In just a few months, Pope Francis has made quite an impact on the Catholic Church. He has shown admirable qualities of compassion and humility and offered stern warnings for Church leaders to focus on their true mission, instead of the trappings of their positions.
At the same time, he has won the praise of the liberal media and leftist politicians like President Obama. They were certainly overjoyed when the Pope cautioned his flock from being “obsessed” with issues such as abortion and gay marriage. He also expressed concern about Catholics who attend Latin mass noting that following the traditional services could risk “ideologization” and “exploitation.”
While somewhat disturbing, these comments pale in comparison to his recent denunciation of capitalism. Last week, Pope Francis released his first encyclical, which labeled “trickle down economics” a major failure that “expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.” In the Pope’s view, the poor have been left out by rich capitalists and that a more equitable system focusing on economic justice is necessary to combat poverty.
The document served as a shocking attack on the most successful economic system ever devised, capitalism. Only liberals like Pope Francis equate capitalism with the loaded term “trickle down economics.” For all its faults, capitalism and “trickle down economics” is a much better model for prosperity for all citizens. It worked during the 1980’s in this country and led to the creation of over 20 million new jobs. It also worked in other countries throughout the world, such as Chile.
The best way to help a poor person is to give that individual a job, not a government program. Capitalism lifts people out of poverty, while socialism distributes crumbs of assistance to the poor, dooming people to an existence of misery.
The Pope said that the “idolatry of money” would lead to a “new tyranny.” Yet, this system has created an untold number of rich philanthropists who have generously contributed to Catholic causes and helped the Vatican maintain a worldwide network of activities.
It seems that Pope Francis prefers socialism or Marxism, two systems which have continued to fail miserably throughout the world. In fact, the Argentine Pope only has to look at what is happening to the north of his native country. In Venezuela, a socialist dictator, Nicolas Maduro, has maintained the failed policies of the late Hugo Chavez. The result has been a total disaster for the poor people of Venezuela.
It is so bad in Venezuela that there is a shortage of basic items such as toilet paper, newspapers and magazines. To address the continuing economic problems, Maduro spoke to the nation Monday night. However, in the middle of his speech, a power outage disabled 60% of the country.
How ironic and appropriate that the outage occurred as the President was issuing more decrees against the country’s diminishing private sector. It was similar to a major power outage that occurred in early September. Instead of taking responsibility for these embarrassments, Maduro hinted it was caused by some sort of sabotage by his political opponents.
In reality, the socialist government of Venezuela is always looking to shift blame for their failures, reminiscent of the current occupant of the White House. Maduro’s failed policies include a ridiculous campaign to regulate prices on items such as used and new cars. This is an attempt to limit the ability of Venezuelans to buy durable items such as vehicles as an investment hedge against the rampant 54 percent inflation rate and the plunging value of the currency.
Maduro is an enemy of the private sector and is working to reduce corporate salaries and shrink private sector profit margins. He has ordered the military to assume control of major outlets selling electronic goods. While he demands that his citizens save more and consume less, his government continues to grow.
In total, these actions limit freedom, all in the name of helping the poor. Of course, the complete opposite will occur as expanded government control will lead to more economic misfortune for the poor people of Venezuela.
It is outrageous for a country with the world’s largest crude oil reserves, estimated at 297 billion barrels, to have rampant poverty, a scarcity of basic necessities and a moribund economy.
In a country with massive rivers and hydroelectric facilities that generate power for two-thirds of the population, blackouts are becoming routine, especially since the government nationalized this sector in 2007.
For the past 15 years, socialism has been tried in Venezuela. The result has been widespread corruption and utter incompetence, along with shortages, blackouts and overall economic misery. There have been few benefits for any segment of society, the poor, the middle class or the rich.
It should be crystal clear to any objective observer that socialism, such as the Venezuelan model, does not work. Hopefully, one day, Pope Francis and other liberal Catholic leaders will get the message.
Obviously, Pope Francis has the best intentions, to help the poor and the powerless. Sadly, his recipe for success will only lead to more poverty, unemployment and hunger. For evidence, the Pontiff just needs to look at the disaster unfolding in Venezuela today.
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at [email protected].