Category: Acton Occasional Series

Note: This second article in a two-part series on the Republican Party Platform. Part I can be found here.

In the previous article we looked at summary outline of the Republican platform as it relates to several non-economic issues covered by the Acton Institute. Today, we’ll look at the GOP’s economic agenda as laid out in the platform. Because the document is long (66 pages) and covers an extensive variety of economic-related areas (agriculture, energy) this list won’t be exhaustive. But it does cover the primary economic positions that are being supported or opposed by the Republican Party.

(Next week, after the Democratic National Convention, we’ll examine their platform’s stance on the same and related issues.)
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GOP Party PlatformDuring the recent Republican National Convention the GOP delegates voted to adopt their party’s platform, a document that outlines the statement of principles and policies that the party has decided it will support.

Although the document is not binding on the presidential nominee or any other politicians, political scientists have found that over the past 30 years lawmakers in Congress tend to vote in line with their party’s platform: 89 percent of the time for Republicans and 79 percent of the time for Democrats.

Because of its significance to political decision-making, Americans should be aware of what is proposed in these documents. In this article, we’ll examine a summary outline of the Republican platform as it relates to several non-economic issues covered by the Acton Institute. Tomorrow, we’ll look at the GOP’s economic agenda as laid out in the platform. (Next week, after the Democratic National Convention, we’ll examine their platform’s stance on the same and related issues.)
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Wikimedia

Wikimedia

On Tuesday, President Obama declared this week Captive Nations Week. The first Captive Nations Week was in 1959, proclaimed by President Eisenhower to call attention to the oppression of several countries in the Soviet Bloc and to encourage Americans to support fight for democracy and liberty worldwide. Enjoy the six quotes below as we observe a week dedicated to the beauty of freedom and decrying the continued existence of tyranny:

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From Monday July 18 through Thursday July 21, the Republican Party will be holding their national convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Then, from July 25 to 28, the Democratic Party will hold their convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Here are five things you should know about these events:

1. The political party conventions are held every four years as the culminating event of the presidential primary season. For America’s two main political parties, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, the convention has three main purposes: to officially nominate candidates for president and vice-president, to adopt a party platform, and to decide on each party’s specific rules for internal governance. Although there is no rule governing the timing of the events, the party with the incumbent president tends to hold their convention last.
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joseph-interpreting-dreamsNote: This is the latest entry in the Acton blog series, “What Christians Should Know About Economics.” For other entries in the series see this post.

The Term: Consumption Smoothing

What it means: Consumption is the use of goods and services by households. Consumption smoothing is the balancing out of spending and saving over a period of time to maintain the highest possible standard of living (measured in consumption) over the course of one’s life.

Consumption is one of the first economic concepts mentioned in the Bible. Similarly, consumption smoothing is one of the first economic concepts to play a significant role in redemptive history.

In Genesis 41 we find that the Pharaoh of Egypt has two dreams that he is unable to interpret. Joseph is brought in to explain the meaning:
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Unemployment-0306Series Note: Jobs are one of the most important aspects of a morally functioning economy. They help us serve the needs of our neighbors and lead to human flourishing both for the individual and for communities. Conversely, not having a job can adversely affect spiritual and psychological well-being of individuals and families. Because unemployment is a spiritual problem, Christians in America need to understand and be aware of the monthly data on employment. Each month highlight the latest numbers we need to know (see also: What Christians Should Know About Unemployment).

Positive news is marked with the plus sign (+) while negative employment data is marked with a minus sign (-). No significant change is marked by (NC).

Overview: While most of the metrics were positive, few jobs were added and a large number of Americans dropped out of the labor for, making this one of the worst jobs report in years.
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7figuresA new study by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John Templeton Foundation reports on the extent to which governments and societies around the world impinge on religious beliefs and practices. Here are seven figures you should know from the study about trends in religious hostilities:

1. Of the 198 countries included in the study — covering 99.5 percent of the world’s population — 24 percent had high or very high levels of government restrictions in 2014 (the most recent year for which data are available), down from 28 percent in 2013. (Note: North Korea is not included in the study.)

2. The share of countries with high or very high social hostilities involving religion, which dropped from 27 percent to 23 percent. The increase in the number of countries with religion-related terrorist activity – which is counted as a social hostility in this study – was offset by decreases in the number of countries that experienced other types of social hostilities involving religion.
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