Pope Francis Is Not Amused

Friday, November 14, AD 2014

A contribution to this equitable development will also be made both by international activity aimed at the integral human development of all the world’s peoples and by the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the State, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society.

Pope Francis to UN delegation, March 9, 2014




Prager University explains why our present system of taxation and fairness are not on speaking terms. My bride has described a possible sequel to this video:

SEQUEL (Suggested by Don’s wife Cathy):  Harry sells his house and moves out of the cul-de-sac, leaving Tom & Dick to fend for themselves (& argue with the much-less-“brotherly” new neighbor) in regard to any future neighborhood improvements — and the cul-de-sac is renamed “Detroit.”



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13 Responses to Pope Francis Is Not Amused

  • I’m beginning to question Pope Francis. First comes to mind, Does he call the celestial orb over which he presides, “Marxico”?

  • Lock in on the legitimate qualifier to “redistribution of economic benefits,” embrace the Reagan model, in which a rising tide lifts all boats, and declare victory over the social justice warriors.

  • T Shaw is correct – again.

  • Don’s wife hit the nail right on it’s head.

    We’ve got something similar down here in the south. It’s called “New Orleans”.

  • Harping on it constantly but if one reads “Jesuits” by Malachi Martin one may easily understand Pope Francis. It is Modernism, Relativism and Inculturation as propounded by radical Jesuits for many years. The Marxist tone of the Papal statement above to the UN assumes a socialized New World Order. Intellectually I think the pope is not exactly astute. Economically he is a provincial naif wedded to absurd Marxist philosophy from 150 years ago. No wonder Argentina and Vene zuela are economic basket cases. But they can always blame the US.

  • When you are a Jesuit, everything looks like a Reduction.

  • The Roman Pontiff, speaking to the United Nations, a pro-abortion and anti-Catholic body if there ever was one, was pleading for “the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the State…..”

    I wish I could have seen St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict in person. I would not cross the street to look at the current Roman Pontiff. I would travel to the next state to avoid him.

    I hope the Roman Pontiff, when he visits Poland on World Youth Day, extols the benefits of socialism. That I want to see.

  • Prager University is great.

    Send the Pope there for a couple of semesters…

  • Even if this was equitable it leaves out the corruption factor. When it comes to money corruption always follows. Even the Vatican ( Vatican Bank) is not immune to it. As a traditional Catholic, who goes to confession and receives the Blessed Sacrament at Mass, I wish, I wish the Church hierarchy would once point this out and shame (judge) the people who are breaking the 7th and 10th commandments by their corruption.

  • .
    Can we expect Pope Francis will soon begin appearing in Democrat commercials?

  • “A contribution to this equitable development will also be made both by international activity aimed at the integral human development of all the world’s peoples and by the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the State, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society.”
    Does “indispensable cooperation” mean extorted? or how would Pope Francis go about getting such “indispensable cooperation” when Francis has crushed the hearts of truly charitable, conservative Catholics in the Friars and Sister of the Immaculate, and Cardinals Burke and Pell?

  • Yes, David Dunagan “…the corruption factor. When it comes to money corruption always follows. “

  • It is hard to stay “disinterested” in money. As a conservative I hope to keep money and it’s power in a healthy perspective. Liberals have the same problem…exalting money unable to not give too much attention to money- a claiming freedom from it but obsessed by it and it’s perceived power.

Current Tax Payment Act of 1943

Monday, April 15, AD 2013

The above 1943 Donald Duck cartoon, The  Spirit of ’43,  was funded by the Department of the Treasury in 1943.  It highlighted a major problem for the Federal government.  Prior to World War II very few Americans paid any income tax and there was no withholding.  With the increased taxes to pay for World War II, most full time non-agricultural American workers were going to be paying income tax and few were saving to pay the tax bill when it came due.

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Government as Addiction

Thursday, December 13, AD 2012


One of my pet peeves has long been the fact that most people seem to have no idea how much they pay in taxes.  The reason for this is obvious:  many of the taxes we pay, by design, are hard to keep track of.  In this category are sales taxes, utility taxes, taxes on gas, etc.  (This does not include the taxes paid by corporations and other businesses (they do not pay taxes, they collect taxes) that are passed on in higher prices for the products and services that we purchase, or in the social security share of employees paid by employers that effectively reduce the wages that employers pay employees.)  In the Wall Street Journal we find that the average worker has a tax rate of approximately 40 percent:

But tax rates are already high—much higher than is commonly understood—and increasing them will likely further depress the economy, especially by affecting the number of hours Americans work.

Taking into account all taxes on earnings and consumer spending—including federal, state and local income taxes, Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes, excise taxes, and state and local sales taxes—Edward Prescott has shown (especially in the Quarterly Review of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, 2004) that the U.S. average marginal effective tax rate is around 40%. This means that if the average worker earns $100 from additional output, he will be able to consume only an additional $60.

Research by others (including Lee Ohanian, Andrea Raffo and Richard Rogerson in the Journal of Monetary Economics, 2008, and Edward Prescott in the American Economic Review, 2002) indicates that raising tax rates further will significantly reduce U.S. economic activity and by implication will increase tax revenues only a little.

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7 Responses to Government as Addiction

  • Nor do I want to know. Such knowledge is beyond my ability to cope with it. Similarly, as my divorce progressed, to survive, I chose to ignore the costs. I

    As ignorant and, perhaps, selfish as it may sound, I believe, in extreme cases,
    ignorance can be bliss and the only way worse harm can be prevented.

    I will never again vote democratic, nor, should my wife die, would I even consider marrying, again.

  • Thank God Obama lets us keep so much: elections have consequences . . .

    Off topic: Today marks 150 years since the Confederate victory at Fredericksburg. It was worse (they fell faster) in front of Marye’s Hts. than depicted in the movie.

    The 2014 IRS 1040 will have two slots.

    1. How much you made (all loopholes rescinded):

    2. Send it in:

  • Yesterday: “Two absolutes, death & taxes.”
    Today: Death caused by taxes.

  • I remember reading an analysis that found that a single mother earning $32k got $57k take home pay, after government support (all numbers approximate, because I don’t have the article in front of me), and a single mother earning $70k got $57k take home pay after taxes. If you think about it, that’s an effective marginal tax rate of 100%. Would you work an extra who-knows-how-many hours, or more likely work at a higher-level job that required more schooling, if you were guaranteed to get nothing in return?

  • To the tax and spend left, taxes are not, nor have ever been, about revenue. It’s is and has always been about the seizure and power and control over the lives of others.

  • …the U.S. average marginal effective tax rate is around 40%.

    …compared to the average marginal effective tax rate on a U.S. means-tested handout of around 0%.

Putting Their Mouths Where Their Money Could Be

Tuesday, December 27, AD 2011

So much for the “patriotic millionaires” trotted out by the Democrats calling for higher taxes.  The dirty little secret of course is that the truly mega rich have elaborate tax planning to avoid paying one thin dime more than they have to in regard to taxes.  An increase in rates would have little impact on them.  If they were truly patriotic they would be calling for some variant of a flat tax on all income with the elimination of all tax shelters.  The poster child for this call by the very wealthy for higher taxes is Warren Buffet.  Gee Warren, maybe you could start by having your company pay the billion the Feds say it owes.

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4 Responses to Putting Their Mouths Where Their Money Could Be

  • I wonder if any others ask with me whether this topic is suitable for a CNS blog. The believer has a legitimate, necessary we can add, interest in how each person or group pays a just, fair and unselfish share of contributing to the common good in taxes and charitable contributions and establishing Foundations to promote charity and the arts and sciences. But is it our role to decide which, by whom and how much. Or do we vote for and lobby for a common set of Christian Humanist values and do end-runs to head off the greedy pigs at the Global Village trough?

  • When the Church went “all in” for the welfare state, it ceded to the state its moral claim on my “charity.” Seems it’s the excuse for ignoring many evils the government works.

    Patriotic millionaires? How many, like Pat Tillman, enlisted in the Rangers or infantry after their country was attacked?

  • they would be calling for some variant of a flat tax on all income with the elimination of all tax shelters.

    Would it be any less patriotic to have a progressive tax on all income with the elimination of all tax shelters?

  • Perhaps Kurt, although I suspect the “patriotic millionaires” would be appalled by either suggestion. The only millionaire I suspect who ever actually wanted to pay more in taxes was the fictional Jed Clampett.

Licensing Bloggers

Monday, August 23, AD 2010

The inaptly named City of Brotherly Love is attempting to license bloggers.  If bloggers make any money from their blogs, they will have to pay a $300.00 “business privilege tax” to obtain a business privilege license.  (I rather like the Orwellian term “business privilege”, as if the right to buy and to sell was some sort of gift of the State.)   Go here to read the details at the Philadelphia Citypaper.

Just how many things are wrong about this?  Let us count the ways:

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6 Responses to Licensing Bloggers

  • I’m generally opposed.

    However, the government needs the money to provide for us.

    They could charge commie blogs, like vox nobrains, $3,000.00. Alternatively, they could impose an ad hominem tax – either payable by the word (VN’ers use 5,000 words to diss you – or some other measure. That could work.

  • Perhaps it could be a progressive tax. Those blogs seeking an even greater redistibution of wealth then currently occurs will be taxed. The more posts on increasing taxes the more they pay.

    Only seems just.

  • Why, Phillip, what a lovely notion!

    Let’s take it further, model it after the very progressive tax we have from the feds– charge the top earning blogs, but give rebates to the bottom…what….15%?


  • Bloggers just move out of city limits.
    Surely Philly isn’t that hard up.

  • They’re scared.

    There would appear to be a lot of loopholes to get out of this, at least for bloggers that didn’t advertise that they were from Philly.

  • This is standard short sighted political action. T. Shaw above makes a valid point that government must be funded somehow to provide the necessary services. However, is there a specific blogger related service the government provides (other than comic fodder)? Beyond that, I imagine Philadelphia is suffering from the same problem Cincinnati has with urban flight. Many large municipalities like Cincinnati have incurred massive obligations (primarily overly generous pensions) after decades of liberal leadership. Who owes that money? Basically the tax payer. However, when it is local or state debt, the tax payer can escape the debt by moving. I live in a township around 25 miles north of Cincinnati. 25 years ago our population was less than 10 thousand people. Today it is above 60 thousand and growing. What is Cincinnati’s solution? Raise the price of parking downtown and increase other taxes. Sure that will get people to visit downtown and spend money shopping. Take a look at the wreckage left behind in Detroit. That is what other major cities have to look forward to. Detroit just took the expressway to that destination. Will the blogger license fee cause people to move out of Philadelphia? Not by itself, but it is a cumulative effect. I’m sure they are attacking their citizens wallets in many other ways to pay for the voracious growth of government.

Planned Parenthood, What Happened to the Money?

Tuesday, June 22, AD 2010

A US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report has brought out an interesting mystery in regard to the federal funds given to Worse Than Murder, Inc, aka Planned Parenthood:

A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on federal tax money funneled into Planned Parenthood and similar organizations raises more questions than it answers about the nation’s largest abortion chain.

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2 Responses to Planned Parenthood, What Happened to the Money?

Catholic View of the Political Community (part 4)

Sunday, June 28, AD 2009

We continue the test of our Catholic worldview on the subject of the role of the Political Community- drawing upon Chapter 8 in the authoritative Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. We have looked at the Old Testament (#377-378) and Jesus’ interaction with political authorities #379) to see the development of doctrine relating to how we are to regard the political community. Now we turn to “The early Christian communities”.

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9 Responses to Catholic View of the Political Community (part 4)

  • Criticism of rulers is not necessarily being anti-government. Criticism of govt. that one prudently believes violates subsidiarity is also legitimate. While the govt. does look after the common good, as you read the Compendium you will find that all persons are responsible for the common good even if they are not directly involved in legislation. Thus subsidiarity. Nor do I believe most people here think govts. only role is a strong military. Poor strawman argument.

  • Rulers are singled out for special prayers in Christian circles for good reason- just like political leaders getting opportunities to have private meetings with the popes- it is because there is an implicit recognition that these people have a special role to play in securing the common good- even though we all have some role in the mix.

    And my own criticism is directed I suppose more generally at the harsher critiques of governing authority as a necessary agent for establishing societal rule based upon natural law- I don’t know who reads American Catholic, I don’t write as if I know everyone who is going to come across these posts- I know that there are many Grover Norquist fans out and about- with his talk about having government shrunk down to a size where it could be drowned in a bathtub ( thanks for that reminder Joe!). That definitely sounds like it is out-of-bounds for Catholics to believe such a thing.

    I find it interesting that even a post that is written as a general instruction like this one, somehow finds a way to be viewed as a personal attack on some here at American Catholic. I am too busy to keep up with who’s who even around here- I have an impression from many things I read and see, and from people I know and argue with in my daily life- I know that people exist who really and truly hate pretty much all government “interference” and believe that taxes are theft, and see government’s role as being military and police almost exclusively- these aren’t straw men, these are people I know, people I consider friends to some degree even, some are Cathlic- maybe these people aren’t you- but they exist- and they aren’t limiting themselves to simple criticism of rulers.

    I think there is a danger in that streak of anti-authoritarianism that many Americans attribute to our Revolutionary beginnings- but my central thesis is that authority is necessary and good as all authority ultimately derives from God- and we mustn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater- we shouldn’t undermine the true nature and role of the political community as taught by the official Church by denying the fact that those in authority have a special responsibility to ensure the common good by applying the natural law according to the virtue of prudence.

  • Fair enough. It seems we agree that govt. itself is a good. At the same time there is a small group that sees all govt. as evil, there are also those (probably larger group) that sees govt. as the solution to all problems. Thus the authoritative teaching that subsidiarity must be observed and the govt. to intervene only when more immediate bodies cannot address the problem.

    This is because the political community is not govt. Govt. is part of the political community but the political community is broader, encompassing social, cultural, professional communities etc. These communities, through the human persons involving them, have a profound role in shapine the community as a whole.

  • To correct. The political community does not exhaust the community as a whole. The community as a whole comprises other human societies which the political is obliged to respect. Thus the role of subsidiarity.

  • I have often wondered why Catholic conservatives don’t call more attention to the principle of subsidarity, which is urgently needed as a balance between nanny-state big-government liberalism and the rigid anti-government philosophies like Objectivism or libertarianism.

    Subsidarity, properly understood, does NOT leave the poor or disadvantaged out in the cold, or treat all government as evil or all taxation as theft. It simply assigns responsibility for meeting the needs of the vulnerable to the lowest level of societal organization that is capable of meeting those needs.

    As I see it the individual is the lowest rung on this ladder, followed by the family, the religious/cultural community to which the family belongs, larger voluntary organizations (i.e. private charities, fraternal or social organizations), then up the ladder of government from the smallest unit (town, city, school district) through state and finally federal govt.

    The next highest level of organization steps in when the one below it cannot meet the need, and ONLY then. Now there will be times when this balance shifts or changes due to economic or social conditions — i.e. families or private charities can’t handle taking care of the poor so government steps in. However, the goal should always be to get needs met at the lowest possible level and to shift that responsibility back down to the local level when and if conditions allow.

    Now I haven’t done an extensive study of the concept of subsidarity so if I’m getting off base here feel free to correct me. Subsidarity doesn’t regard any layer of society (private or government) as superfluous or evil or unneccessary, it just insists that they keep their proper place in the scheme of things. It also recognizes that all these spheres are interdependent upon one another to some extent, and don’t function in a vaccuum.

    I think some of the debate going about about how to deal with state budget crises and social services would be a lot more sensible if people had a proper grasp of this concept.

    Instead of pitting private sector workers against government employees, or the family struggling to pay rising income/property taxes against the family with a disabled child who relies upon tax-funded programs to pay for the child’s care, in some kind of imagined fight to the death which one must win and the other lose, maybe EVERYONE would realize that we are all ultimately in the same boat. And instead of being at each other’s throats or insisting that someone else must do without so that I can have more, we might be willing to work together for a truly responsible government, which benefits everyone. Well, at least I can dream about that.

  • The complexity in dealing with subsidiarity right now is that we have all of these global forces in operation- multinational banks and corporations- they aren’t shy about exerting pressure on local, state, and federal governments- if one level holds strong they seem to be able to go over their heads- and I’m troubled by the legal person status given to corporations in this country- that can’t be good when you start treating a corporation as a minority with human rights in a community of real persons who don’t want that corporation to be or to stop doing something that is harming the community in some way.

    So- subsidiarity must be seen in the context of the universal common good, and global solidarity- we are one human family because we have One Father in Heaven, and His Son our Christ the King has commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves, and that has to have political implications when you have political and economic systems setting the conditions of life for children and families everywhere. And if we are Americans, we know that our collective influence is quite profound globally. We have to make sure we are being guided by natural law and not imperial drive- that is the great challenge for all of us- of course we have differing levels of personal power, so we are to be judged only by what we do with what we have. Like in the talents parable.

    We will see in the next part what happens when government (good) is being run by bad person (s) doing very bad things- when you subvert something that God intends to be a Good for society, then beware- like C.S. Lewis wrote- “the higher, the more in danger”.

  • Subsidiarity is a fundamental principle as is the common good and solidarity. The lowest body capable of taking care of such issues must. If that is through an international body, so be it. But that is an argument to be made and not self-evident from the current economic crisis per se. And that is consistent with love and charity in Christ. As the Church authoritatively teaches.

  • I am anxiously awaiting Pope Benedict’s take on the situation as it stands today with the Encyclical to be released in the next week or so- I am sure it will reflect the same worldview as previous social encyclical, but it will have the most direct application of that worldview to our current socio-economic conditions. It should be an excellent starting point for dialogue among the orthodoxy and with all those of goodwill.

  • As I’ve noted before on this blog, I don’t like paying taxes any more than anyone else, and there does come a point when the burdens of taxation outweigh the benefits, leading to economic stagnation or collapse as businesses and families stop spending money or move elsewhere. Tax hikes should be a last resort only when all other means have failed.

    However, I also have little if any sympathy for rabid anti-tax folks like Norquist who display indifference at best and contempt at worst for the real human beings who rely upon government services or who work for the government. I agree with Tim that his “drowning government in the bathtub” analogy is pretty disturbing when you think about it.

    Arguing against tax hikes on reasonable grounds such as their potential effect on future business/employment growth, or the need to foster self-sufficiency and personal responsibility at a lower level of society, is good. However, to insist that society can be neatly divided between parasitical “tax eaters” and long-suffering “tax payers,” as if the two groups have no interests in common and never overlap, is in my opinion a gross distortion or oversimplification of the issues involved.

Spirit of '09

Thursday, April 16, AD 2009


Yesterday Americans rallied in hundreds of tea party protests against high government spending and taxation.  In my state 3000 people turned out in Peoria alone.  Good coverage of the tea parties is at Instapundit.  Much more at Tea Party online HQ

Elements of the mainstream media were openly contemptuous of the tea parties, perhaps one of the more obvious examples being here at Hot Air.

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8 Responses to Spirit of '09

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  • While I think the idea for tea parties is great… they’ve been distorted since the Paul campaign in ’07 had their online tea party that raised millions in one day.

    There’s a lot of great rhetoric going around, but I don’t believe its substantive. Its just the GOP back to its old strategy- give the liberty-leaning, state rights, conservative crowed the speeches they want to hear- then when we get into office someday, we’ll be just like the Democrats.

    Governor Perry sudden turn towards Jeffersonian-style ideas speaks more of his political need to distinguish himself from the current administration than it does on any genuine concern for states rights, the constitution, or local authority.

  • Its just the GOP back to its old strategy-

    It must be emphasized that the tea parties had little to do with the GOP – in fact I think many if not most of the participants have been or are as furious with the GOP as with the Democrat party.

  • I can vouch for what Paul said. I received zero contacts from the GOP on any level regarding the tea parties.

  • I would have liked to attend, but yesterday was a very busy day at work and I couldn’t get away.

    I agree – the sense that I have is that the tea parties are conservative/liberatarian and most protesters are (understandably) as disgusted with the GOP as they are with the Democrats.

    Anthony, it is quite remarkable, I think, that these protests, as small as many of them were, took place across the country. (Also bear in mind that they were not centrally organized, there is no Soros or union money behind them, and protesters were not bussed in from other locales. The left is much more professional when it comes to planning and organizing rallies.) I might be wrong, but I don’t think that a bunch of people just blew off some steam for a couple of hours and now will vanish. The tea parties might just be the first baby steps of something much larger. We don’t know yet, but I wouldn’t dismiss them as insubstantive. In fact, I don’t really think CNN does – hence the blatant attempt to ridicule and marginalize them.

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  • Perry fits to a tea that old adage “there go the people; I must rush ahead to lead them”

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