By Ron Hart
The Pope made his first U.S. He chatted with President Obama and addressed the Senate and House. It was a good crowd for the Pope; he loves audiences who have never really heard his material.
In the Pope’s orthodoxy, sloth, anger, gluttony, greed, envy, pride and lust are the Seven Deadly Sins. In Washington, they’re the days of the week.
His time with Obama was interesting. The issue was the holier-than-thou attitude and unbending dogma he is known for, but the Pope had to look past that.
Obama’s presidency and the nation are more secular than ever. Today, when people say, “Is the Pope Catholic?,” they’re really asking you a question.
The two men have become unlikely political allies. Obama sold the Pope on the global warming scam that helps take money from some and redistribute it to others based on a belief, not facts — similar business models.
And they both have contempt for capitalism, which I hope the Pope tempered while here. He should learn that our prosperity and generosity trace back to freedom and capitalism.
The Pope’s leftist ideologies have resulted in a fall in his U.S. favorability ratings, declining recently from 76% to 59%. If this trend continues, we could be looking at a one-life-term Pope.
His economic address sounded like Obama’s speechwriters had penned it. The Pontiff demanded more government control and regulation over the economy, citing the gap between the rich and the poor. He told world leaders to stop the “the tyranny of money.” I’m not sure I’d cast the first stone on excess and money from the opulent Vatican — funded by the least transparent bank in the world, the Vatican Bank.
The Pope called money “the devil’s dung,” which was also the name of the Argentine bar where he once worked as a bouncer. I like that the Pope was a bouncer. It explains his new policy: On Wednesday nights, women get into heaven for free.
Just because the Pope is “infallible,” it does not mean he can’t get some things wrong. Oh wait. But on economics and the sources of poverty, he did.
No system yet devised has lifted so many out of poverty and alleviated human misery worldwide as capitalism. The Pope’s socialist homeland, Argentina, has abject poverty and slums. Even the poorest Americans live better than average Argentines. Average income in the U.S., based on effort and ability, is $52,000. In Argentina, home of “fairly distributed” socialism, the average income is about $18,000—and it goes disproportionally to a politically-connected few.
Leftists make the mistakes of conflating poverty with inequality. Rags to riches stories abound in America, but in “equality utopias” like Argentina and Cuba, rags to rags stories dominate. If opportunity is equal, by definition outcomes will be unequal. All a government or a deity can seek to achieve is a fair chance for everyone. There is no way to have an equal outcome, ever, unless it is equal misery.
Popes give their lives to the Lord. Economics is not in their skill set, so I understand his thinking. Popes are like the lead in James Bond movies: he always get replaced with another white guy. The childless Pope believes that we should have more kids. Maybe he should raise my kids for a few weeks and then get back to me.
Obama is all about his “legacy.” Oddsmakers predict Obama (for the Iran deal) and the Pope as odds-on favorites to win the Nobel Peace Prize. If you are betting on the Nobel Peace Prize winner, you most likely have a gambling problem. My view is that the Pope is Time’s Person of the Year; Obama should be “Persian of the Year.”
No doubt the Pope is a great man. To avoid the aura of greed, he lives in a small apartment in the Vatican and drives a Ford Focus. No man who drives a Focus can ever have his vow of celibacy questioned.
No one believes our economic system creates heaven on earth or that it’s perfect. It’s simply the best one God has created. Let’s not stifle it with politically expedient rhetoric. Hopefully, the Pope will better understand capitalism when he compares today’s Cuba to the U.S.
We love the Pope but hope he avoids political ideology. Remember, the Gospels are not Matthew, Marx, Luke and John.
(Ron Hart, a syndicated libertarian op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator can be reached at Ron@RonaldHart.com or visit RonaldHart.com.)