The various communications media keep touting “the recovery” and the fantastic “economic growth” . . . and at the same time insist on the need for raising the minimum wage, family assistance, Universal Basic Income, a Great Reset, Inclusive Capitalism, Democratic Socialism, and so on, because individuals and families just aren’t making it. Why aren’t they calling for economic personalism so that everyone can participate in growth instead of trying to figure out more creative ways of redistributing what others produce?.
• Growth and Recovery. The media keep touting growth, but very little of the benefit seems to flow to anyone but the currently wealthy, whose riches have expanded enormously over the past year. What no one points out is that the bulk of the so-called growth is in the stock market and increased government spending, neither of which is geared toward producing marketable goods or services — the stock market is a secondary market that produces nothing, but buys and sells existing debt and equity, while government services are not (or shouldn’t be) marketable. The whole purpose of economic activity (and thus economic growth) is the production for consumption of marketable goods and services. This is the whole point of Adam Smith’s first principle of economics and Say’s Law of Markets. Production for any other purpose is waste.
• American Families Plan. According to a Washington Post article of April 29, 2021, “Details of Biden’s $1.8 Trillion American Families Plan” (A-21), the idea is to vest America’s families with consumption power of one form or another, allegedly to be funded by increased taxes on the wealthy. There are a number of problems with this, not the least of which is that making families dependent on outside sources for their consumption needs destroys families instead of restoring them. When both parents worked at home on the farm or in a family owned business, families tended to be strong. With the Industrial Revolution and at least one parent working away from home, the family was considerably weakened, but generally held together by the increased economic dependency on the “primary breadwinner,” a new concept that substantially changed the relations between men and women as women changed from being partners to support staff. With the increase in government assistance, the primary breadwinner status began shifting from one or both of the parents, to the State, and the decay of the family accelerated. The move to making families primarily dependent on the State for consumption income will inevitably weaken family bonds still further. If President Biden really wants to help families, he should shift focus from consumption to production, making it possible for everyone to be productive through both labor and capital ownership, making it more advantageous for families to stay together to aggregate resources than to make them dependent on others. The Economic Democracy Act would go a long way to restore families instead of tearing them further apart.
• College Free Tuition. In the same issue of the Washington Post — on the same page, in fact — another article says that “College Leaders Praise Biden’s Free Tuition Plan.” We’ve written about this before. While many people praise countries in Europe that have universities with “free tuition,” they leave out the rest of the story. What they don’t tell you is that the “free” tuition is always made up in other ways, such as the endless and costly fees for everything that was formerly covered by tuition. Also, it often happens that tuition per se is not the problem, but the other costs of living, books, and everything else. “Free tuition” is like the marketing loss leader to get you into the store where you buy other, more expensive items, or the inexpensive Barbie doll with the high-priced accessories.
|Government funding isn't magic, just smoke and mirrors.|
• Funding By Taxation. According to Hauser’s Law, the United States has typically collected approximately 19.5% of GDP in taxes. Historically (by some theory we can’t remember the name of) it’s been assumed that it is difficult to sustain any tax system that collects more than 20% of GDP. Of course, some of the developed countries have tax collections in excess of 40%, but there are two hidden factors in there. One, developed countries usually have more social services and transfer payments, distorting tax collections by “double counting,” as it were. Taxes returned to citizens are usually spent and counted into GDP, making the effective tax collection much lower than the objective amount collected. Two, funding government expenditures using debt also lowers the effective tax rate through the “hidden tax” of inflation that artificially increases tax collections using inflated currency. The bottom line here is that, while we assume President Biden’s heart is in the right place, he simply can’t realistically think about funding his social programs by increasing taxes. The only way to go is to do something to make more people productive, thereby increasing people’s income naturally and reducing the need for social programs at the same time. This is yet another reason why the U.S. (or anywhere else) should adopt the Economic Democracy Act as soon as possible.
• Economic Personalism Landing Page. A landing page for CESJ’s latest publication, Economic Personalism: Property, Power and Justice for Every Person, has been created and can be accessed by clicking on this link. Everyone is encouraged to visit the page and send the link out to their networks.
• Economic Personalism. When you purchase a copy of Economic Personalism: Property, Power and Justice for Every Person, be sure you post a review after you’ve read it. It is available on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble at the cover price of $10 per copy. You can also download the free copy in .pdf available from the CESJ website. If you’d like to order in bulk (i.e., ten or more copies) at the wholesale price, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for details. CESJ members get a $2 rebate per copy on submission of proof of purchase. Wholesale case lots of 52 copies are available at $350, plus shipping (whole case lots ONLY). Prices are in U.S. dollars.
• Sensus Fidelium Videos, Update. CESJ’s series of videos for Sensus Fidelium are doing very well, with nearly 150,000 views in total. The latest available Sensus Fidelium video is “Seeking the Good.” The video is part of the series on the book, Economic Personalism. The latest completed series on “the Great Reset” can be found on the “Playlist” for the series. The previous series of sixteen videos on socialism is available by clicking on the link: “Socialism, Modernism, and the New Age,” along with some book reviews and other selected topics. For “interfaith” presentations to a Catholic audience they’ve proved to be popular, edging up to 150,000 views to date. They aren’t really “Just Third Way videos,” but they do incorporate a Just Third Way perspective. You can access the playlist for the entire series The point of the videos is to explain how socialism and socialist assumptions got such a stranglehold on the understanding of the role of the State and thus the interpretation of Catholic social teaching, and even the way non-Catholics and even non-Christians understand the roles of Church, State, and Family, and the human person’s place in society.
• Shop online and support CESJ’s work! Did you know that by making your purchases through the Amazon Smile program, Amazon will make a contribution to CESJ? Here’s how: First, go to https://smile.amazon.com/. Next, sign in to your Amazon account. (If you don’t have an account with Amazon, you can create one by clicking on the tiny little link below the “Sign in using our secure server” button.) Once you have signed into your account, you need to select CESJ as your charity — and you have to be careful to do it exactly this way: in the space provided for “Or select your own charitable organization” type “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington.” If you type anything else, you will either get no results or more than you want to sift through. Once you’ve typed (or copied and pasted) “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington” into the space provided, hit “Select” — and you will be taken to the Amazon shopping site, all ready to go.
• Blog Readership. We have had visitors from 38 different countries and 37 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, Argentina, Canada, the Philippines, and India. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “A New Look at R.H. Benson’s Lord of the World,” “A Short Treatise on Sovereignty,” “The Democratic Religion,” “News from the Network, Vol. 14, No. 16,” and “Getting Real About Money.”
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.” Due to imprudent language on the part of some commentators, we removed temptation and disabled comments.