Watch: What Trump Just Said About The Pope Left The Interviewer Flabbergasted

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he might “have to scare” Pope Francis if the two were to meet during the pontiff’s upcoming trip to the United States.

“The pope is coming; do you want to meet him?” CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked Trump Thursday.

“Well I’m Protestant. I have great respect for the pope,” Trump said. “I like the pope. I actually like him. He’s becoming very political, there’s no question about it. But I like him. He seems like a pretty good guy.” The real estate mogul has previously identified as Presbyterian.

Cuomo then posed a hypothetical involving a meeting between Trump, Pope Francis and the pope’s translator (as WCBS pointed out last year, the pontiff has trouble with English). “The translator says to you, ‘The pope believes that capitalism can be a real avenue to greed. It can be really toxic and corrupt.’ And he’s shaking his finger at you when he says it. What do you say in response to the pope?”

“I’d say, ‘ISIS wants to get you,’” Trump immediately answered. “‘You know that ISIS wants to go in and take over the Vatican? You have heard that. You know, that’s a dream of theirs, to go into Italy. You do know that?’” Cuomo was surprised that Trump would change the conversation towards discussing ISIS, suggesting he would try to “scare the pope.”

“I’m gonna have to scare the Pope because it’s the only thing,” Trump said. “The pope, I hope, can only be scared by God. But the truth is – you know, if you look at what’s going on – they better hope that capitalism works, because it’s the only thing we have right now,” Trump continued. “And it’s a great thing when it works properly. In our country Chris, it has not been working properly.”

Between regulation, between all of the Dodd-Frank, all of the different things that have been imposed, we aren’t competitive like we used to be. We have to open up our country to great capitalists.

I don’t think the pope is opposed to capitalism by the way. I’ve seen a lot of what he’s opposed to. And I don’t think the pope is opposed to capitalism.

During a speech in Bolivia earlier this year, the pope asserted the “system is by now intolerable: farm-workers find it intolerable, laborers find it intolerable, communities find it intolerable, people find it intolerable … The earth itself … also finds it intolerable.” He would go on to argue:

And behind all this pain, death and destruction there is the stench of what Basil of Caesarea, one of the church’s first theologians, called ‘the dung of the devil.’ An unfettered pursuit of money rules. That is the dung of the devil.

“Working for a just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labor is not mere philanthropy,” he said later in the speech. “It is a moral obligation. For Christians, the responsibility is even greater: it is a commandment.”

Relevant material starts just after the 5:00 mark:

Could Donald Trump and Pope Francis forge a formidable alliance? Share your thoughts in the comments section below?

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

What Just Happened To This Small Business Proves $15 Minimum Wage Has Failed

One California town that recently flirted with implementing the arbitrary $15 minimum hourly wage endorsed by some activists has already seen the detrimental effect such an idea has had on one local small business.

Emeryville officials passed the first phase of the wage hike, forcing businesses with more than 55 workers to pay employees $14.44 per hour. One restaurateur, however, voluntarily raised his staff’s pay to between $15 and $25 per hour – preferably without charging his customers more.

Vic Gumper owns several Lanesplitter Pizza locations in the region, noting in advertisements that his pizza prices – along with a commitment to serving sustainably harvested foods – remain unchanged.

After one-quarter of his clientele abandoned him as his employees continued making the same high wage, Gumper finally acknowledged the negative impact his policies have had on his legacy.

At the same time, however, he claims not to regret taking such a sacrificial position.

“The necessity of paying people a living wage in the Bay Area is clear,” he said, “so it’s hard to argue against it; and it’s something I’m really proud to be able to try doing.”

His emphasis, apparently, was on the word “try,” as he followed that statement up with his confession that he is “terrified of going out of business after 18 years.”

In order to postpone such a drastic move, he has already begun shutting down certain locations during lunch hours. He acknowledged that he has also had to pass along the added expenses to his customers.

He also has a “no tips necessary” policy which, as it turns out, discourages the incentive some employees had to excel at previous jobs. At least one staff member noted that she served drinks in San Francisco prior to joining the Lanesplitter staff and brought home considerably more than Gumper pays.

Should businesses be forced to raise wages arbitrarily? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

The ‘Not Enough Jobs’ Scenario: An Economic Fallacy (But Possibly An Accurate Forecast)

Editor’s note: This article first appeared at Forbes.com.

Once again, a scholar with impressive credentials is broadcasting the gloomy notion that Americans face a job-poor future. The insufficient-jobs scenario appeared in George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen’s book “Average Is Over a couple of years ago. It resurfaced again recently in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Vivek Wadhwa, “a fellow … director of research … and distinguished scholar” at several prestigious universities, wrote that we need “a new version of capitalism” for “dealing with our jobless future.”

The crux of Wadhwa’s argument is his belief that technological progress will result in a society divided between a technologically savvy elite, who will prosper mightily, and a larger number of Americans whose jobs will be rendered obsolete and won’t be able to find new jobs. There’s an obvious fallacy here: If technological progress reduces employment opportunities, then why are hundreds of millions of people still working in the technologically and economically advanced countries of the world? What is it with these intellectuals and the recurring nightmare that progress results in a dearth of jobs?

An incident that the late economist Milton Friedman related comes to mind: While visiting a populous but undeveloped Asian country several decades ago, Friedman saw a gang of workers using shovels to excavate a hole where a building’s foundation would be laid. Friedman noted that the job would be completed much more quickly if a modern excavating machine were used. His host replied that a deliberate decision had been made not to use such a machine because the government wanted to maximize employment. Friedman’s rejoinder was to the effect that if the goal were to maximize employment in the country, they should ban the use of shovels and equip a far larger number of laborers with spoons. It doesn’t require great vision to realize that a fully employed nation of spoon-wielding ditch diggers would remain a very poor place.

Can anyone doubt that technological progress has led to economic advancement? The economic principle is elementary: As worker productivity increases (that is, as more wealth is produced from fewer units of labor) prosperity rises, too. When improved agricultural productivity has bankrupted farmers and resulted in our food supply being produced by an ever-smaller percentage of Americans, what has happened to all those ex-farmers? They found employment in new fields, thereby increasing the number and variety of goods and services produced. In other words, more wealth was created; and that is how a society achieves higher standards of living for the masses.

What has just been described is Schumpeter’s process of creative destruction. Old jobs that produce things of less value become obsolete, and new jobs producing things of higher value take their place. This is the natural evolutionary course of free markets.

Any notion that there is a ceiling to the number of potential jobs ignores an elementary and undeniable economic truth—namely, that there is no limit to the potential number of jobs because there is no limit to mankind’s wants. As technology makes it possible to produce what are considered the modern necessities of life (cars and cell phones in addition to the traditional necessities of food, clothing, and shelter), more workers will be available to produce and provide new goods and services that entrepreneurs are dreaming up every day of the year.

Is there anything that can inhibit or halt the natural tendency of entrepreneurs in market economies to generate new job opportunities? Yes, indeed. Government intervention—excessive and costly regulations, wealth-and capital-depleting taxation, misallocation of resources via government spending programs, depreciating currency, etc.—can stifle economic activity, discourage business formation, and cause job opportunities to dry up.

What is scary about Wadhwa’s thesis and related plans (such as Hillary Clinton’s proposal for government to lay a heavier, more controlling hand on American entrepreneurs and businesses) is that their ill-conceived policies will produce results opposite to what they claim to be seeking. There will be less employment instead of more.

When Wadhwa says we need a new “capitalism” that redistributes more wealth and provides everyone with a taxpayer-supported guaranteed income, he is doing two destructive things: First, he is perpetrating a pernicious lexicographical hoax, proposing a new form of statism that is a repudiation of free markets—i.e., that is anything but “capitalism.” A more honest statement would be “It is time to replace capitalism with greater government control of economic activity.” The second destructive aspect of his suggestion is his apparent blindness to the fact that maximum economic freedom—true capitalism—is the world’s best hope for expanding job opportunities. To jettison capitalism and replace it with a greater degree of statism will impede economic growth, squelch the growth of businesses, and consequently hinder job creation, to the economic detriment of those who are hoping for jobs.

There will be enough jobs for Americans only if the political planners surrender their mad ambition to direct the economy from Washington.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Is America Still A Classless Society?

The liberal Democrats encourage class warfare between the rich and the poor. They treat these groups as though they were collective masses of humanity, poised against each other, ready to do battle. Their battle cry is Income Inequality, which claims that the Rich Mass steals from the Poor Mass and that only government can step in to equalize them by seizing wealth from The Rich and redistributing it to The Poor. The politicians pose as Robin Hoods. Their Sherwood Forest is the American Economy. But the story they tell is a lie, not because classes do not exist, but because they are a creation of big government. America was formed as a classless society, a meritocracy based on initiative, effort and perseverance in an atmosphere of free capitalism. America has no hereditary class structure, no nobility, aristocracy or landed gentry. Everyone has the free will to pursue chosen goals. But government is naturally self-interested. It feeds on those it governs in order to make its power grow. Thus, classes have gradually been introduced by Government, in order to change the nature of governmental power.

This nation is not divided into vast masses of Rich and Poor juxtaposed against each other. The rich are individual people. So are the poor. The rich are rich separately and independently of each other. So are the poor. Poverty is local. So is wealth. Notwithstanding the immense revenues of big corporations, it is people who produce and enjoy wealth. This is important to recognize and remember. There is a lesson in it. Despite the mantra that society is a vast collective, divided into smaller masses, the truth is that every individual is free to engage in producing wealth. Individual initiative, talent and energy are the basis of enterprise. It is the fuel of the engine that creates wealth. If people have vision and apply their talents to a purpose, they can acquire wealth–sometimes a great deal of it. Only government can interfere with the free exchange of ideas and goods. And it often does!

It is true that people’s circumstances differ, that the starting line is never equal. That’s the nature of the world. People are born into relative wealth or poverty. Initial circumstances create opportunities that differ. But circumstances change according to attitude, intelligence, talent, interest, education, effort, perseverance, and vision. These attributes are the energy that creates opportunities, which in turn create wealth. Opportunities are not a static commodity doled out to a preferred few. Opportunities are made by people with will, perception, and perseverance. Even adverse conditions can be overcome. Everyone can get an education. It takes personal responsibility; but anyone who goes to school, does his homework and pays attention will open up possibilities that ignorance prevents. Moreover, education tends to expand geometrically in an ongoing process of self-education. The captains of industry who built the foundations of wealth in America generally had limited academic education, but replaced this with great vision and energy. They created their own opportunities through their own initiative. This should make the issue of class moot.

But most people do not seem to understand all of this, because they have been fed the notion that we are a collective society. They buy the mantra of class distinctions based on race and engage in endless misperceptions that minorities are being denied rights. No one denies the historical precedent. Many people have suffered from prejudice–blacks, Irish, Italians, Asians, immigrants in general, who had to struggle to assimilate into the melting pot culture of America.

This struggle still goes on in some minor ways, but the prejudice that once pervaded the nation and kept people down is now more an illusion than a reality. Black people, for example, have made enormous headway in every aspect of American life. What used to be a redress of legitimate grievances has become a cry for preferential treatment. While once minorities were denied opportunities, they now argue for greater welfare benefits. There is no inequality in the distribution of television sets or expensive sneakers, nor is there a legitimate demand for free health care or free food. Nothing is free. It is taken from some and given to others.

Moreover, such treatment is a disincentive to produce wealth. Welfare destroys motivation through chronic dependence. People are discouraged from work when they get free wealth. But, as Margaret Thatcher observed, Socialism no longer works when it runs out of other people’s money. The politicians know this and realize that without the continued production of wealth, they will have nothing to seize. Politicians practice self-interest. They are not statesmen, but snake-oil salesmen; and the poison they vend is the notion that without effort, one can live well. With this pitch, they buy votes to keep them in power. But Government would collapse without wealth to seize. Politicians know this and make deals with cronies in big business.

The real problem now is not income inequality between classes. It is that government itself has replaced the old class system with a Soviet modeled bureaucracy run by an oligarchy of politicians working in crony concert with huge business interests. This is not free capitalism. It is managed competition, a concept first envisioned by J. P. Morgan, who coined the term. It means that government can regulate who competes for wealth.

But when government becomes so big and pervasive that it neutralizes individual initiative by collectivizing people, shunting them into false categories (minorities, collectives, interest groups), especially when it provides them with imagined entitlements, it has the power to withhold those entitlements with a flip of a switch. In its first hundred and fifty years, America disabused itself of notions of upper and lower classes, and in so doing elevated the great middle class to the highest standard of living in human history. Where once our nation was largely a meritocracy of individuals engaged in vigorous business, invention and achievement, it has now become a nation not of free capitalists who work for their own benefit and accomplishment, trading with each other freely without government interference in society, but a nation of different classes–one of dependence and impotence, the other of feudal corporatism.

 

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

America Was Founded in Liberty, But Now Mired In Tyranny

“The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age of Ignorance and Superstition, but at an Epoch when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined, than at any former period…The United States came into existence as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own.” So declared George Washington at the time of our founding as a nation.

It is unique and exceptional that this nation was established according to natural law, and declared inalienable individual rights of life, liberty, and property, or the pursuit of happiness. In an era when monarchs, rulers, oligarchs, autocrats and aristocrats governed according to their whims and disposition, having derived their right to rule based on caste or bloodline, a motley collection of men steeped in classical-liberal principles led a revolution and established a nation dedicated to individual freedom.

Those precepts were the foundation to the Declaration of Independence, which states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” There is nothing more exceptional in human history than those two sentences and the nation that resulted from their utterance: a nation that derived its “just” powers from the “consent of the governed.”

A decade later, the structural document creating the governmental framework based on the tenets articulated in the Declaration of Independence was ratified by the colonies. That document, our Constitution, stated specifically as enumerated powers what our national government could do; and whatever powers were not specified or enumerated were “reserved to the states respectively or to the people.”

But even at the nascent stages of the American experiment, the author of liberty, Thomas Jefferson, saw how our system would metamorphose into something entirely different. “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”

What started as a small list of enumerated powers in the Constitution has evolved to hundreds of thousands of pages of laws and regulations in the Federal Register, and a government that has debt greater than the entire gross domestic product of the nation. Laws have become so obtrusive that on any given day, millions of our fellow citizens can unwittingly commit “crimes” against the state, as documented in the Alan Dershowitz and Harvey Silverglate book, “Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent.”

We are so far removed from our foundation of individual liberty, that literally every action of every day that we engage in is regulated, taxed, or overseen by an omnipotent Master governing its peon subjects. The tyrannical control of our lives far, far exceeds the relatively minor transgressions of King George against our founding colonists.

Political scientist Theodore Lowi attested to this devolution from liberty to governmental tyranny forty years ago in his book “The End of Liberalism.” He empirically documented that “modern liberalism has left us with a government that is unlimited in scope but formless in action.” He illustrated how such a government “can neither plan nor achieve justice because liberalism replaces planning with bargaining and creates a regime of policy without law.”

With such a noose of governmental control around the throat of the country, it’s amazing that anything can be produced, sold, or used; for as government grows in scope, power, and control, individual liberty is diminished and quashed. It’s a testimonial to the viability of capitalism that, even under such oppressive regulatory control of the means of production, we can still eek out a modicum of GDP growth.

Government is increasingly looked to as the benevolent patriarch that can bestow “rights” and entitlements to a beseeching clientele, diminishing the liberty, rights, and privileges of another. In short, we have a new master; and we are all its subjects.

The cost of this bloating and egregious governmental power is great, and the cumulative cost can literally destroy a nation financially. Greece typifies this collapse, with several European nations not far behind. As columnist and author Dennis Praeger has said, “Countries will either shrink the size of their government, or they will eventually collapse economically. Every welfare state is a Ponzi scheme, relying on new payers to pay previous payers. Like the Ponzi scheme, when it runs out of new payers, the scheme collapses. European countries, all of which are welfare states, are already experiencing this problem to varying degrees.”

Can we ever reverse this course, and make a strong case for liberty again? It won’t be easy. For every dole paid out by our federal master, there is a clientele that would vociferously denounce any effort at reduction. In a representative democracy, the most vocal citizens appropriate to themselves more attention from the powers that be. But if the nation is to survive financially, the trend must be reversed.

This will require a resolute and informed electorate that is more vocal than the beneficiary recipients of our nanny-state master’s noblesse oblige. But if we’re to prevent the otherwise inevitable collapse of our currency, our economy, and the nation, we must muster the will and determination to begin shrinking the scope and cost of government. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The best government is that which governs least.” It’s also more likely to endure.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth