What if there were no profits?

Like many oth­ers, Pope Francis fails to see the good of profit, says Dylan Pahman in this week’s Acton Commentary. There is a false dichotomy here between profits and poverty. Stock markets measure company value, which is related to profit but not the same, and people can idolize that. Continue Reading...

Reining in the EPA’s regulatory overreach

President Donald Trump turned heads and drew criticisms for his efforts to curb the regulatory reach of the Environmental Protection Agency. With the appointment of Scott Pruitt to lead the agency, Trump has vowed to create a leaner bureaucracy by requiring agencies to repeal two regulations for each new regulation enacted. Continue Reading...

Why Seattle’s minimum wage law is now destroying wages

“The city of Seattle has the highest minimum wage in the United States,” notes Dylan Pahman in this week’s Acton Commentary. “While economists and policy-makers continue to debate the issue, a recent working paper from researchers at the University of Washington (UW) raises serious questions about the effectiveness of minimum wage hikes.” In short, the study concludes that the “increase to $13 reduced hours worked in low-wage jobs by around 9 percent, while hourly wages in such jobs increased by around 3 percent.” The researchers explain, “The reduction in hours would cost the average employee $179 per month, while the wage increase would recoup only $54 of this loss, leaving a net loss of $125 per month (6.6%), which is sizable for a low-wage worker.” If this study holds up to scrutiny, it will show that, contrary to their intention, those who hoped to help workers at the bottom have actually made things worse. Continue Reading...

The cooperative magic of work

“When people work together,” says Dylan Pahman in this week’s Acton Commentary, “they are able to multiply the fruits of their labors far beyond what they could each do alone.” “Work,” wrote the Reformed theologian Lester DeKoster, “is the form in which we make ourselves useful to others.” I like this definition because it puts things in a realistic, everyday perspective. Continue Reading...

The DeVos budget: Toward a new paradigm of public education

“If school choice effectively functions as a standing critique of public education as well as being a potential solution to problems evident in the current system,” asks Hunter Baker in this week’s Acton Commentary, “how can public school advocates ever approve of an appointee like Betsy DeVos?” That question leads to others. Continue Reading...

The disordered soul of Frank Underwood

“Frank Underwood, masterfully played by the award-winning Kevin Spacey, embodies the corruption that so often attends to the pursuit of political power,” says Jordan Ballor in this week’s Acton Commentary, “and as the new season nears it’s worth looking back at where it all began for Francis and Claire Underwood.” In their review of the show’s first season, David Corbin and Alissa Wilkinson rightly observe that the example of Frank Underwood provides an important negative lesson about the need for faithful and faith-filled politicians. Continue Reading...

Pope Francis’s attack on ‘libertarian individualism’ not about libertarians

The following essay appeared Friday, May 5, 2017, at Crux. In a recent message by Pope Francis to the Pontifical Academy of Social Science he outlines some moral concerns about a phenomenon he sees as invading (his term) “high levels of culture and education in both universities and in schools,” namely “libertarian individualism.” On the first day of my philosophy classes, the professor admonished us that if we want to have an intelligent discussion or debate, we must begin by defining our terms. Continue Reading...

The two-fold ministry of Jesus

“Jesus not only sought to bring a spiritual salvation,” says Abraham Kuyper in this week’s Acton Commentary, “but also countered human misery and did so up until the very end.” He fed the thousands and healed the sick; the blind could see, the mute could speak, and the dead were raised. Continue Reading...

More than compassion needed for Europe’s refugees

“Irrespective of the political forces at play,” says Trey Dimsdale in this week’s Acton Commentary, “there is no arguing with the fact that such a large number of displaced immigrants presents a monumental humanitarian crisis in which survival becomes the initial, but not final, concern.” Prior to 2014, fewer than 300,000 refugees and migrants arrived in the European Union each year. Continue Reading...