I like Pope Francis. I am not Catholic, but I do like this Pope. I agree with many of his social comments. It is being reported that “Pope Francis appealed to world leaders on Saturday to seek a new economic model to help the poor, and shun policies that sacrifice human lives on the alter of money and profit.” He also mentioned “Corruption is the plague, it’s the gangrene of society.” Great comments, however, I hope he is not looking for politicians to lead this charge, because their track record is not particularly good. In fact many of our politicians are in bed with the greedy capitalists who are being blamed for all of the world’s ills.
Don’t get me wrong, greed and corruption are evil, but to say that a particular economic system, one to favors owning private property is the cause of all of our social ills, is an incorrect assumption, one that ignores the spiritual reality of the fall. But, I do agree, “Putting bread on the table, putting a roof over the heads of one’s children, giving them health and education” are essential for human dignity. However, I think it is also critical that people are able to do meaningful work for a livable wage.
Over the last fifty years we have spent $20 Trillion on the war-on-poverty. We are now looking at approximately 50 million people in the United States who live below the poverty line. This has been defined as an annual income of $23,492 for a family of four. However, if I were investing as much as our government has and not see any changes I would want to look at what I was investing in. Daniel Henninger said this about our anti-poverty programs, “Arguably it is true that because of these anti-poverty programs, the black Americans who have lived for generations in virtually the same housing projects and attended the same schools – in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Harlem, the Bronx, Watts, the South side of Chicago, North City in St. Louis, Camden, North Philadelphia, Cleveland’s east side and in what’s left of Detroit, remain reliably Democratic voters.” I am not focusing on the comment about Democratic voters, I am focusing on 50 years of a lack of success for the overall program dealing with poverty. Obviously, many have worked their way off of the poverty list and many have gone on to the list. But, the fact is we have spent a lot of money and nothing has changed. Is this capitalism’s fault? I don’t think so. I think it is a failed political program.
We need more programs like Portland Leadership Foundation that are giving people from disadvantaged positions in society the skills they need to be successful. We need to tackle the inner city problems with better education and job skill training to allow people to improve themselves, not rely on big government to give them handouts. People need a hand up.
Los Angeles is contemplating raising their minimum wage toe $15, similar to Seattle. LA is home to many garment manufacturing companies. These companies are now going to move their operations from LA to places unknown. This is a tragedy. So where are the tax incentives to encourage these companies to stay in LA? If the government is going to force wage increases instead of allow market forces to drive them up, then they will need to give these companies incentives to keep them in LA, or they will move to lower their costs.
You see, the powers that be operate from a particular paradigm. The left operate from tax and spend, and the right operates from individual incentive, and neither of these will get he job done. So we need to figure something else out.
The definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thin and expect different results. It is now time to stop bashing Capitalism, and focus on the real problems of greed and corruption. These are both products of a fallen nature. It is time to create innovative solutions to these huge problems, because when everyone works, then they can climb out of poverty.
And that is my thought for the day!