Capitalism and Catholic

Sorry, Phil, you NEVER said you were limiting your comments to the president or congress, and, uh, no,
I don’t know who you mean: You said leas than 5% of “elected or appointed officials” were not corrupt.

Your link is to a political philosophy commentary blog with no citations to any numbers, nor could it.

One item on this board that is very frustrating is the number of people who offer their opinions about things they know nothing about - nothing at all.

Sorry, your opinion castigating elected and appointed officials is one of them.
You’ve been smoked out. I’ve made my point.

Oh no, I’ve been smoked out. What will I do? I shall never live it down. I guess I will have to just live with my shame. For punishment, I will go to bed tonight without that slice of cake. I am so sorry that I didn’t clearly explain to you. after all, this board is such an important catholic resource.

No doubt the Pope himself is beaming with pride that you were so willing to defend those poor helpless elected officials.

[quote=“VonDerTann, post:45, topic:590477”]
political philosophy commentary blog
[/quote] It is a book, not a blog. It is only one book of many showing the corruption of our government. The book goes into detail that law congress has passed that allows them to enrich themselves.

BTW,m strange name you have there.

Or I could be named after my ancestors…like the ship was.

Families who have to pay estate taxes would be surprised to hear that those are not a confiscation of wealth. It is not slowing down money that would have come in. It is taking money that the family already has.

Now, hitting somebody with taxes the day after he or she dies because “you can’t take it with you” and “two things are certain: death and taxes” is one thing, if it is because the government needs to raise money and hitting large estates of the recently dead seems less catastrophic in personal terms than going after the accumulated wealth of the still-living, especially those who haven’t accumulated much more than what they realistically need to live.

Having said that, no, it is not the function of government to go find people who have legitimately accumulated private possessions on the theory that someone else ought to have the stuff, which is what “redistribution of wealth” means. No, the government ought to be raising money to carry out the duties of the government. It should not take it upon itself to play Robin Hood.

We need enough material wealth to get the necessities of life for ourselves. After that, when we objectively have enough, we should not be envious if some other people have a lot more than we do. If anything, we ought to pray for them, since the Gospel is so clear that accumulated wealth is a peril to the soul. That doesn’t mean that relieving people of accumulated wealth is a spiritual work of mercy. No, that is against the commandments that forbid theft and coveteousness.

Imagine what it would be liked to have the surname “Bismark.”

You almost had me going until you threw that in.

Really? Consider giving up a night’s cake for that unnecessary dig.

Honestly I think the approach most consistent with Catholicism (obviously I don’t speak on behalf of the Church, but on my shallow impression of Catholic Social Teaching) is surely going to be a balance?

Yes, sure, we can have ‘capitalism’ in the sense of free markets… And at the same time, there is a proper role for government regulation to ensure that the framework within which those free markets operate, doesn’t violate any human rights or otherwise cause indisputable harm to the common good.

E.g., I think government has a legitimate role to play in regulating that businesses must advertise honestly, and can be penalized for lying to consumers. (E.g. selling dog meat and calling it ‘cow’.) Or regulating that businesses cannot drain toxic sludge into the city’s water supply. Or legitimately using tax dollars for social programs (though which ones = an open question) to help the weak and vulnerable.

We need both. A balance between free markets in which human innovation can flourish as freely as possible, and society-level regulations that are ‘reasonable’ and ordered towards the common good (especially towards care of the weakest and most vulnerable).

The main argument is just always about what is ‘reasonable’.

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Only if you agree with carl Marx

Not going for a flat tax as the only way to structure a tax system does not make somebody into a Marxist.

For instance, in this country, the first X amount of everybody’s income is not subject to tax. The next portion is taxed, but at the same (relatively) low amount for everybody. Same tax, no matter who made that money. Then next portion up, if you make that much, is taxed at a higher rate. And so on. At the low end, everybody is taxed the same. For those who make enough to be taxed on portions that put them on the high end, everybody is taxed the same. That is not redistribution of wealth. That is a sliding scale based on ability to pay.

From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs "

I support a voluntary tax system.

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That’s right, in democratic countries the “system” in operation tends to be bespoke - not accurately captured by a single (or a few) word(s) descriptor. There is such a broad and varied mix of principles and regulatory controls aimed at extracting the benefits of functioning markets and avoiding the perils of power imbalances and market failures (non-functions markets).

I don’t have a problem with seeing that as a redistribution. It is likely a necessary feature of a well-functioning society.

Well, if the governmental authorities were to decide to go that way, but that isn’t likely, since in our country the word “voluntary” is usually translated as “optional.”

Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear to good conduct, but to evil.

Do you wish to have no fear of authority? Then do what is good and you will receive approval from it, for it is a servant of God for your good. But if you do evil, be afraid, for it does not bear the sword without purpose; it is the servant of God to inflict wrath on the evildoer. Therefore, it is necessary to be subject not only because of the wrath but also because of conscience. This is why you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Pay to all their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, toll to whom toll is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. Rom 13:1-7

Remember what kind of government reigned over most of Christendom, including St. Paul himself, when St. Paul wrote that. He was not talking about what our duties are when we are citizens of an idealized government with rulers that could be counted on to be just.

Essentially, you want the privatise the entire government?

Yes. It’s important to be able to be prudent and spend less than what you make so that you can voluntarily give it away and ideally not be a taker or reliant on the government.

There are many people, maybe not 95% but a large percentage, that would do the most government service on the day they retire. There’s certainly a swamp, a cesspool of politicians.

Actually, they don’t. Confiscating money from the rich to give to the poor is wrong. And just because the government taxes the rich doesn’t mean that money makes its hands into the hands of the poor because government is incredibly inefficient.

Give the government $10. The government gives the poor 50 cents. The war on poverty exceeds $1 trillion a year and barely budges the poverty rate. It has unfortunately led to a society in the USA of single parent households as people can be married to the government.

By the way, I’m referring to free-market capitalism and as Larry Kudlow says: free market capitalism is the best path to prosperity. When I think of the vineyard when God hires men starting at 7am to work to sunset or hires them at 5pm to work to sunset and pays them the same wage, I think it’s about sanctity of contracts and generosity. I don’t think of his voluntary decision to pay everyone the same daily wage as a form of socialism or as a form of redistributing income from the rich to the poor as those whom started the work agreed to the daily wage and thus were not cheated while those whom started at the end of the day generously received the entire day’s wage.

This betrays such a huge amount of ingratitude for the work of public servants that it staggers me.

This also betrays a staggering denial of what it was like to be poor in this world before the government took any care for those in poverty–that is, when capitalism was what kept body and soul together:

(Children Sleeping on Mulberry Street , 1890)

Newsboys Sleeping in the Offices of the New York Sun , 1891–1892.

( Boy [employee] in a glass factory , 1890)

And no, administration does not eat up 95% ($10 for every 50 cents of benefit) of assistance to needy families:

Concupiscence is the wrench in the gears.


Yes, that is why neither capitalism nor secular government nor any other human enterprise can be totally trusted or left unchecked. We’re all tempted, so we all need to know someone notices and cares whether we are doing our duty towards our fellow human beings.

I disagree right with that statement, although I get the point you are making.
Catholic (or Christian) is who we are at an essential level, not an ideology. Capitalism is an ideology like any other “ism”.
The Church has some wisdom on the issue.
Free markets and private property ownership and self determination are all good within the bounds of Christianity.

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I’m a big fan of capitalism… to an extent. It needs to be regulated and controlled because it does have a tendency to become oligarchic.

I realize you meant ‘true capitalism’ but that is something that has to be husbanded and cared for. Lassiez Faire capitalsm is a bad thing.


I think there are some people: teachers, firefighters, police officers, and military are true public servants.

Elected politicians of both political parties who make Washington their retirement home, instead of serving one or two terms are phony public servants. The founding fathers intended for senators and congresspersons to serve 1-2 terms and than leave. To truly serve the USA or the state they represent, they really need to leave once they served a reasonable amount of time (2-12 years). Otherwise, those corrupt politicians really are only in it for themselves. Power is something people don’t like to give up.

As for the administrative costs, there is a big category of other that is increasing while admin costs appear to be decreasing. If you add up these two costs, it looks like it ballooned from 22% during the Clinton administration to over 42% during Obama.

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