Paul Ryan, Economic Reform and Catholic Principles

Monday, November 05, 2012 5:06 PM Comments (14)

As noted in a previous post, I interviewed Paul Ryan about two years ago. At the time — obviously — neither of us had any inkling he’d be a future vice presidential candidate.

Almost the entire interview was focused on Ryan’s economic thinking — not just his detailed economic plan (A Roadmap for America’s Future), but the philosophy at the bottom of his economic views.

What about his detailed plan? As chairman of the House’s Committee on the Budget, Ryan knows details. He has been dubbed Congress’s budget hawk, a man determined to do whatever it takes to keep the U.S. from experiencing the kind of catastrophic economic collapse now dragging Europe’s nations, one by one, into their...READ MORE

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Solidarity and the Welfare State?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 6:00 AM Comments (13)

In the last post, we discussed why the Catholic principle of solidarity does not equal socialism. In this post, we’ll be looking at solidarity and the welfare state.

To many Catholics, the call to solidarity boils down to a call for concern for the poor. If welfare is concerned with the poor, then it would seem solidarity means that Catholics should unambiguously affirm the welfare state. In this view, the welfare state is the incarnation of solidarity, a governmental system that takes care of the poor.

But that identity is questionable. Hence the question in the title of this post: “Solidarity and the Welfare State?”

Let me be very clear that by putting it in question I am not...READ MORE

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Solidarity, Yes. Socialism, No.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012 9:21 AM Comments (12)

I’ve been talking in recent posts about the Church’s principle of subsidiarity, the principle that “a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good” (Catechism, 1883).

It’s now time to talk about another Catholic principle, solidarity. Whereas the principle of subsidiarity is generally ignored, the principle of solidarity is generally misunderstood.

Solidarity, in emphasizing the concern for the poor, is often taken to imply the...READ MORE

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The Church and Capitalism: What Subsidiarity Tells Us

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 9:51 PM Comments (11)

As I noted in a previous post, there are some who take the Church’s rejection of socialism, collectivism, and communism, as if it were a blanket affirmation of pure capitalism. That is as misleading as thinking that the Church’s preferential option for the poor entails full political support of the welfare state.

Neither are correct, and both violate the Catholic principle of subsidiarity, which again states that “a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always...READ MORE

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Do Social Programs Intrude on 'Moral Space'?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 8:00 AM Comments (36)

As I noted in a previous post, the Catholic principle of subsidiarity asserts that “a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good” (Catechism, 1883).

Fine. But what exactly does that mean in regard to our own social and economic situation?

Again, it means, first of all, that the state should not violate the “moral space” of its citizens, a space that is also economic. And that is what too many state social programs, in fact,...READ MORE

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Subsidiarity Defined: Downsizing Social Programs

Sunday, September 16, 2012 8:15 PM Comments (14)

There seems to be a lot of confusion in regard to exactly what the Church teaches about economics.

On one side, there are those whose reasoning goes something like this: “The Catholic Church is for poor people, so it is for large governmental social welfare programs and something like socialism.”

On the other, there are those who reason along these lines: “Since the Catholic Church is against socialism and communism, therefore it is unabashedly for capitalism. Government should therefore stay out of economics — as should the Church — and leave the whole money-making thing to market forces.”

And then in the middle there are large numbers of Catholics who don’t know what the Church...READ MORE

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Paul Ryan and the Moral Foundation of Our Economic Recovery

Monday, September 10, 2012 2:44 PM Comments (16)

Paul Ryan

– Wikipedia/Gage Skidmore

When I interviewed Congressman Paul Ryan two years ago, neither he nor I had any idea that he would be the next GOP vice-presidential candidate. Not much has changed since then, either in regard to Ryan or our situation.

Then, as now, we were in a severe economic slump, severe enough to be called the “Great Recession,” that is, teetering on the edge of duplicating the Great Depression.

Then, as now, Paul Ryan was known as the GOP budget hawk, the man with the intestinal fortitude to take on both parties in his cry for fiscal reform.

Then, as now, Ryan’s solution was a very concrete proposal, “A Road Map for America’s Future” — the economic plan heralded by the GOP, and, now that...READ MORE

Filed under barack obama, catholic politicians, catholic social thought, economic thought, joe biden, mitt romney, paul ryan

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About Guest Blogger/Benjamin Wiker

Benjamin Wiker
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Benjamin Wiker, Ph.D., is visiting associate professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is a speaker and author of 10 books, his latest being Worshipping the State: How Liberalism Became Our State Religion. His website is benjaminwiker.com