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Message for the Pope: Caring for Poor Isn't Communist, but Advancing Statism Misguided

November 6, 2014 in Economics

By Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell

I’ve always objected when leftists engage in moral preening about how they supposedly are more compassionate.

Europeans statists, for instance, claim to be more compassionate because their governments have greater levels of coercive redistribution. But I ask them why they think it’s compassionate to give away other people’s money. Then I shame them by showing data on how Americans are far more generous in terms of trying to help others with their own money.

I have the same debate in America. Take the issues of unemployment benefits. My leftist friends say that compassionate people should favor extended benefits. To which I reply by asking them why it’s good to pay people to not work and assert instead that genuine compassion should be defined by policies that enable people to find jobs and become self-reliant.

I raise this topic because the Pope recently made news by urging more compassion for the less fortunate, and he specifically said that raising the issue will lead some to think he’s a communist.

If you want to help the poor, push for economic growth rather than redistribution.”

Here are some excerpts from a news report in the U.K.-based Independent.

In one of his longest speeches as Pope, the Holy See outlined his views on a wide range of issues – from poverty and the injustices of unemployment to the need to protect the environment. Anticipating how his letter would be received by his critics, Francis declared that “land, housing and work are increasingly unavailable to the majority’ of the world’s population,” but said “If I talk about this, some will think that the Pope is communist.” “They don’t understand that love for the poor is at the centre of the Gospel,” he said. “Demanding this isn’t unusual, it’s the social doctrine of the church.”

Several people have asked my opinion about what the Pope said.

My initial instinct was to be very critical. After all, various news reports interpreted the Pope’s statement as an attack on capitalismand an embrace of the welfare state.

But since I know that the establishment media is biased and would want to portray the Pope’s comments as being supportive of statism, I didn’t want to make any unwarranted assumptions. So, I tracked down a transcript of the speech. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it’s only available (at least as of this writing) in Portuguese, Spanish, …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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