Monday, May 03, 2010
It's Rare That I Disagree With the Pope, but...
Actually, I do not disagree with him in principle. I do believe that "economics has an essentially ethical nature as "an activity of and for human beings." and:
"Rather than a spiral of production and consumption in view of narrowly-defined human needs, economic life should properly be seen as an exercise of human responsibility, intrinsically oriented towards the promotion of the dignity of the person, the pursuit of the common good and the integral development -- political, cultural and spiritual -- of individuals, families and societies."
But, the greed and bad guys in the private sector that have given us a handful of bad companies (e.g. Enron) is really but a small fraction of the problem when compared to the economic devastation caused by what countries like Greece and Portugal have done for years, and the U.S. is just gearing up to do, and that is to print money when there is none.
A private businessmen is sent to jail for "cooking the books" and making it look like his company has more money than it does. A politician who does the same thing gets re-elected. It's impossible for the handful of bad capitalists to take a country down all by themselves. It's those at the levers of power in the government that steer a country into ruin.
At the source of the U.S. financial crisis is not Lehman Brothers or Merril Lynch. They are but bit players in a much larger game managed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the congressional committee heads that run them. These are so-called "private government run entities". There's problem number one: "private" AND "government run"??
At the source of the Greek problem is not misbehaving bankers and stock merchants, but a government that has spent itself into irrecoverable debt through policies that negate private initiative. The U.S. has been on that road for many years with its ever expanding bureaucracies, but has super accelerated in the last 12 months.
It's fashionable and safe to blame the likes of Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street bad boys. But THEY ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING THAT CONGRESS ITSELF IS NOT ALREADY DOING, except Congress is doing it at exponentially higher amounts (e.g. the "Louisiana Purchase", the "Cornhusker Kickback", etc.)
I can't blame the Pope completely. I don't think he's ever had a job, let alone own a business. The main principles are correct, but the practical application is wanting. The serious culprit in the global financial meltdown is governments that have spent their countries (and states, e.g. California) into the "red hole" and killed the goose that laid the golden egg (private enterprise) by punitive and ignorant taxation and regulation.
Socialism and Communism are the alternatives to Capitalism. How's that working out? See U.S.S. R., North Korea, Cuba, etc. Some say China is a socialist success story. But in fact China has prospered only in areas it has allowed capitalism to grow. By the way, what the immigration rate into China?
Have the Pope, give me a call.