Archived Posts 2013 - Page 17 of 239 | Acton PowerBlog

workingpoorAfter reading a comment thread in which her online friends were complaining about poor people’s self-defeating behavior, Linda Walther Tirado wrote an articled titled “Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or, Poverty Thoughts,” which chronicled her struggles with near abject poverty.

I think that we look at the academic problems of poverty and have no idea of the why. We know the what and the how, and we can see systemic problems, but it’s rare to have a poor person actually explain it on their own behalf. So this is me doing that, sort of.

Tirado’s article went viral. A literary agent contacted her, and after a few readers emailed offers to contribute to a book project, Tirado started a GoFundMe page. Her initial goal was $10,500; she raised more than $60,000.

But there was a problem with her story: it wasn’t true.

As Angelica Leicht of the Houston Press discovered, Tirado doesn’t fit the mold of the working poor: She went to a fancy boarding school, speaks both German and Dutch, works as a political consultant, and is married to a Marine. Tirado eventually clarified that her piece was “taken out of context, that I never meant to say that all of these things were happening to me right now, or that I was still quite so abject. I am not.”

While the article seemed to confirm what many people already believed, for those who are actually poor – or at least once were — the article likely didn’t resonate. It doesn’t even live up to the title’s claim of an explanation for why those in poverty “make terrible decisions.”

The fact is that the working poor do tend to make terrible financial decisions — and not just because they lack resources. The working poor think about money differently than other economic classes. I’d like to take a crack at explaining why that’s the case.

logo-cure-our-worldThe Acton Institute is co-sponsoring the ‘Cure Our World’ Conference, sponsored by the Catholic Business Executives Group (CBEG) for Christian business leaders. The conference will take place in Bangkok, March 20-22 of 2014. There will be many interesting speakers, including Acton president and co-founder, Rev. Robert A. Sirico. Read on for how to get the “early bird” discount.

Here are seven reasons why you consider participating in this conference:

  1. To learn, meditate and inculcate the social teachings and wisdom of his Eminence H.E. Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace, as reflected in his publication titled “Vocation of The Business Leader”
  2. To hear from distinguished speakers on how ‘conflicts’ affect the World and that business is also a ‘conflict’ agent … and how we can help to “cure our world” of its ailments.
  3. To share and exchange the experiences of business groups from various Asian countries in order to agree strategies to reverse the damage that is caused by the ‘conflicts’ afflicting our world.
  4. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Dee-Tiny-HouseThere is a kind of trendy “green” simplicity that is a luxury only the comparatively wealthy can afford, says Dylan Pahman in this week’s Acton Commentary. But there is a movement catching steam that might perfectly encapsulate a type of solar-powered simplicity:

The tiny house movement is a recent trend in the United States for building and living in eco-friendly domiciles about half the average size of an apartment. Graham Hill, a tiny house architect, described his philosophy in the New York Times: “Like the 420-square-foot space I live in, the houses I design contain less stuff and make it easier for owners to live within their means and to limit their environmental footprint.”

Among the tiny house online community, there is a healthy realism despite the otherwise romantic appeal. Melissa Tack, who built and lives in a tiny house with her husband Chris, recently reflected, “This isn’t the life for everyone, people find their happ[iness] in many different ways. I have a friend that finds her happiness in 8-12 cups of coffee a day, and others that enjoy spending their time with friends and family. Living in a Tiny House is what you make it to be.”

Read the rest here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.

Vatican PopePope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium continues to stimulate conversation, especially in the arena of economics. According to Francis X. Rocca at the Catholic News Service, many are heralding the pope’s call for doing away with “an ‘economy of exclusion and inequality’ based on the ‘idolatry of money.'”

Sam Gregg, Acton’s Director of Research, weighed in on the pope’s economic viewpoint. (more…)

rubeA Rube Goldberg machine, contraption, invention, device, or apparatus is a deliberately over-engineered or overdone machine that performs a very simple task in a very complex fashion, usually including a chain reaction.

When each of my five kids hit 5th grade, they had to build a Rube Goldberg machine. It had to include a pulley, a lever…each of the simple machines. Thankfully, my children have an engineer father. Had it been left up to me, they would have gone to school with a shoe box, a rubber band and a note of apology. It simply isn’t my area of expertise. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What Is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act?
Eugene Volokh, The Volokh Conspiracy

Should you be entitled to an exemption from the generally applicable law, because of your religious beliefs? Or should the government be free to apply the law to you just as it does to others?

The history of the left-right divide: A centuries-old argument defines our politics, and offers a way forward
Yuval Levin, Salon

The modern divide between liberals and conservatives dates back to Burke and Paine. But there’s also common ground.

Placing Blame Where Blame is Due
Nicholas Freiling, Values & Capitalism

As human beings find themselves in dire financial, medical, social or emotional circumstances, they often cope with guilt by shifting blame from themselves to others, or even to objects.

Some Questions for Minimum-Wage Proponents
Don Boudreaux, Cafe Hayek

Are National Football League officials unscientific dolts when they assume that increasing the fines for helmet-to-helmet hits will reduce the frequency of such hits?

Last night on CNBC’s The Kudlow Report, PovertyCure director and Acton Research Fellow Michael Matheson Miller joined host Lawrence Kudlow and Rusty Reno, Editor of First Things magazine, to discuss the position of the Roman Catholic Church on global capitalism in light of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation ‘Evangelii Gaudium.’ The video is embedded below.