Watch for the Democrats to quote Bishop McElroy: The “imperialism” of the free market

Watch for the Democrats to quote Bishop McElroy: The “imperialism” of the free market

“The swing of the free market pendulum is accompanied by a coordinated effort to roll back wage and benefit structures for workers.”

[I thought His Excellency was quoting the Democrats]


The following comes from a Jan. 11 article in the National Catholic Reporter.

[National Catholic Reporter] Editor’s note: This talk, titled “Three Kinds of Erroneous Autonomy,” was delivered Jan. 10 at the symposium “Erroneous Autonomy: The Dignity of Work” organized by the [liberal Catholic think-tank] Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America, Washington D.C.
…. We are poised to witness in the United States a return to public policy which moves aggressively to establish market mechanisms within ever more expansive realms of national life. It will begin with eliminating the restrictions which have been placed upon markets after the Great Recession to guard against a recurrence of the plundering of the American economy by market-based manipulations. Then it will move to repealing policies which have been enacted to safeguard the environment and public health and safety. Even now, “free market solutions” for our national programs that provide vital income and health care for the elderly and the marginalized are gaining increasing traction because they de-link these safety nets from the anchor of existing benefit levels and through market mechanisms over time will decrease costs and, of course, decrease the substance of the benefits. Finally, the swing of the free market pendulum is accompanied by a coordinated effort to roll back wage and benefit structures for workers, as well as health and safety standards and the critically important rights of workers to organize and bargain collectively.
It is vital to recognize that free markets have a vital role to play in the creation of wealth, the generation of jobs, and the advancement of human dignity. One of the great additions to Catholic social teaching in the last half century was the increased appreciation for market mechanisms as a source of good in the world economy.
But as Catholic social teaching has made clear in every moment of the modern era, free markets do not constitute a first principle of economic justice. Their moral worth is only instrumental in nature and must be structured by society and government to accomplish the common good. In Centesimus Annus, the very encyclical in which John Paul II integrated into Catholic social teaching an enhanced evaluation of the power of markets for good, he made absolutely clear that any market system must be “circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious.” The sustained conviction of Catholic doctrine is that the dignity of the human person is the mean and the measure of every system and institution, and that markets must be structured to reflect that perspective.
Pope Francis has confronted unequivocally the movement which ignores the instrumental nature of free markets and instead claims for markets ever greater autonomy from the criterion of the common good. He has condemned this movement as the sacralization of markets, a sacralization which posits a normative presumption that markets automatically function for the benefit of society, when in many instances they erode the very foundations of human freedom, justice and dignity.
The church must work in the coming months with unions, workers, the elderly and the poor to counter the growing imperialism of market mechanisms within American public life….

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7 comments on “Watch for the Democrats to quote Bishop McElroy: The “imperialism” of the free market

  1. It is vital to recognize that free markets have a vital role …

    Yeah, sure. That’s where the ‘imperialism’ comes from, right? This man is a socialist, or hasn’t thought much about economic matters. He and I clearly live in different worlds.

    … [Trump admin] will begin with eliminating the restrictions which have been placed upon markets after the Great Recession to guard against a recurrence of the plundering of the American economy by market-based manipulations.

    This is absolute balderdash. The real story IS the plundering of Americans that has occurred over the last 25+ years and more, but accelerated by Bush and Obama. I’m not talking about the transfer payments (money from your pocket literally handed to gov’t chosen recipients, after greasing palms along the way)–a mandated theft and bribe scheme that benefits the middlemen only. I’m talking about gov’t manipulation of the “free” markets to control stock prices, but especially keep interest rates unnaturally low. See

    While it began slowly with deficit spending to cover the welfare payments–yes, mandated benefits outstrip military spending by 2 or 3-to-1, or more. But then, to HELP more folks, Reagan created Fannie Mae to use Fed bucks to bolster home lending. That grew into a Ponzi scheme that exploded in 2008. Bush immediately had Congress draft a $800-billion handout for the banks and financial institutions, i.e., the money changers. Obama continued this, i.e., he ran deficits on the order of 1/2 to 1 trillion every year.

    Debt is a monster, but it’s absolute heroin when you can print your own money and buy more heroin. The Fed has printed at least $5-trillion over the Obama years to serve his “recovery”, buying assets to help banks stay afloat. They buy bonds, of course, to suppress interest rates so that the interest on the debt doesn’t kill the goose. You’re the goose, by the way–you and your kids owe somewhere around $100K each already. The criminal Goldman-Sachs enterprise profited greatly as average working stiffs saw their jobs vanish (slave labor in China is cheaper) and incomes steadily degrade. (We’ll see if Trump is wise to hire Goldman guys.)

    But socialists like McElroy think it’s wonderful how Obama suppressed free markets. The suppression has proven to be the biggest Ponzi scheme in the history of man, transferring trillions from the “middle class” to the rich. I.e., what McElroy wants is more wealth transfer from poor to rich. Yep, that’s the Catholic way.

    • Here are some stunning statistics from the Clinton-Bush-Obama gov’t largesse, subsidizing home buying and college. Is this what McElroy wants more of?

      Why Millennials Are Behind: They Earn 20% Less Than Boomers Did At The Same Age (from Zero Hedge)

      Over the past few years, as the Millennial generation has grown into its own, in 2016 surpassing Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation according to the Census (Americans aged 18-34 in 2015 now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers aged 51-69), in the process becoming the fulcrum support of the US economy, it has also prompted many questions: why aren’t Millennials investing in the stock market? Why aren’t they starting families and buying houses? Why are they living in their parents’ basements well into their thirties? Why don’t they just… spend?

      The latest answer to all these questions came yesterday following a new analysis of Fed data by the Young Invincibles group, according to which with a median household income of $40,581, despite being better educated, millennials now earn 20% less than boomers did at the same stage of life in 1989, who earned $50,910 some 25 years ago.

      The analysis released on Friday shows other disturbing trends, which confirm that America’s troubling generational divide is all too real and helps explain much of the anxiety that defined the 2016 election. Some examples: millennials have half the net worth of boomers; their home ownership rate is lower, while their student debt is drastically higher.

      … Andrea Ledesma, 28, says her parents owned a house and were raising kids by her age. Not so for her.

      Ledesma graduated from college four years ago. After moving through a series of jobs, she now earns $18,000 making pizza at Classic Slice in Milwaukee, shares a two-bedroom apartment with her boyfriend and has $33,000 in student debt.

      “That’s not at all how life is now, that’s not something that people strive for and it’s not something that is even attainable, and I thought it would be at this point,” Ledesma said.

      Her mother Cheryl Romanowski, 55, was making about $10,000 a year at her age working at a bank without a college education. In today’s dollars, that income would be equal to roughly $19,500 …

      [lots of charts at the link]

  2. Well said Cyprian ! One can only wonder how this clown cone head McElroy became a bishop. It certainly was not his foundation in Real Catholic Doctrine or Economics. He is certainly not smart enough to be an altar boy, much less a priest. Or yet, maybe that is why he is a bishop !

  3. This talk may not be perfect, but we should also be fair about it. If this critique of the free market were given by Pope Leo XIII, Pope Pius X, or Pope Pius XI, I doubt that we would be complaining.

    • But it wouldn’t be found among their writings. Those popes were very careful in defining their terms. What they clearly condemned was
      1) Redistribution, i.e., taking from Peter and giving to Paul.
      2) Socialism, i.e., the usurpation of the right of ownership of private property, the latter being “inviolable” (something “distributists” struggle with).
      3) Unrestrained use of one’s property

      No. 3 is what pleases the moderns, what they call “unrestrained capitalism,” etc. With their usual unclear thinking, they proceed to fix 3 via 1 and 2. This is where McElroy is. He loves to see the state punish what he calls the “free market.” The heavy taxes and regulations go beyond what is necessary to run the gov’t, of course. Even JPII noted, if I recall, that taxes could be too high and thus punitive. In a word, unjust. But modern popes and bishops are all in with the “social democrat” model of the welfare state, which is a contradiction of 1 and 2, above.

      • I think I’m tracking with you, it’s a good point. Perhaps I should refine what I was saying to state, within the context of your remarks here, that as wrong as the bishop may be about Numbers 1 and 2, it does not mean he is fundamentally wrong about Number 3 as well.

      • Agreed. The big problem with modern corrupt states is that they auction off dispensations to No. 3, called “crony capitalism.” The rapacious trans-national corporations collude with the gov’t to get monopoly rights and thus crush any competition. How to create a fair and level playing field, protecting the common good, is a heavy political question, but is exactly what the gov’t must address. The Bush-Clinton-Obama model is wrong. But because our bishops are so far from the right answer, I’m immediately suspicious.

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