The Coming Corporate ‘Crime Wave’

In a recent appearance before Congress, Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates declared that the US Department of Justice is going to ratchet up its prosecution of individuals employed in corporations as part of a larger push against “white collar crime.” There is no doubt that such prosecutions will be very popular to a large section of voters, given that presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Martin O’Malley, along with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, pretty much have declared that nearly all American businesses are part of a massive criminal conspiracy that must be brought down by federal authorities.

Within the next year, we should expect to see mid-level business and finance executives doing “perp walks” in front of the news media, as federal prosecutors will charge them with various “economic crimes” in hopes that they will implicate their superiors. All of us by now know the drill; and in a time of anemic economic growth complete with business failures, it won’t be hard to find scapegoats.

Everyone Is “Guilty”

When famed civil liberties attorney Harvey Silverglate published his now-famous book, Three Felonies a Day, it caused quite a stir. Going through a number of very disturbing cases, Silverglate made clear that if federal prosecutors want to target an individual, it is very easy to fashion criminal charges against them.

To prove his point, he noted how the federal prosecutors in New York when Rudy Giuliani was US Attorney for the Southern District of New York regularly played a game in which they would see if various celebrities and others, including Mother Theresa, had broken federal criminal law. The result, unfortunately, was that for each person no matter how good his or her public character, a federal statue existed that would place them in prison.

Being that Giuliani’s prosecutors — and Giuliani himself — regularly committed felonies by selectively leaking grand jury information to favored journalists in order to damage the ability of accused people to defend themselves. He also did it to stoke the fires of the anti-business mobs, and these prosecutors were quite familiar with how to fashion the ever-malleable federal statutes to turn ordinary acts into crimes. During the 1980s, when Giuliani was at DOJ, the New York office engaged in a massive show of force against Wall Street firms and other business enterprises in large part to enhance the coming political careers of Giuliani and others who worked under him, and to appease the anti-business Democrats and Republicans who were anxious to declare to roll back what they called the “Decade of Greed.”

Is a New Wave of Crackdowns Coming?

Federal prosecution of business figures tend to come in waves. During the Great Depression, prosecutors tried to claim criminal behavior by businessmen was responsible for the lengthy economic downturn. During the 1980s, Wall Street rivals of Michael Milken and others who challenged the established financial firms were the quiet-but-effective engine of prosecution, combining their political connections with Giuliani’s ambition to nearly destroy the alternative capital funding machine that was overturning the corporate status quo with new startups and shakeups of existing firms.

Because Milken had become wealthy through his financial dealings, he became the symbol of “greed” by the Democratic Left, which at that time was facing a loss of influence during the Ronald Reagan years and was desperate to regain its former status of America’s “conscience.” Going after Milken mollified both the Left and the Republican establishment on Wall Street, as the “old money” firms were happy to see Giuliani eliminate the competition.

After the spectacular failure of Enron and other firms that depended upon Alan Greenspan’s Federal Reserve System policies of easy money, policies that ended in the Tech Bubble meltdown in 2000 and 2001, the George W. Bush administration went after people like Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling of Enron and others who had high-profile CEO jobs. In the lynch-mob atmosphere that inevitably follows the bust cycle of Fed-induced business cycles, it was not hard to convince Americans that the corporate bankruptcies and the subsequent recession were the handiwork of criminal executives.

I have written about federal criminal law and its abuses for more than a decade and have not changed my viewpoint. No matter how often writers and activists expose the consequences of expanding federal criminal law, the law expands anyway. People are elected to Congress on platforms of “being tough on crime,” and large crowds heartily approve when Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren call for more business executives to be thrown into prison for unspecified “crimes.” (They demand the Beria approach. Beria, who was the head of the original KGB, famously stated: “You bring me the man, I’ll find you the crime.”)

A Winning Political Strategy

The current public mood is ugly, and perhaps for good reason. Although the official rates of unemployment are relatively low, statistics clearly show that huge numbers of potentially-employable people have left the job market altogether because they know that finding meaningful employment is highly unlikely. We know that in percentage terms, labor participation in the workplace is at near-record lows. We also know that, economically speaking, the economy is stagnating and that individuals continue to be squeezed as real pay fails to keep up with creeping-but-real inflation. In short, people are angry, and they want someone to pay.

Many angry people have found a political home with candidates like Sanders and Donald Trump, both of whom speak to voter frustrations and who also find perfect scapegoats for vengeful Americans. Bernie Sanders blames businesses and entrepreneurs for “greed,” while Trump blames immigrants. Economically speaking, neither Sanders nor Trump is correct, but it doesn’t matter; angry voters don’t want facts–they want scalps.

Ever since sociologist Edwin Sutherland during the 1930s came up with the term “white collar crime,” politicians and the media have claimed that businesses often are little more than criminal enterprises. Certainly the current political climate reflects that sentiment and more. Furthermore, politicians are appealing to voters with proposals that would destroy capital formation, criminalize much of entrepreneurship, and make it much more difficult for business firms to engage in normal activities.

In a recent campaign speech, Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton declared, “We’re going to go back to enforcing labor laws. I’m going to make sure that some employers go to jail for wage theft and all the other abuses that they engage in.” Few candidates of either party are willing to stand up for businesses and entrepreneurs; and as the campaign rhetoric becomes more inflammatory, federal prosecutors are going to find it increasingly easier to charge business owners and employers for law “violations” that might be called “criminal” even if they never were intentional, according to law professor John Baker.

Selective and Politically-Motivated Prosecution

Because there are so many business owners and executives, and because federal prosecutors cannot go after everyone, it will be a crapshoot as to whom prosecutors select for “the treatment.” For the most part, those targeted will not have political connections (such as many Wall Street executives), nor will they be people involved in “green energy” ventures, such as those businesses tied to people like Al Gore.

When people think of so-called business crimes, they think of embezzlement, firms falsifying information, tax evasion, or engaging in fraud while performing services under contract with the government. For example, say that Ajax Company is supposed to build tanks for the US Army and is paid on a cost-plus basis. The company then bills the army for a number of tanks it did not build or for phantom services, with the company CEO and his mistress putting the fraudulently-obtained money in a Swiss bank account.

This certainly would fall under anyone’s fraud statute, and if the government were to prosecute just those kinds of cases, few people would object. However, government fraud statutes are incredibly malleable and can apply to conduct that would seem to be legal. In an article I wrote for Regulation six years ago, I point out Enron’s practice of placing “non-earning assets” into “special purpose entities” was legal and also was made known to Enron stockholders; yet federal prosecutors decided to include those actions under the umbrella of “Honest Services Fraud.”

Prosecutors wanted jurors to believe that even though Enron’s activities met federal laws and regulations, nonetheless the company undertook those actions in order to present the company to stockholders and others in a false light, making the company’s financial condition seem better than it really was. Thus, it was left to the jurors to determine whether or not this action truly was a violation of the law, even though the original act did fall within the letter of federal statutes and regulations.

One can see immediately where there is a problem. Under most state laws governing crime, there often is no doubt that an actual crime was committed. The question is not whether someone broke the law, but rather who broke it, the defendant or someone else.

Federal Law Is Ambiguous Enough to Allow Prosecution of Nearly Anyone

In the federal system, however, jurors often are asked to decide whether or not someone actually broke the law and, thus, broke federal statutes. Jurors, who usually have no legal training, then are asked to determine whether or not a highly-complex deed that they may not understand was a legal violation; and more often than not, if jurors don’t understand it, or if they deem the defendants to be less-than-savory, they will vote guilty as a default position.

Furthermore, federal prosecutors have such leeway that they are able to pile on numerous charges that might be based from a single endeavor, thus creating a situation for defendants in which they either can chance going to prison for decades (and federal prosecutors almost always win at trial) or plead guilty. (I have a well-known friend who was charged with “Honest Services Fraud,” because the US attorney believed that the fees he negotiated with his clients were higher than they should have been. The prosecutor did not allege that he had defrauded his clients per se, since he charged the clients the fees upon which both parties agreed, but that because the fees were higher than fees other lobbyists charged their clients, then they simply had to be illegal. So, according to federal prosecutors, one can negotiate fees in daylight with all parties agreeing and still be breaking the law.)

Federal prosecutors also are notorious for appealing to the prejudices of juries. When the late Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were on trial in Houston, Texas, prosecutors appealed to the fact that when Enron collapsed, a lot of people lost money. (That Skilling and Lay also lost most of their income and wealth in the same collapse apparently was irrelevant, and prosecutors claimed that any act of Lay and Skilling diversifying their own personal financial portfolios — although both men held most of their wealth in Enron stock — was an attempt to knowingly bail out of a sinking ship.) Because the trial judge also was openly hostile to the defendants, prosecutors pretty much were able to do and say what they wanted without fear of legal repercussions.

Rudy Giuliani once noted with amusement that people charged with “white-collar crime” were more likely to “roll over” than were hardened criminals. Part of the reason is that most people, and especially business owners and executives who do try to obey the law, are horrified at the prospect of being charged criminally and going to prison. Because federal prosecutors can easily fashion charges that often defy defense, it is not hard to understand why business people plead guilty.

If Barack Obama and US Attorney Loretta Lynch decide to target business people, prosecutors will find plenty of targets. Because violation of regulations can be rolled into the “fraud” and “conspiracy” statutes — even if the violations were unintentional or the “targets” were unaware of their existence — it is not hard to find subjects to prosecute. Being charged in such conditions is more like “winning” an “unlucky lottery” than engaging in actual criminal behavior.

That turning the business community into a wreckage of criminal charges will have long-term effects on the willingness of entrepreneurs to risk their own assets will be no deterrent to people like Obama and Lynch. Neither of them have a minute of business experience, and they truly believe that businesses themselves probably at best are unethical entities or at worst caverns of criminality; so they most likely believe they are doing Americans a favor by throwing more people into prison. One only can feel sympathy for people and their families who at the present time have no idea that someone from the US Department of Justice is planning to wreck their lives over at worst what might be a legal technicality.

This commentary originally appeared at and is reprinted here under a Creative Commons license

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

Holy Socialist Central Planning

In his recent speech to the U.S. Congress, Pope Francis declared that “the common good is the chief aim of all politics” and that “freedom requires love of the common good.” Legislation is “always based on care for the public,” the pontiff pontificated. Only a naïve child could believe such a thing.

The pope said these things in the context of imploring the Congress to adopt some kind of Soviet-style central planning of the economy in the name of “fighting global warming,” while simultaneously exploding American welfare state spending by extending welfare benefits to all welfare parasites from every Third World nation on the planet. Thus, if “Catholic social teaching” stands for anything these days, it stands for international socialism and egalitarianism gone wild.

In the context of politics, there is no such thing as “the common good”; for such a concept implies unanimity, and politics is never unanimous, especially in a country of over 300 million people.  Moreover, if everyone agrees on a course of action, then there is no need for government to coerce us into doing it. There is no need for government at all in such instances.

As Ludwig von Mises pointed out in his book, Liberalism, the only sense in which “the common good” or “the public interest” makes any sense is in the case where property rights are well protected. Secure property rights, wrote Mises, is the shortest road to peace and prosperity. All legislation, however, is an attack on property rights because it invariably involves the placement of widely-dispersed burden on the majority for the benefit of a well-organized minority or special interest. All legislation is the result of rent- or plunder-seeking by special-interest groups, or by the state itself in order to expand its powers and budgets. As such, all politics is the mortal enemy of anything that can be construed as “the common good,” exactly the opposite of the pope’s declarations.

Politics is the ultimate “robbing Peter to pay Paul” scam. Peter, the hapless taxpayer, is effectively blindfolded so that he can be robbed for the benefit of Paul, the greedy special interest who kicks back some of the loot to his political patrons in the form of votes and “campaign contributions.” Peter is “blindfolded” by the tricks of deficit spending and money printing, which hide the true costs of government, as well as the concentrated benefits/dispersed costs gambit whereby a small tax is imposed on the many to finance large benefits for the few and well connected.

Politics is thus never based on “care for the public,” as the pope said. It is based on the self-interest of politicians. Their “chief aim” is not “the common good,” but keeping their jobs and expanding their pay, perks, and powers, the public be damned.

The rhetoric of “the common good” began with the French philosopher Rousseau, the intellectual godfather of communism and hater of private property. The common good, said Rousseau, is something that is known to an elite in society. This special knowledge supposedly gives them the right to impose their will on all others. The communists certainly took this idea to an extreme, slaughtering tens of millions of dissenters; but all statists, including Pope Francis, rely on the same rhetoric. They rely on repetition, obfuscation, and rhetorical game playing instead of terror and mass murder to get the public to acquiesce in their plans for international socialism with themselves, the world elite, in charge.

When socialism collapsed once and for all in the Soviet empire and elsewhere in the late 1980s/early 1990s, socialist intellectuals did not just throw in the towel. Many of them took the advice of the socialist/environmentalist guru Barry Commoner, who wrote in The New Yorker magazine that socialists should no longer advocate central planning in the name of helping “the people.” People Schmeople. It should be sold, said Commoner, in the name of “saving the planet” from capitalism. Thus, the “watermelons” were born – green on the outside, red on the inside. The pope is a recent convert to watermelon socialism with his embrace of the “global warming” hysterics’ agenda. Religious figures like himself were always looked upon by Machiavellians like Commoner as useful idiots, to borrow the phrase from Stalin. They send the message that socialist central planning is somehow God’s will – as though humans can know what is in God’s mind.

If American welfare spending explodes by extending benefits to millions of new Third World peasant immigrants, the Catholic Church stands to make a killing. Catholic Charities receives more than half of all of its revenue from government grants. As a recipient of these grants, it is forbidden from teaching Catholicism to the beneficiaries of its “charity.” It is a welfare state conduit, which goes a long way toward explaining the pope’s wild enthusiasm for Third World immigrants. It is the same agenda, in fact, of Ted Kennedy, the author of the 1965 federal immigration law that greatly reduced immigration quotas from Northern Europe while opening up the flood gates of Third World immigrants who Kennedy knew would be reliable Democratic voters/welfare parasites (See Peter Brimelow, Alien Nation).

If the Congress were to adopt the pope’s agenda of socialist central planning in the name of “saving the planet,” coupled with the internationalization of the American welfare state, it would be charting a course to become a Third World country.  At that point, the socialist intellectuals –and perhaps even a future pope – would inevitably blame it all on “capitalism.”

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; ;Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe, How Capitalism Saved America, Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today. His latest book is Organized Crime: The Unvarnished Truth About Government.

This article was originally posted on and is reprinted here under a Creative Commons license

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

Here’s The Pope’s Problem

I’ve been a Roman Catholic since 1954.

I have great respect for Pope Francis. When it comes to matters of faith and morals, what he says, goes.

But when it comes to politics and economics, the pope is about as far from infallible as anyone can get.

For example, he was in Cuba earlier this week, meeting informally with Fidel Castro and touring the island to say Masses and meet with priests.

Apparently, the pope was having such a good time he forgot that for more than half a century, Cuba has been a rotten communist prison camp–and his hosts Fidel, and his brother Raul, have been the wardens.

The people of Cuba have been denied every basic human freedom there is, plus they’ve been impoverished en masse and deprived of the simple blessings of modern life by the Castros’ brand of atheistic socialism.

Yet apparently, Pope Francis couldn’t see the barbed wire that still surrounds Fidel’s broken-down paradise.

His visit to Cuba was a perfect chance for him to throw his moral weight around and shame the Castro brothers before the whole world.

But unlike John Paul II, who went to Communist Poland to encourage the creation of Solidarity and meet with its brave leaders, Francis ignored the existence of Cuba’s political dissenters and prisoners of conscience.

How great would it have been if Pope Francis had stood in Havana Cathedral and delivered a “Mr. Castro, cut down that barbed wire” sermon?

Instead, in the poorest and least free dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere, he warned the people against letting riches rule your life.

Getting too rich and losing your spiritual values is the last thing the poor of Cuba need to fear right now.

I’m afraid Pope Francis wouldn’t get that joke because, unfortunately, he really does think capitalism and its love child, manmade climate change, are the world’s two biggest problems.

Not ISL taking territory and beheading people. Not terrorism. Not the Syrian refugees. Not a nuclear Iran. Not the civil wars in Ukraine or Yemen or Libya or Iraq. Not the poverty or lack of electricity or clean water for half of Africa. Not a hundred other things.

Global warming and capitalism. Seriously.

On Wednesday, one of the first things the pope did in Washington was call for a fight against climate change, which he said is a planetary crisis so serious it “can no longer be left to future generations.”

He didn’t explain how spending hundreds of billions of dollars to lower the global temperature a tenth of degree a hundred years from now will help the poor, because it’s unexplainable even for a pope.

Before he heads back to Rome, Francis will surely get around to scolding America for the inequalities of its capitalist economic system and the greed of Wall Street.

But like so many Americans of the liberal faith, he has capitalism and socialism backwards.

It’s capitalism that has made America the wealthiest and most generous country in the history of mankind and has brought forth everything we eat, use and enjoy.

It’s capitalism and freedom, not socialism and its chains, that have brought a much better life on Earth for billions of the poor souls the pope cares so much about.

Does the pope realize that 401(k)s and pension funds owe their good returns to the health of Wall Street and the stock market?

Or that most of the enormous wealth the Catholic Church has acquired over the centuries was generated by greedy immoral capitalism?

I bet not.

Pope Francis is rightly praised for caring deeply about the poor and the marginalized.

But he’ll never figure out how to actually help them until he understands what made America so wealthy and stops worrying about the wrong things.

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

A Well-Known Cuban-American Priest Just Asked Pope Francis The One Question On Everyone’s Mind

Papal condemnations of capitalism that also give godless communism a free pass from criticism are a sin, a prominent Cuban-American religious leader said this week.

“Why do you and other religion leaders condemn capitalism so strongly, and offer us a list of all the disasters that result from it on earth, but we never see an equally strong condemnation of atheist communism, which continues to cause the world so much harm?” Rev. Alberto Cutié, a former Catholic priest who is now an Episcopal priest, wrote in a column in the Miami Herald.

“Is it really more important to have diplomatic relations with a country that has not had free elections in 50 years, that abuses its people, that has a well-documented history of oppressing and robbing the Church–than to seek justice, the common good and freedom for all Cubans?” he asked Pope Francis, who met recently with Raul Castro and other Cuban leaders.

“I don’t understand–and don’t think I will ever begin to understand–why a man of God can meet with oppressors, but not the oppressed,” Rev. Cutie concluded.

Cutié echoed concerns expressed by members of the Ladies in White dissident group, made up of mostly Catholic female relatives of Cuba’s jailed political prisoners.

“The Holy Father visits Cuba as a missionary of mercy, but he has not spoken about human rights … without respect for human rights, nothing the Pope urged for in his homily can be achieved,” said Berta Soler, the leader of the Ladies in White.

In 2013, Pope Francis said that capitalism is “an economy of exclusion and inequality” and “such an economy kills.”

h/t: Breitbart

Envy, Economic Destruction, And Moral Decay: Pope Francis And Bernie Sanders

Both Pope Francis and Bernie Sanders seem to be down on capitalism, and they support the imposition of more economic regulations, and higher taxes on “the rich,” in the name of reversing “income inequality.” Which means taking more wealth and income away from the producers, the innovators, the entrepreneurs, the providers of jobs. Which ultimately causes slowed productivity, factory shut-downs and higher unemployment. And then these socialists and fascists call for more interventions, more bureaucratic intrusiveness into private industry, and ultimately, government seizures of whole industries (like health care).

Yes, they are both fascists as well as socialists. But “fascist” sounds bad, unlike “socialist.” That has “social” in it. “We love people!” So Bernie calls himself a “socialist.” And while I don’t think Pope Francis calls himself a “socialist,” I’m sure he probably doesn’t object to that description.

As opposed to “fascist,” which sounds like “Hitler” and all that. But both words have economic meanings, and that’s important.

In my simplistic view of things, I see socialism as “public ownership of the means of production” which really means government ownership, which means bureaucrats usurping ownership away from the people. It is theft, in actuality. And fascism supposedly allows for private ownership, but the controls over the industries, property, contracts and labor are seized by those covetous and power-grabbing government bureaucrats. Both socialism and fascism are enslavement of the people.

As I have stated in the past, the minimum wage is an example of economic fascism. Bureaucrats order employers to pay workers not less than a certain amount. The choice is: pay the worker less than demanded by ignoramus bureaucrats and go to jail, or cut those jobs if the employer can’t afford it. Most employers choose the latter rather than going to jail. So that’s a fascist control usurped by bureaucrats over the wage part of the private contract between employer and employee.

Interesting how “liberals” are concerned when private businesses engage in “price gouging,” even though the free market’s raising prices at certain times actually benefits those most in need (as opposed to anti-price-gouging laws which backfire and cause shortages). But when the “liberals” artificially raise the price of labor (minimum wage), they really are “price-gouging” by legal force, and thus causing people to lose their jobs! (Some “liberals”!)

Now, Pope Francis and Bernie Sanders’s complaints are supposedly of the greed of “capitalism” and the “1%“. They want to crack down on Wall Street. In my view, Wall Street is just a de facto branch of the federal government, and is rigged to enrich the insiders at the expense of small investors. Wall Street is also a beneficiary of socialism. Example: The Wall Street Bailout at involuntary taxpayer expense. So Wall Street is not an example of actual free market capitalism.

Actually, there has been very little capitalism–that is, free market capitalism–in America, certainly not in Europe or any of the other areas of the world. There is crony capitalism, in which the established firms get in bed with the bureaucracy’s major power wielders, who write special legislation to pay off the insider established firms’ bigwigs, who have all the legal forces at their fingertips to get around whatever legislation is written that the smaller firms can’t afford to do. This is a main component of fascism, by the way.

Besides the minimum wage, one textbook example of crony capitalism and fascism (that some people have been mistakenly referring to as “socialism”) has been the ObamaCare law, or the Affordable Care Act. This law was largely written by the lobbyists of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. They have benefited a great deal from this new health insurance racket.

In contrast, real capitalism is this: Free markets, i.e. freedom, in which everyone is free to do with one’s own person, labor, property, capital and wealth whatever one wants, as long as you don’t steal or use fraud, coercion or aggression against others. And that’s it. No governmental intrusions or guilty-until-proven-innocent controls, mandates, licensing, or reporting anything to the government. For those are all trespasses, in my view; and thus, they are criminal intrusions, which is what socialism and fascism are all about.

In contrast, free market capitalism is the way of life which, during the 19th Century, led to the greatest expansion in human prosperity and raised the standard of living of most of the people in society. It raised the standard of living of those at the bottom, as well as the middle.

And then in the 20th Century, the socialists and fascists came in and wrecked all that. Besides the Europeans and their socialist and fascist centrally planned economic policies and wars, in America there were Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt, the two major players whose socialism and fascism gave us the income tax, the Federal Reserve System, and FDR’s many, many fascist bureaus and programs, ordering people to do this and do that, or else.

The socialist redistribution-of-wealth schemes and takeovers of whole industries and/or fascist controls that Pope Francis and Bernie Sanders want to impose on America are an expansion of those which began over the last century. The policies they support are not those of promoting freedom, of liberating the people from the shackles of the State, but just the opposite.

Socialism and fascism are government enslavement of the people. Of course, they would never admit to that, just as the “tax” theft advocates don’t want to call their policies “stealing.” As I wrote in this earlier post, there are some people who mistakenly view the relationship between a capitalist employer and employee as like an “enslavement.” I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “wage slavery.” But in free market capitalism, everything is voluntary. The worker is not being forced to work at that place of employment. In a free society, all relationships and contracts are voluntary. In socialism and fascism, they are not voluntary — they are coerced, forced, compelled, ordered, mandatory, or prohibited by government bureaucrats who just like to order people around. And that’s one of the biggest differences between free markets and the socialist/fascist utopia envisioned by Bernie Sanders and Pope Francis.

Besides the personal enslavements, the results of economic policies that Bernie Sanders wants to impose on America, and Pope Francis wants to see globally, would be like the terrible conditions in Venezuela. Government’s socialist takeovers of industries and fascist price controls cause shortages and empty store shelves and long lines.

In America, just look at all the free market-directed grocery stores and food distributors we have, with minimal or non-existent bureaucratic intrusions. Prices are set by wholesalers and retailers, not government bureaucrats. No long lines and empty store shelves. That’s capitalism, freedom, and prosperity.

The motivations of Pope Francis and Bernie Sanders, and most of the people on the left, should be viewed as dubious when they continually support policies of government theft of private wealth and government regulations which have mainly succeeded in causing higher unemployment, inflation and economic distress. The Left’s most recent anti-capitalist hero, French economist Thomas Piketty, wrote in his book, Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century, that a progressive, global tax on capital and individual wealth “would not bring the government much in the way of revenue, because it would quickly fulfill its objective: to drastically reduce remuneration…” As quoted in this Mises Institute article, Piketty writes his main point, which in my view mirrors most on the left: “The primary purpose of the capital tax is not to finance the social state but to regulate capitalism.” I.e., it is not as important to help the poor as it is to make the rich less rich. Which ultimately takes more opportunities away from the middle class and the poor, and makes the poor poorer as well — that’s how things work with these government interventions. We know that from actual historical and empirical evidence.

So really, Pope Francis and Bernie Sanders reflect the Left’s general sentiment of envy toward the successful, the entrepreneurs, and producers and creators of wealth. They promote the policies of wealth destruction and economic and moral decay. After all, promoting the stealing from others’ honestly acquired wealth and property is just that: stealing. And that’s immoral. They can rationalize the institutionalized theft all they want, but that’s what it is. This is also what motivates their obsession with higher taxes on producers to cure “global warming/climate change,” as well. In my view, they are not as concerned with cleaning the environment and preventing “melting polar ice caps and rising sea levels” as they are obsessed with taking more wealth away from the producers of society (and thus taking jobs away from the workers!).

This article originally appeared at Scott’s blog

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