Friday, January 30, 2015

News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 5


Rollercoaster fans should really be loving the stock market.  Just this morning it was down a couple hundred, then up, and then down again. . . . Workers in an ESOP that have independent appraisals of the shares in their accounts are probably feeling pretty smug right about now — they are insulated to some degree from the antics of the speculators on Wall Street; an offer that differs materially from the appraised market value of the company is very carefully vetted, and the share valuation is not quite as subject to manipulation; can you say “DOL Investigation”?

Of course, it would be best if most ESOPs integrated features of Justice-Based Management and Justice-Based Leadership into the plan.  That’s actually relatively easy to do under existing law, especially if an ESOP Trust owns 100% of the outstanding shares of the company, the company takes the S-Corp election, finances growth out of new share issuances, and pays out all earnings as tax-deductible dividends.  (Check out Equity Expansion International, Inc., for more on this.)

It would, in fact, be relatively easy to implement something similar throughout the economy by enacting a Capital Homestead Act.  Not right away, of course.  Next week will be fine.  In the meantime:

God the Meanie v. God the Nice Guy
• CESJ recently received a copy of Joseph C. Atkinson’s Biblical & Theological Foundations of the Family: The Domestic Church (2014) as a gift from Deacon Joseph Gorini.  Atkinson’s book (at least as much as we’ve read so far) appears to be an extraordinarily in-depth analysis of the Judeo-Christian concept of marriage and family.  Admittedly, much of this is over our heads, especially those of us who don’t happen to be fluent in Hebrew (there are a large number of quotes in Hebrew), but we have gleaned a few insights so far, especially the insistence that, from the orthodox Christian point of view, the Old Testament (the Old Covenant) oversimplified as being based on justice, and the New Testament (the New Covenant) oversimplified as being based on charity, form an integrated whole.  The New Covenant does not replace the Old Covenant, but fulfills it.  Similarly, charity does not replace justice, faith does not replace reason, opinion does not replace knowledge, and so on, ad infinitum.  Or ad nauseum — today’s modernists (liberals, new things in a new way) and traditionalists (conservatives, old things in the old way) have a seemingly endless supply of arguments explaining to orthodox progressives (a term to be understood in its 19th century sense of old things in a new way) why everything they know is wrong and truth is no longer true.

• We recently came across a book by Thomas and Rosita Rourke, A Theory of Personalism (2005) that has a very good presentation on the Just Third Way and CESJ.  We plan on reviewing it as soon as we finish reading it and get around to it, but you might want to check it out yourself before then.

Donnelly advocating a new Populist Party purged of W.J. Bryan
• If Jay Leno were still on the air and doing his “headlines” routine, we’d have one for him.  During our research on the Populist politician Ignatius Loyola Donnelly (1831-1901), “the Sage of Nininger,” the economic guru of Msgr. John A. Ryan, author of A Living Wage (1906) and Distributive Justice (1916), we came across this startling declaration: “‘Sage of Nininger’ Ignatius Donnelly to Wed His Typewriter.”  It was from The Meriden Daily Republican of Thursday, January 27, 1898, on page 2.  Reading the article, we discovered that “typewriter” is an outdated term for “typist,” and Donnelly, 66, was marrying his 20-year old secretary, but still . . .

When government promises are trash.
• A letter to the editor in today’s Wall Street Journal stated that the Federal Reserve’s current policies have the same effect as revenue to the U.S. Treasury, and equated government borrowing with government revenue.  This is where a little knowledge of basic accounting would go a long way.  Revenue is income to the recipient, while borrowing is a loan that has to be repaid out of future revenue.  Thus, for every dollar the government borrows to avoid raising taxes now means that expenditures will have to be reduced in the future by an equal amount, and taxes raised to cover both current and past expenditures, or the outstanding debt will have to be increased, slowly at first, but growing exponentially as politicians continue to try and mortgage future tax collections to pay for current expenditures.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 46 different countries and 52 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Most visitors are from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Indonesia, and India. The most popular postings this past week were “The Purpose of Production,” “Why Did Nixon Take the Dollar Off the Gold Standard?” “What’s Wrong with the Pro-Life Movement?” “Where Men are Men,” and “CESJ Core Group Meets ‘Pope’s Rabbi’.”

Those are the happenings for this week, at least those that we know about.  If you have an accomplishment that you think should be listed, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org, and we’ll see that it gets into the next “issue.”  If you have a short (250-400 word) comment on a specific posting, please enter your comments in the blog — do not send them to us to post for you.  All comments are moderated, so we’ll see it before it goes up.

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