Paul Ryan welcomes Pope's welfare debate

Rep. Paul Ryan said Sunday he doesn't expect the Pope to agree with him about the role of government in addressing social mobility.

But he does welcome Pope Francis' contribution to the U.S. debate on wealth and poverty.

Ryan, a Catholic, has for several years written the House Republican budget proposals, which he says will ensure the long-term viability of the social safety net. He doesn't, however, expect the Pope to endorse his specific policies.

"He's a Pope. Popes don't endorse budgets," Ryan said on ABC's "This Week."

Ryan's split assessment of the Pope comes as political figures adapt to Pope Francis' spot on the political spectrum.

Many Democrats see Francis as aligned with them on social and economic issues, especially in his criticism of "trickle-down economics" and his characterization of an "impersonal economy."

President Obama, for one, said in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper this week that he has "been really impressed so far" with the Pope's "regard for those who are less fortunate."

Ryan has discredited the pontiff's critique of capitalism by saying the Pope doesn't understand the concept. He stood by that on Sunday.

"I think they have crony capitalism in Argentina where you have real exploitation," Ryan said. "That is not the free market."But Ryan said he was "excited" that Francis was talking about social justice issues
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We should have Paul Ryan define terms here but capitalism by definition is the opposite of "free markets."  That's why countries like the United States enact laws to prevent monopolies.  Unregulated markets cannot be free any more that lawless societies can be just.  Capitalism in the West is a Protestant innovation.

I'm not taking a position on Ryan's budget, just saying that it's hard in passing to just say "capitalism good" or "capitalism bad."  In fact, I'm not sure how it could ever be considered moral to pass a deficit budget - that is, a budget which is spending the money of future peoples who have not even elected the officials in office. 

“A small number of very rich men have been able to lay upon the teeming masses of the laboring poor a yoke little better than that of slavery itself” (Rerum novarum, n. 3). [the document also condemns communism and socialism]

“Catholic social doctrine is not a surrogate for capitalism.” (Blessed John Paul II)

Yet consider this!
"It is not lawful to take the things of others to give to the poor. It is a sin worthy of punishment, not an act deserving a reward, to give away what belongs to others."
- Saint Francis of Assisi, Admonitions To The Brethren

via Catholicism and Capitalism the definition of the word capitalism is so undefined, that JPII had to clarify when making statements on the subject:
Again, he asks whether "capitalism should be the goal of the countries now making efforts to rebuild their economy and society?" John Paul's answer is:

The answer is obviously complex. If by capitalism is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a business economy, market economy, or simply free economy. But if by capitalism is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not 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, then the reply is certainly negative.


  1. As in many things "sign" and "signified" are two different things, except when they aren't.

    In God's economy "grace" aka "gift" and "Giver" are one and the same, the rest are tokens that describe an event they are not the event itself.

    Yet in man's economy, we exchange His gifts directly by participating in agriculture, excavation, and construction (or commerce in the products or tools of same) ACROSS space and time using tokens called currency, money. Capital isn't money, capital is a tool, priced in whatever form of fiduciary tokens money takes in the culture, in former times fungible precious items such as sea shells, bird feathers, gold or silver. Capital isn't ever permanent, it only has value dynamically by participating in a relationship between an exchange of giver and receiver, creator and consumer, benefactor and beneficiary, profit and price. Socialism is state capitalism if you will, whereby a public authority (often a monarch in past times) "owns" or acts as stakeholder all the gifts and distributes them according to norms established by a code of honor such as a tribe or family's social rank or military service.

    Our current malaise is over the proper form for such tokens of exchange, what form our currency takes: is money as entity best managed as 'real' estate (ie 'royal' perogative) or as private property? Only when solidarity AND subsidiarity can be promoted and protected is a currency a good token. That is only when the dollar in my pocket is of identical value to the dollar in anyone's pocket is solidarity guaranteed, and only when the dollar in my pocket remains "my" dollar is subsidiarity guaranteed. We need solidarity to calculate a profit and a price for any exchange to be 'fair' and trusted - if a dollar is debased by counterfeiting a vendor cannot earn a livehood and a thief can profit by mischief. Solidarity in an "end" of human exchange via commercial enterprise (charitable giving, too): sustainable flourishing. But we need the means also, we need subsidiarity to discern what price we are willing to pay, to decide how much time or treasure to sacrifice, to elect which actions are most profitable, what things to grow, what items to create, what services to offer to the clients that are most likely to want them or need them (even as works of mercy, we discern whether 'tis more prudent to send cash to the Phillipines typhoon victims or a crate of used clothing or non-perishable food items relying on international infrastructure/ backchannels to get our gift to the recipients as we intended by minimizing risk of delay or decay).

    Regretfully the US has corrupted this exchange process in our global economy by undermining valid justifiable inequalities (particular personal differentials that sustain the common good in subsidiarity) at the expense of the poor by corrupting currency exchange across time and space leading to illicit unjustifiable inequality (preferential personal differentials that negate solidarity and deny the common good) based in the moral hazard inherent in our banking practices. The FED enriches those closest to the "new" money created when the US Treasury issues debt (ie when the State operates at a loss, as when Congressmen like Paul Ryan pass budgets with deficits). We are our own worst enemies; our public policies are 'evil' in a moral sense. We holders and users and taxpayers of US Federal Reserve Notes (the official name of the dollar) are culpable as democratic participants in the system not some amorphous "society" or "free market." The market isn't free, since the currency is "rigged' to be constantly debased to pay for future expenses.

  2. Deutsche Bank analyst Jim Reid "the world is fixated with US monetary policy and huge flows have traded off the back of QE and ZIRP so it does matter. We have suspicions that the Fed may have to be appreciative of the global beast they've helped create as the year progresses."


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