Acton Institute Director of Research Samuel Gregg sat down with Daniel McInerny, the Editor of the English edition of Aleteia, to discuss his latest book, Tea Party Catholic. McInerny and Gregg explore what Catholics should believe regarding limited government, free markets and capitalism. Check out Sam’s book here, and view the interview below.
Raising minimum wage would be disastrous for minorities
Mark J. Perry, AEI Ideas
Probably the most vulnerable, at-risk group in the labor market would have to be black male teenagers, judging by the 44.3% jobless rate for that group in November.
Churches Gain, Islamists Lose in Latest Draft of Egypt’s Constitution
Jayson Casper, Christianity Today
Egyptian Christians will soon have a law to regulate church building. But this is only one achievement celebrated by Copts in the revised national charter scrubbed of most of its Islamist tinge.
May the Most Well-Connected Win: How Cronyism Steals our Wealth and our Values
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics
What if you or someone you knew were kept from pursuing a vocation or making a living because someone else had the power to put you down or block you from opportunities? What if that theft were legal? It is, and some people – even some Christians – think it’s legitimate.
Human Rights Day: Still pursuing religious freedom
Katrina Lantos Swett and Mary Ann Glendon, Reuters
75 percent of the world’s population now lives in countries in which this freedom is highly restricted, according to a recent Pew study.
Although the Slow Movement—a cultural shift toward slowing down life’s pace—began in the late 1980s, it has recently undergone a surge in popularity. Today there are numerous offshoots, including slow money, slow parenting, and slow journalism.
While I’m not quite ready to give up fast food or fast media, I’m eager to align myself with what Robert Joustra’s calls “slow justice”:
I’m trained to do slow justice. I do what Mike Gerson calls the banality of goodness. Slow, methodical, plodding, articulate and planned justice. Architectonic justice that (supposedly) lasts. Paul Wells said this week in Macleans of our Prime Minister, “Other people are moved by a sonnet or a perfect game. Stephen Harper mists up at the thought of long-term planning.” That’s me. I don’t sign petitions or march on capital hill(s). I grab drinks, take lunch meetings, ploddingly offer stats and case studies, voraciously track cultural and political conditions. I get more than 30 journals.
Those of us who do slow justice seem to be more conservative. Those who do fast justice, more radical, more alternative; less impressed with the systems that provide justice. Slow justice gets PhD’s, writes in journals, runs for office. Fast justice petitions, marches, mobilizes. Slow justice can resent fast justice. I’ve resented fast justice. It’s messy, annoying and – at times – hopelessly ignorant. It hasn’t done the work to get to the table.
Like Joustra, I tend to resent the fast justice approach. Too often it appears to be mainly what economists call signaling, i.e., conveying some meaningful information about oneself to another party. Typically, the information conveyed by the conscious-raising and awareness campaigns of the fast justice types is that the person is both caring and cool (or whatever the cool slang term for cool is nowadays) and is willing to help if it requires a minimal level of commitment.
Acton Institute President Rev. Robert A. Sirico stopped by the studios of TheStreet.com today and spoke with host Joe Deaux about how Pope Francis differs from his predecessors in his approach to economic issues.
The pope is emphasizing “human solidarity,” Sirico said. “He quoted Benedict by saying that globalization has brought us to be close, to be neighbors, but not to be brothers.” Achieving a sense of fraternity is the goal.
We’ve embedded the video for you below.
In my blog post yesterday about our statist healthcare system and the need for more economic freedom, I referenced a NYT piece by Scott Gottleib and Zeke Emmanuel and argued that if their rosy view of America’s healthcare future has any chance of coming true, we’ll need far more economic freedom in the system than currently exists. Now Greg Scandlen has a sobering essay at the Federalist challenging the NYT piece, taking particular issue with their pointing to Massachusetts as a hopeful model and for suggesting that nurse practitioners will help make up the difference once Obamacare starts driving up demand for healthcare services.
Gottleib’s and Emmanuel’s argument had other elements, including a call for increased economic freedom for the healthcare industry, but on the Massachusetts point, Scandlen’s response appears devastating. In a nutshell, he notes that Massachusetts passed Obamacare-style reforms beginning seven years ago and now has much longer appointment waiting times than the rest of the country, despite having far more physicians per capita than the national average. Read the piece and the helpful data tables here.
The Fraser Institute has released the ninth edition of their annual report on economic freedom in North America. The report considers how such factors as size of government, takings and discriminatory taxation, and labor market freedom affect people’s freedom to choose how to produce, sell, and use their own resources, while respecting others’ rights to do the same.
Read the report and see where your state ranks.
Business, we are told, is supposed to have a conscience to survive. For instance, Chad Brooks at Fox Business says that businesses have to be “socially conscience” in order to attract customers:
Young consumers consider social responsibility most when shelling out big bucks for products such as automobiles, computers, consumer electronics and jewelry, the study found. Specifically, more than 40 percent of consumers under 30 consider social issues when buying a big-ticket item, compared to just 34 percent who factor in those issues when buying everyday items, like gasoline and food.
Last night, Acton Institute President Rev. Robert A. Sirico joined host Lawrence Kudlow and author Naomi Schaefer Riley on The Kudlow Report to discuss the selection of Pope Francis as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, the effect he is having on the Catholic Church worldwide, and his views on economics and free markets. We’ve embedded the video of the interview from CNBC below.
Pope Francis and America’s Obligations to the Poor
Ryan T. Anderson, The Foundry
Our obligations to the poor extend into the political arena and require good public policy. Crafting such policy requires sound principles, prudence, and technical expertise to determine any given policy’s likely economic, social, and cultural effects
James Kalb, Catholic World Report
Why is this basic principle of Catholic social teaching praised more than it is practiced?
Do Mennonites Who Make Cabinets Have Religious Liberty in America?
Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review
“When my father started the company, he never would have imagined that he would be filing a lawsuit to protect one of his core Christian values, both personally and professionally.”
Christian History’s Radical Approach to Poverty
Richard Turnbull, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics
How can Christians learn from history how best to serve the poor?
This short list of books is meant to avoid the obvious works one might find in a Christmas list. So I’ve omitted great works like A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Charlie Brown Christmas (which I’ve included) is probably the only that would make the popular lists we often see because it’s so well known in our culture because of the television series that preceded the book.
The works below all have a strong Christmas connection, even the military history books and the two children’s book I included. This is of course by no means a complete list, but they are all accounts I have read and value. Any of them would make excellent gifts this year. Please feel free to add to this list in the comments section.
1) On the Incarnation of the Word: Simply one of the most profound and beautiful books ever written about Christ. On the Incarnation by Athanasius was written in the 4th Century. Very few works can penetrate the soul and explain the purpose and glory of God putting on human flesh like this one. Athanasius reminds of such ancient truths as, “For the death which they thought to inflict on Him as dishonor and disgrace has become the glorious monument to death’s defeat.”