Archived Posts 2013 - Page 40 of 239 | Acton PowerBlog

poor-taxDuring the government shutdown billionaire philanthropists Laura and John Arnold gave $10 million to the National Head Start Association to keep the program for low-income children running. Mr. Arnold made it clear, however, that he did not believe this was a permanent solution, as “private dollars cannot in the long term replace government commitments.”

But some people thought Arnold’s generosity itself undermined the government’s power. As The Nation’s Amy Schiller said, “The entire shutdown is undergirded by a fantasy of a world in which the government’s power is vastly reduced and private citizens step into the breach with better, more innovative ideas for solving social challenges.”

It’s not that they are against all philanthropy — only the public donations that undermine the government’s monopoly on power. As John Daniel Davidson explains:
(more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, November 4, 2013
By

At Public Discourse, Nathan Shlueter takes an unusual approach in his review of Acton’s Director of Research Sam Gregg’s Tea Party Catholic — it’s a memo to the faculty of Georgetown University as written by Sen. Paul Ryan:

As Gregg’s book makes clear, defending market economies does not make one a libertarian. And, in fact, no libertarian or Randian egoist would approve of my budget plan, which—whether you agree with it or not—is a sincere attempt to preserve and improve a financially endangered social safety net, not destroy it. Nor should defense of the market be confused with crony capitalism, which is profoundly unjust, and which I have spoken out against strongly and repeatedly. Finally, the market is not a panacea for all our ills, and is even a source of a few of them. There are common goods that can only be secured by good government. And, like government, the market will only be as good as the human beings who act within it.

The fact that we disagree on some matters of policy does not necessarily mean that either of us is outside Catholic social teaching. As Gregg points out, in most cases, Catholic social teaching only provides the correct principles for resolving complex social and economic questions, rather than specific policy requirements. This means that in most cases there is room for legitimate disagreement on the correct application of those principles.

Read more . . .

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, November 4, 2013
By

Stop Calling Marriage a ‘Luxury Good’
Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

If you want to talk about economic inequality in matrimony, don’t just look at the weddings. Look at the divorces.

Business: A Sequel to the Parable of the Good Samaritan
Matt Perman, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

When we think of the parable of the Good Samaritan, we tend to think of the importance of charity and giving to those in need. That is one of the chief points Jesus is making. But is it possible that the parable might have something to say about work and business as well?

How Obamacare Offends Human Dignity
Stephen M. Krason, Crisis Magazine

The Catholic Church’s social teaching is erected on the belief in the basic dignity of the human person.

Fellow Christians: I’m Rich and I’m Sorry
Jen Pollock Michel, Christianity Today

The church needs a more open conversation about wealth and stewardship—and not just for pastors.

From the folks at Independent Women’s Voice:

Can’t keep your health care plan? Received a cancellation letter?

We know that ObamaCare is causing this happen to people all across America — your family, your friends, your co-workers, your employees. Maybe even you.

Washington needs to see what is happening. That’s why Independent Women’s Voice launched a new Tumblr site — MyCancellation.com — and we are looking for submissions from the millions across the country who have received cancellation letters from their health insurance providers notifying them that their plan – that they liked – will be cancelled due to ObamaCare. (more…)

No! Not the Dark Money!

No! Not the Dark Money!

“Dark money” sounds menacing and foreboding – a financial nomenclature suggestive of gothic masterpieces like “The Raven” and “The Black Cat.” Whereas Poe’s tales actually contain sinister elements, the phrase dark money is employed by activist shareholders much like the villains of countless “Scooby Doo” cartoons devised illusory ghosts, werewolves and vampires. The evildoers wanted to scare those meddlesome Mystery Machine kids from nefarious moneymaking schemes.

The anti-capitalism messages of “Scooby Doo” are repeated by those ominously intoning the perceived evils of so-called dark money in politics. In ordinary political usage, dark money refers to funds raised to finance an election campaign or ballot initiative without any requirement of public disclosure before voters decide the question.

Shareholder activists have torn a well-worn page from the “Scooby Doo” playbook by adopting the tactics of the show’s bad guys. These tactics include attempts to frighten voters with the dark money bogeyman, who lurks behind other pet issues such as genetically modified organisms and fracking (hydraulic fracturing). (more…)

get-your-hands-dirtyTo avoid the “twin errors of materialism and spiritualism” Christians need to mix it up with the “dirtiness” of this world, Jordan Ballor argues in Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (And Action). The Christian Post recently interviewed Jordan about his new book:

CP: What is “dirt” a metaphor for in the book?

Ballor: It’s a multi-layered metaphor. On one level, it’s just about grit, the things that attend to hard work – sweat, toil and mud – all the things that have to do with what happens when we work hard in this life. On another level, and informed by Christian understandings of sin, it has to do with the fallenness of our natures. The spiritual dirt that comes with original sin and adds up as we actually sin in this world. I use it on at least those two levels in the book to talk about how we can seek to be clean, whether that’s always a good thing, whether we should seek to be dirty in some cases or not.

Obvious from the title, I’m encouraging us to get dirty and that is in the first sense, although understanding that avoiding sin is not always possible. So that is how those two layers of the image of dirt come together.

Read more . . .

contraceptive-mandateThe delivery trucks of Ohio-based Freshway Foods bear signs stating, “It’s not a choice, it’s a child,” as a way to publicly promote the owners’ pro-life views to the public. It wasn’t too surprising, then, that the company and it’s owners, Francis and Philip Gilardi, would be opposed to the Obamacare’s requirement that the health coverage for their nearly 400 full-time workers include abortifacients.

The American Center for Law and Justice helped the Gilardi’s challenge the mandate, arguing that the mandate violated their religious liberties. Today, the D.C. Circuit Court agreed and handed down a ruling that the requirement “trammels” the expression of religious freedom. In the majority opinion the judges ask, “What exactly is the government trying to ameliorate?”
(more…)