Did MLK Not Understand Economics? Does Pope Francis Have the Same Problem?

Written by William Pauwels on January 30, 2018

What follows from The Independent Institute is a thought-provoking article based on the economic facts-of-life as discovered over the past few hundred years. It reminds me of a great book, “The Poverty of Nations – A Sustainable Solution,” by Dr. Wayne Grudem and Dr. Barry Asmus.

In plain understandable English, after decades of on-site investigation and study, they explain the economic, sociological, political, Biblical, and leadership factors that affect national poverty and prosperity – and that have a strategic positive effect on our country and throughout the world.

I have referred this book to the Vatican on several occasions. Apparently, Pope Francis has not read it or accepted its documented discoveries. Most unfortunate!

Was Martin Luther King, Jr. an Economic Illiterate? Is Pope Francis?
By Lawrence J. McQuillan, Hayeon Carol Park | Posted: Wed. January 17, 2018,
Also published in The Daily Caller (DC) on Tue. January 16, 2018

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Pope Francis, the ex officio leader of the Catholic Church, has much in common with the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the U.S. civil rights leader whose life and legacy we celebrated this week.

A champion of the poor and downtrodden, Dr. King spoke of the need to eradicate poverty, writing in his 1967 book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?, that the goal of society should be “the total, direct, and immediate abolition of poverty.” Today, Pope Francis carries Dr. King’s message forward, writing in Evangelii Gaudium, or “The Joy of the Gospel,” that “Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor.”

The Reverend Dr. King and Pope Francis have another important thing in common: economic illiteracy.

It is one thing to stress the moral imperative of helping the disadvantaged. But going beyond, into the realm of public advocacy, requires policy approaches that might actually reduce, if not solve, the problem. And here they fail.

During his final years, Dr. King was a proponent of a guaranteed annual income for every American, which would require increased government taxation and massive redistribution of wealth. In his last major speech at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., given just days before his assassination, he criticized the “War on Poverty,” calling it “not even a good skirmish against poverty.”

Pope Francis, in a 2014 U.N. address, similarly has called for “redistribution of economic benefits by the State.” Francis more recently has characterized private philanthropy as “crumbs,” and equates avoiding taxes with stealing from the poor.

While King and Francis are not alone in viewing government redistribution as legitimate and necessary to combat poverty, decades of experience show this approach to be a moral and practical failure.

Government redistribution—whether through domestic welfare programs, foreign aid, or other means—is neither “giving” nor “charity” in the strict sense of these words. Government redistribution, in fact, is the opposite, requiring government to first take somebody else’s money, either through taxes or borrowing (future taxes). This requires coercion or force, violating the commandment “Thou shall not steal.”

Jesus, in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37), said people should follow the example of the Good Samaritan, who spent his own time and money to help a man in distress. True compassion is self-sacrifice, “to suffer with.” There’s nothing compassionate about using government to seize one person’s money to give it to someone else.

Government redistribution does not nurture a caring society or compassionate people. Instead, it pits one group against another, tearing apart the social fabric and creating disharmony.

In contrast, private charity involves the willing transfer of resources from one individual to another, a compassionate act of free will, personal responsibility, and moral integrity.

While it may be that the $390 billion that Americans donated to charity in 2016 are just “crumbs,” as Pope Francis puts it, the $15 trillion the United States has spent since 1964 to end poverty is not crumbs. And it hasn’t worked. Indeed, the more than 80 federal programs these massive expenditures support should be described as poverty maintenance, not poverty reduction programs.

In 1935, in the midst of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt warned … Keep Reading the Rest @: Was Martin Luther King, Jr. an Economic Illiterate? Is Pope Francis?

photo credit: Brook-Ward MLK Jr. via photopin (license)

William Pauwels
William A. Pauwels, Sr. was born in Jackson Michigan to a Belgian, immigrant, entrepreneurial family. Bill is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and served in executive and/or leadership positions at Thomson Industries, Inc., Dow Corning, Loctite and Sherwin-Williams. He is currently CIO of Pauwels Private Investment Practice. He's been commenting on matters political/economic/philosophical since 1980.


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