Blaise Pascal, PenseĆ© 347: “Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapor, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this. All our dignity consists, then, in thought. By it we must elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill. Let us endeavor, then, to think well; this is the principle of morality.”

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ben Stein on Tavis Smiley / Father Robert Barron on Catholic Social Thought

Ben Stein on the Romney Campaign, Why He'll Never Vote for a Democrat (Right to Life / Defense Budget), and Why He Has Doubts About Supply Side Economics.

Watch Economist Ben Stein on PBS. See more from Tavis Smiley.

Stein presents the most "Roman Catholic" position I've seen yet, not that I find everything has has to say persuasive.  His doubts about supply-side economics interest me, but when he says that we had very high marginal tax rates in the 50s and 60s, and enormous prosperity, he neglects to mention that we were the only major industrial power left standing after WWII. The causes of our prosperity had very little to do with high tax rates, and the effective rate of federal income taxation--given loopholes--is not that different than in the fifties and sixties. Although "subsidiarity" as a principle doesn't come up in Stein's interview--and I think it needs to--he puts his finger on the flaws in both Republican and Democratic social thought when it comes to "solidarity": not enough concern for the poor by either party, nowhere near enough concern for the unborn by the Democrats.

Robert Barron lays out the two main principles of Catholic social teaching:

The Funny for today from Russ Wood:

Appendix on Supply-Side Economics and Ronald Reagan:

Tax increases (11) during the Reagan Years:

Reagan Tax Increases / Bloomberg Business Week

Reagen Tax Increases / CNN

CBS Reagan and Tax Increases

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