Saving Social Security and Marriage–and the World!

During his State of the Union address, President Obama made the obligatory reference to “equal pay for equal work” as part of a larger public debate which has been going on for some time now. There have been numerous articles in liberal and conservative publications, countless white papers, and an endless parade of political pundits on cable news trying to diagnose the problems of women in the... More

Minimum expertise

It’s a Chick Tract in the making: “Catholic Church supports law that harms blacks and unskilled workers.” Crazy? Well, a letter to the US Senate on USCCB letterhead suggests that “We must return the human person to the center of economic life; one way Congress can do that is by ensuring workers receive just wages.” We can pause here for a second and ask how exactly ... More


Economic ignorance affecting the Church

Call me a Johnny One Note, but the primary reason I became an economist was to help demonstrate to others the human suffering that results from socialism and the incredible material progress that results from free markets. The better material progress we make, the more time and energy we can devote to leisure pursuits, including prayer, spiritual reading, going to daily Mass, etc. This message isn... More


Sen. Harkin: A “misallocation of wealth” is the problem. Like having too many greyhounds.

Hal Roach the Irish comedian would tell a joke that went like this (read it in your best Irish brogue): Father Murphy was in rare form in the pulpit on Sunday, exhorting his parishoners to be more generous. “If ye have an excess, share with those who have naught,” he said. “It is the Christian thing to do.” To make an example of one of the exemplary local farmers he asked O... More

Politics in reality, not middle school civics class

I doubt James Buchanan is well-known among Catholics but he should be, especially if we are interested in pursuing political means for particular ends. Buchanan won the Nobel prize in Economics in 1986 “for his development of the contractual and constitutional bases for the theory of economic and political decision-making.” Sans jargon, Buchanan was a pioneer of the theory of public ch... More


Three graphs to ponder before (and on) election day

I know what you’re thinking: “Just three?” I love graphs as much as the next guy, but I’ve squished what you need to know about the labor market into three graphs, courtesy of the St. Louis Fed’s FRED database. I’ve said before that it annoys me when the single piece of data the news media uses to assess the economy is the unemployment rate, which is subject to ... More


Distributism; ever heard of it? (or, this is NOT a post about Joe Biden)

I hadn’t. Through three years of undergrad and four years of graduate-level economics, I had never heard of distributism. Not that I was sheltered from the odder theories from days past. Marx, the utopian socialists, Henry George, the Austrians; they are just the weird, crazy uncles in the family of economic thought, displaying an occasional modicum of sanity but mostly just being avoided de... More


The Primacy of (All) People in Catholic Social Doctrine

I’m used to being told I am wrong, but in an internet discussion I’m not used to my critics being respectful and actually reading what I’ve written. Perhaps Dan’s recent post is a forerunner of a wave of combox civility and reason; huzzah! It’s also beyond question that Dan, Bishop Blaire, and Catholic social theorists throughout history have the noblest of intentions... More

It bears repeating: Barack Obama is dangerously ignorant.

There are many data points we could rest on to legitimize that headline, but today’s installment is his notion about how businesses come into being and success is built. Thus he spake: [L]ook, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.  You didn’t get there on your own.  I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There a... More

Aftermath: Pope’s Top Cardinal Forbids Justice & Peace From Issuing Documents Without Permission [Updated]

Very notable news, via Vatican expert Sandro Magister, following the aftermath of the Justice & Peace’s ill-advised white paper (emphasis mine): Precisely when the G20 summit in Cannes was coming to its weak and uncertain conclusion, on that same Friday, November 4 at the Vatican, a smaller summit convened in the secretariat of state was doing damage control on the latest of many mom... More



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