poor.

Let me make my initial case for how the Republicans have a Preference for the Poor by referencing pages from the RP 2012 Platform. I stopped after 14 pages, there's too much, at least in the Republican philosophy, that provides a positive, pro-active agenda that will lift society's fiscal and moral fabric. And perhaps that is my best reason for voting for the poor by voting Republican.

Here are preliminary notes... I only examined the first 14 pages of 63.

The Party of Equal Opportunity (page i)

The RP has a preference for the poor by embracing a philosophy that allows any U.S. citizen to pursuit their dreams. GOP, in his platform, stands for the Great Opportunity Party. The RP believes in equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.

The DP and particularly the Obama Administration (OA), have articulated their desires for equal outcomes, through the redistribution of wealth regardless of merit, effort, or investment. This belittles the recipient and robs them of the self-worth and the dignity that can only be achieved through productive work.

The Party of Providence (page i-ii)

The RP has a preference for the poor by embracing Providence's Natural Law (God) to govern a people rightly. If under God's rules the poor should be cared for, then the RP has placed itself there.  From the Preamble throughout the platform, God's principles of order and right are the guiding light. The RP Platform quotes George Washington's inaugural address:
The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.
Prosperity (page 3)

The RP has a PFT Poor by adopting a philosophy that focuses on the solution and enemy of poverty — prosperity. The RP claims that the poor can be prosperous through "self-discipline, word, savings, and personal investment." For me the RP is the glass is half-full party.

The RP has a PFT poor by wanting to restore opportunity and prosperity of American citizens by freeing people to use their "God-given talents, combined with hard work, self-reliance, ethical conduct and the opportunity, to achieve great things for themselves and the greater community."

This is in contrast to the OA's policies that under the guise of showing a PFT Poor, "expand entitlements and guarantees, create new public programs, and provide bailouts," and in the process create a "culture of dependency, bloated government, and massive debt," which to  me DO NOT show a preference for the poor, but a marginalizing of the poor.

The RP shows its PFT Poor by believing in the "economics of inclusion, enabling everyone to have a chance to own, invest, build and prosper."

The RP shows its PFT Poor by favoring the lowering of taxes and reduced regulation that promotes substantial economic growth, business formation and job creation, and at the same time increases government tax revenue (from the more robust economy) which allows for the financing of a safety net for the abject poor.  Heavy taxation, reduces job creation, tax revenue, and hurts the poor through fewer jobs and less government money for carrying for the indigent.

The RP shows its PFT Poor by pursuit of free market policies that boost employment, create job growth and economic prosperity for all.

Small Business,  Entrepreneurship and the Tax Code (page 2)

The RP shows a PFT Poor by encouraging small business growth which creates the vast majority of jobs, patents, and U.S. exporters. But small businesses are the least likely to afford the bureaucracy of regulation and complex tax codes. By reforming the complexity of the tax code and the implementation of necessary regulations, small business can thrive and hire more of the unemployed.

Tax Relief (page 2 & 3)

The RP reveals its PFT Poor by articulating that proper role of taxation should be to "fund services that are essential and authorized by the Constitution such as national defense and THE CARE OF THOSE WHO CANNOT CARE FOR THEMSELVES.

American Global Competitiveness (page 2)

 The RP shows its PFT Poor (in the U.S.) by wanting to reduce the world's highest corporate tax rate (which double taxes stock holders) so that more corporate earnings come to and and stay in the United States in order to foster jobs. As it is, jobs go over seas because the taxes of earnings here is so high compared to other countries.

(BTW: When "jobs are shipped over seas" we're helping the poor wherever those jobs go. That was precisely one of my three motivations for printing WHAT CATHOLICS REALLY BELIEVE in the orient. The other two was that the cost was 1/3 of what it would have cost to print here and thus made the book a financial loss, and the third was that I hopped that some of the books would be smuggled out of the plant in the predominately pagan city where it was printed, bound, and shipped.)

Audit the Fed and Reestablish a Metallic Basis for U.S. Currency (page 4)

The RP policies show its PFT Poor by desiring to control inflation (a hidden tax on all citizens), and
 stabilize the value of the U.S. dollar by increasing the Federal Reserve's transparency and returning the U.S. dollar to a gold or silver standard. This would stop practices such as the OA and the Federal Reserve from trying to "stimulate" the economy by printing more money, borrowing from China, and devaluing the money the poor have in their pockets.

Expanding Opportunities for Homeownership (page 4-5)

The RP shows its PFT Poor by opening up the opportunity for all citizens, especially the poor, a "decent place to live, a safe place to raise kids, and a welcoming place to retire."  Under Democrat control congress, the Dodd-Frank Act was passed that, in an attempt to help the poor, actually strangled the investment of money in the housing industry, making the housing market flatter. It requires that regulators create 243 rules, conduct 67 studies, and issue 22 periodic reports. The burden of regulation, enforcement and reporting burden "disproportionately harms small and community banks, ...reduces jobs in the construction industry" and hinders citizens from investing in real estate. The RP wants to replace the Dodd-Frank Act with legislation that is based on competition, not regulation, free enterprise, not bureaucracy, and a return to a housing industry that promotes personal responsibility on the part of the borrowers.

Rebuilding Homeownership (page 5)

The RP shows its PFT Poor by downsizing the FHA, which under the OA crowds out competition of the private sector and faces the risk of a bail-out to keep it solvent. (Bureaucracy of government is never efficient as the private sector.) The FHA must be limited to "helping first-time homebuyers and low- and moderate-income borrowers."

The RP shows its PFT Poor by pursuing a policy by which,
the federal government has a role in housing by enforcing non-discrimination laws and assisting low income families and the elderly with safe and adequate shelter, especially through the use of housing vouchers. Homeownership is an important goal, but public policy must be balanced to reflect the needs of Americans who choose to rent. A comprehensive housing policy should address the demand for apartments and multi-family housing. Any assistance should be subject to stringent oversight to ensure that funds are spent wisely.
Right-to-Work Laws (page 7-8)

The RP shows its PFT Poor by seeking to stop the bullying tactics of big unions to restrict an individuals right t work and earn well-earned raises without the unions approval, based on merit and performance and not political loyalties.
Ultimately, we support the enactment of a National Right-to-Work law to promote worker freedom and to promote greater economic liberty. We will aggressively enforce the recent decision by the Supreme Court barring the use of union dues for political purposes without the consent of the worker.

Defense of Marriage (page 10)

The RP shows its PFT Poor by affirming the Defense of Marriage Act, that the Obama has decided not to enforce, thus breaking his inaugural oath. The integrity of a society around the concept of one man, one woman marriage, is the foundation of social justice, subsidiarity, and solidarity. Without it, the poor will get poorer as they are encouraged to leave the responsibilities of marriage behind.

Living Within Our Means (page 10)

The RP shows its PFT Poor by wanting to set the standard for all institutional spending by passing a Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment (as 33 States of done), and thus preventing spending beyond our means, as every family should do. Poverty is often brought on by over spending, over borrowing, and then facing bankruptcies.

Federalism and Subsidiarity (page 10-11)

The RP shows its PFT Poor by embracing a Natural Law hierarchy of responsibilities enshrined in the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution, thus setting a role model for states, local governments, families and individuals. The Tenth Amendment states:
The powers not delegated to the
United States by the Constitution, nor
prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the
States respectively, or to the people.
Poverty, in many cases, is the result of turning subsidiarity on its head, and depending on others when the individual should depend on themselves or an authority closer in the authoritative hierarchy.

The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life (page 13-14)

The RP shows its PFT Poor by defending life from conception to natural death. Unborn babies are perhaps the poorest of the poor. By rejecting abortion rights, the RP shows its greatest preference for the poor. At the other end of the timeline, assisted suicide also devalues the importance of life in its end stages and even when suffering is present. Those that suffer, regardless of financial status are emotionally and physically poor. Suffering, especially in a Catholic understanding of it, is redemptive when  put under the authority of Jesus Christ, and in light of His salvific suffering. Not only does the OA support abortion rights, but Obama has voted three times to legalize the withholding of life sustaining necessities to newborns from botched abortions. That's murder.

...and there are 50 more pages of this stuff.

You want to help the poor. Vote Republican.