The Moral Triumph of Western Civilization

Part 10: The Growth of Capitalism

(Part 10 of a multi-part series on The Moral Triumph of Western Civilization.)

Until the dawn of capitalism in Christian Europe, all previous (dominant) cultures had “command” economies: Markets and labor are “commanded” or coerced rather than allowed to function freely and voluntarily.

Before the dawn of capitalism, much of ancient wealth took the form of buildings —monuments really— like the pyramids in Egypt, the Parthenon in Greece and others.  Although impressive, these structures had no productive value and were built mostly by slave labor.

Similar to people living in command economies, those living under the constant threat of marauders or arbitrary confiscation also live with the perpetual risk that their wealth will be forcibly taken at any time so most of their efforts are focused on just keeping and protecting wealth, not productively investing it for growth.

Command economies never produce much wealth. They ignore the most basic of all economic facts that “all wealth derives from production.”1  (For wealth to be created something must be mined, hunted, fished, grown, made or manufactured.)

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The Moral Triumph of Western Civilization

Part 10: The Growth of Capitalism

The Moral Triumph of Western Civilization

Part 9 – The Dawn and Moral Foundations of Capitalism

(Part 9 of a multi-part series on The Moral Triumph of Western Civilization.)

Thomas Aquinas was born during the same time period that Genghis Khan was ravaging western Asia. Aquinas became one of the most important figures in the development of Western Civilization, especially in reconciling the brilliant (but pagan) philosophy of the ancient Greeks with historical Christian theology.

In his landmark book, Summa Theologica, Aquinas brought together Biblical revelation with human reason; in particular the philosophy of Aristotle, whom he considered the greatest of the newly rediscovered Greek philosophers. Recall that most of the works of the ancient Greeks had only been recently found mostly through cooperation with the Islamic world from about the mid-12th to the mid-13th centuries.

Aquinas is considered one of Western Civilization’s greatest philosophers for proclaiming that reason was a gift from God instilled in humans to be used to understand, explain and enjoy His creation.
Both Augustine and Aquinas applied reason to God’s Word. Aquinas argued that faith must precede reason which had to be used with humility — the understanding that our intelligence and knowledge as humans is limited.

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The Moral Triumph of Western Civilization

Part 9 – The Dawn and Moral Foundations of Capitalism

D.C. can’t fund border security but it can sure waste plenty of taxpayer dollars

Senator Rand Paul annually publishes a look into some of the federal government’s unbelievably wasteful programs and how the Deep State squanders taxpayers’ money.

In what he calls, “Chairman Rand Paul’s Festivus Report” he picks out some of the worst examples of “pork” totaling nearly $115 million. Though some might consider this to be minor in cost and scope relative to the entire federal budget, few listed here are things our national government should have any involvement with. (Keep in mind that the average taxpayer pays a little over $8,000 annually in federal taxes, so this sum represents the hard earn income taxes paid of about 14,000 households.)

Read moreD.C. can’t fund border security but it can sure waste plenty of taxpayer dollars

The economic results are in: Trumponomics works!

In less than two years, the policies passed by the Republican congress as pushed by President Trump have proved to be wildly successful in energizing the American economy.

The core principles of Trumponomics: low tax rates, rollback of (productivity-destroying) regulations and fair international trade has again made the United States the world’s strongest economic engine.

Even in the face of some of these trade skirmishes (not yet wars) and rapidly rising interest rates by the Federal Reserve, this week we had proof — surging real income, soaring productivity, high job creation and record low unemployment.

Over the last 12 months, wages and salaries (not including benefits) increased by 3.1%, considerably above the 2.3% growth in inflation (Consumer Price Index), illustrating that we have real income gains.

Productivity has now surged over 2% (2.2% in Q3) for two consecutive quarters. This is about double the annual productivity growth during the Obama years.

Jobs increased by 250,000 in October well above the 190,000 that were forecasted. Such recent growth in jobs has reduced the unemployment rate to just 3.7%, the lowest rate since 1969 or nearly 50 years.

Read moreThe economic results are in: Trumponomics works!

Socialist Bernie Sanders wants to make low-income people harder to hire

Senator Bernie Sanders (Ind. – Vt.) wants to tax corporations (more than 500 employees) 100% for each employee who works at the company but receives any low-income government benefit: section 8 housing, food stamps, Medicaid, children in school lunch program, etc.

At first this seems entirely reasonable. Sanders says that because the company is not paying the employee a high enough wage, taxpayers have to supplement this low wage to allow the person (or household) to stay above the poverty level.

But because most socialists are economic illiterates or poisoned by their own ideological beliefs, they can’t grasp how such proposals work in real life with real human behavior.

First of all most Americans would agree that (1) self-sufficiency is a good thing and (2) that the path to self-sufficiency is to have a job. But to get a job, the person must provide the employer with greater value than what the employer will have to pay in compensation. Any company that adds a job and hurts itself financially won’t be around very long.

This means that the most impoverished person, the individual who is receiving the greatest number of low-income programs would now, under the Sanders’ plan, be the most expensive person for the employer to hire. His or her cost to the employer would not only be the compensation paid, but would include 100% of every government benefit that person continues to receive.

Read moreSocialist Bernie Sanders wants to make low-income people harder to hire

Take home pay up considerably under new tax law

When wage increases over the last year are combined with this year’s tax rate cuts, American workers are doing far better than they’ve done in years.

Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders says that because wages went up 2.7% in the last 12 months and inflation was up 2.9%, workers fell behind. Without others considerations he would be correct.

According to Andy Pudzer, former CEO and author of “The Capitalist Comeback: The Trump Boom and the Left’s Plot to Stop It,” there are other ways they’ve benefited to the extent that they’re now enjoying take-home pay increases not seen in years.

Read moreTake home pay up considerably under new tax law

Better not own property or rely on a public pension in NJ

New Jersey is in very bad financial shape, mostly due to stunning mismanagement of its public pension system.  Though it has promised the moon, it has chosen never to pay more than $1.9 billion in the plan in any year. Now it needs about three times that to keep the pension system solvent.

Governor Murphy knows he can raise the state income tax rate to levels where his state’s wealthiest residents would likely take their capital elsewhere. But they, like any other home or property owner in the state, cannot move their NJ real estate holdings. Private real property stays and that’s what will eventually get taxed heavily enough to likely reduce home values in the Garden State significantly.

Read the entire article from Steven Malanga of the Manhattan Institute here.

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