Pope John Paul II on a trip to Germany in 1980. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Pope John Paul II on a trip to Germany in 1980. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

This week, the Catholic Church celebrates World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland. Fittingly, Pope St. John Paul II was chosen as one of the patron saints of the week, both as a figure who fits into the theme of the Year of Mercy and as a beloved Polish Saint who once served as the Archbishop of Krakow.

John Paul II has a central place not only in the history and tradition of the Catholic Church, but also in world history as one of the driving forces behind the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent fall of several totalitarian regimes around the globe. He was a voice for truth at a time when many people, including Christians, had resigned themselves to the idea that the Cold War tension and oppressive regimes were too formidable an obstacle for the world to overcome. (more…)

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

In the previous article we looked at summary outline of the Democratic platform as it relates to several non-economic issues covered by the Acton Institute. Today, we’ll look at the party’s economic agenda as laid out in the platform. Because the document is lengthy (55 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 Democratic Party.

(Last week, after the Republican National Convention, we examined their platform’s stance on the same and related issues.)

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In a new article written for the Wall Street Journal, president and co-founder of the Acton Institute, Fr. Robert Sirico, makes an important point regarding the integrity of Catholic politicians. While respecting the traditions and doctrines of the Catholic Church, one should not compromise or adjust points of faith depending on the institutional context. “Key doctrinal and moral rules apply to all Catholics in all contexts—in business, at home, or in elective office. One cannot “personally” oppose something while making a living advocating it.” The Catholic Church does not call members to pick and choose doctrines most convenient with one’s worldview—however this is has happened in today’s political landscape. (more…)

Photo courtesy of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

Photo courtesy of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

As we approach what would be Milton Friedman’s 104th birthday this Sunday, July 31st, we should note the enduring significance of his evaluation of the connection between economic and political freedom. In his popular work, Capitalism and Freedom, in a chapter titled “The Relation between Economic Freedom and Political Freedom,” Friedman explains how a society cannot have the latter without the former.

Friedman criticizes the notion that politics and economics can be regarded separately and that any combination of political and economic system is possible. He calls the view “a delusion,” holding that there is “an intimate connection between economics and politics.” Though Friedman concedes the possibility of an economically free and politically repressed society, the opposite, he claims, is impossible. Political freedom, both historically and logically, is inseparable from economic freedom.

(more…)

dncplatformEarlier this week, I talked about the religious and economic implications of the RNC platform. As the DNC wraps up, it is time to examine the relevant points of the Democratic platform.

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

We need an economy that prioritizes long-term investment over short-term profit-seeking, rewards the common interest over self-interest, and promotes innovation and entrepreneurship.

Minimum Wage

Democrats believe that the current minimum wage is a starvation wage and must be increased to a living wage. No one who works full time should have to raise a family in poverty. We believe that Americans should earn at least $15 an hour and have the right to form or join a union. We applaud the approaches taken by states like New York and California. We should raise and index the minimum wage, give all Americans the ability to join a union regardless of where they work, and create new ways for workers to have power in the economy. We also support creating one fair wage for all workers by ending the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers and people with disabilities.

Democrats support a model employer executive order or some other vehicle to leverage federal dollars to support employers who provide their workers with a living wage, good benefits, and the opportunity to form a union. The $1 trillion spent annually by the government on contracts, loans, and grants should be used to support good jobs that rebuild the middle class.

Poverty

We believe that today’s extreme level of income and wealth inequality—where the majority of the economic gains go to the top one percent and the richest 20 people in our country own more wealth than the bottom 150 million—makes our economy weaker, our communities poorer, and our politics poisonous.

We reaffirm our commitment to eliminate poverty. Democrats will develop a national strategy to combat poverty, coordinated across all levels of government. We will direct more federal resources to lifting up communities that have been left out and left behind, such as the 10-20-30 model, which directs 10 percent of program funds to communities where at least 20 percent of the population has been living below the poverty line for 30 years or more. We will also focus on communities that suffer from persistent poverty, including empowerment zones and areas that targeted government data indicate are in persistent poverty.

Democrats will protect proven programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—our nation’s most important anti-hunger program—that help struggling families put food on the table. We will also help people grow their skills through jobs and skills training opportunities.

Religious Liberty

Opposes attempts to impose a religious test to bar immigrants or refugees from entering the United States.

Supports a “progressive vision of religious freedom that respects pluralism and rejects the misuse of religion to discriminate.”

Supports protecting both Muslims and religious minorities and the “fundamental right of freedom of religion” in the Middle East. (Read more here)

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Jill Stein (Green Party), Rocky Anderson (Justice Party), Virgil Goode (Constitution Party), and Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party).

When it comes to something as important as a presidential election, most Americans don’t want to vote for a candidate who will very likely lose. But pragmatic considerations have no place in the voting booth, for two reasons. First, one person’s vote almost certainly won’t impact a presidential election. Second, voting for someone we consider the “lesser of two evils” loses sight of the value of the voting process. We should, instead, vote for whomever we think is best for the office, regardless of his or her likelihood of winning. More and more voters are beginning to approach the election in this way.

Well over 50 candidates ran for president in 2012, 26 of whom had ballot access in at least one state. Ninety-eight percent of the popular vote went to just two of those candidates. The third place finisher, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, finished with just 1 percent of the popular vote.

This year is looking to be dramatically different. Gary Johnson and presumptive Green Party nominee Jill Stein have been receiving as high as 13 percent and 7 percent in national polls, respectively. These numbers are higher than those any third-party candidate has received in a general election since Ross Perot in 1992. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, July 29, 2016
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Democrats, the Law of Demand, and the ‘Fight for 15’
James Sherk, National Review

Economists call this the Law of Demand. People buy more goods or services at lower prices than high ones. Almost everyone experiences this law daily. In most circumstances, no one disputes this. But not when it comes to the minimum wage.

An Overlooked Tool for Making Decisions in Our Fallen World
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

As I follow the news lately, I’m constantly reminded that things in this world are not as they should be. That’s why I’m grateful economics is a tool we can use to navigate our fallen world.

Rick Perry: Liberty Is Key to Restoring African American Communities
Evan Smith, Opportunity Lives

The reason we’ve had the political year we’ve had is because fewer American remember how well liberty can serve them and their families.

Global Food Security Act Leaves African Farmers in the Dirt
Stacy Ndlovu, FEE

The American Congress recently passed the bipartisan Global Food Security Act, a $7 billion dollar project aimed at bolstering efforts to end hunger, malnutrition and poverty across the globe. Sounds noble, but this Act will most certainly not improve global food security, especially in Africa, because it fails to address a fundamental cause of food insecurity in the developing world: US agricultural subsidies.