Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Effective Compassion

Poverty, Development, and the Idealist

In the latest EconTalk podcast, Nina Munk, journalist and author of The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty, talks about how she spent six years following Jeffrey Sachs and the evolution of the Millennium Villages Project — an attempt to jumpstart a set of African villages in hopes of discovering a new template for development. Continue Reading...

How to Prove That Everyone Knows Raising Minimum Wages Increases Unemployment

Yesterday I mentioned that translating economic principles into intuitive concepts is one of the most urgent and necessary tasks to prevent such evils as harm to the poor. Today, William Poole provides an excellent example of what is needed with his “common-sense thought experiment” on minimum wage increases: Suppose Congress were to enact a minimum wage $50 higher than the current one of $7.25 per hour. Continue Reading...

It’s Not Enough to Care About ‘The Poor’

“Each of us has a personal responsibility to heed the call to care for the poor,” says Jennifer A. Marshall. “The Bible doesn’t leave us room to make poverty someone else’s problem.” Long before LBJ’s call to combat poverty, Christians heard a higher call to compassion for the poor. Continue Reading...

Is the $17 Trillion Federal Debt Immoral?

Even when we agree on what Biblical principles should guide our political choices, evangelicals from the left and right rarely agree on policy solutions. But there is one area where there appears to be an increasingly significant level of agreement: the immorality of our national debt. Continue Reading...

By the Numbers: The War on Poverty

Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson gave his 1964 State of the Union Speech, in which he launched the ‘war on poverty.’ Within four years of that speech, the Johnson administration enacted a broad ran of programs, including the the Job Corps, Upward Bound, Head Start, the Neighborhood Youth Corps, the Social Security amendments creating Medicare/Medicaid, the creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and over a dozen others. Continue Reading...

Trickle-Down Welfare Economics?

Over at NRO, Thomas Sowell takes on what he calls the “lie” of “trickle-down economics.” Thus, writes Sowell, “the ‘trickle-down’ lie is 100 percent lie.” Sowell cites Bill de Blasio and Barack Obama as figures perpetuating the “lie,” along with writers in “the New York Times, in the Washington Post, and by professors at prestigious American universities — and even as far away as India.” But we should also note that “trickle-down theories” get a mention in Evangelii Gaudium, too: “some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.” In the midst of his discussion, Sowell asks the following penetrating questions: Why would anyone advocate that we “give” something to A in hopes that it would trickle down to B? Continue Reading...

Fr. Sirico on PovertyCure

Forbes contributor Jerry Bower recently interviewed Fr. Robert Sirico about the documentary film series PovertyCure: Jerry: “Let’s talk a little bit about PovertyCure. Where did this idea come from? What was the original conception of PovertyCure?” Fr. Continue Reading...