Acton Institute Powerblog

The case for capitalism

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In preparation for the 2020 presidential elections, democratic candidates are playing by an increasingly progressive rule book: which candidate can promise the most (supposedly) free stuff?

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has announced plans to forgive two and four-year college debt by raking in $640 billion from “ultra millionaires.” Sen. Kamala Harris wants low-income renters to receive billions in tax credits in addition to further Medicare expansion. South Bend, Indiana Mayor, Pete Buttigieg, recently added climate change proposals to his platform, promising to “implement a Green New Deal with all available tools including a carbon tax-and-dividend for Americans, and major direct investment to build a 100 percent clean energy society.” Democratic presidential candidates think money grows on trees.

Terry Paulson, psychologist and author, writes that at the heart of the democratic candidates’ wish-granting strategy is “a cancerous cynicism about the economic engine that’s been so critical in maintaining America’s position in the world.” The economic engine Paulson refers to is capitalism. Paulson draws inspiration from Rev. Robert Sirico’s book, “Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy,” while arguing for a clearer understanding of the core principles of capitalism, including the importance of private property and dignity in work and business.

For those who support redistribution from those who earn to those who take, Sirico has a warning: “There is a contradiction at the heart of the progressive project of striving toward equality of outcome by redistributing wealth. A tenacious focus on outcomes (as in redistribution to achieve income parity) inevitably leads to treating people unfairly-unequally-by taking from one who has worked and produced superfluous wealth and giving it to one who has not…. In place of a culture of wealth makers (the entrepreneurs and their increasingly productive employees), you end up with a culture of wealth takers.”

Read Paulson’s full article, “Defending Capitalism.”

Featured photo: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America [CC BY-SA 2.0]

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Caroline Roberts has a B.A. in English from Grove City College and produces the Acton Institute’s podcast, Acton Line.

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