It’s that time of year again. Time for another supposed “war on Christmas.” Critics on the right complain that liberals are trying to stamp out religion, while many on the left will go looking to be offended by every little thing.
Meanwhile, religion and government are coming together in a potentially threatening way.
The danger isn’t menorahs or mangers on the courthouse lawn, but by an alliance between progressive leaders and religious leaders. Both insist they’re worried about “income inequality.” But their shared “cure” would be worse than the supposed disease.
Pope Francis opened the debate.
“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” the Pope announced recently. “This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”
This statement sounds an awful lot like one of President Barack Obama’s stump speeches. It contains vague attacks: which “people” defended “trickle-down theories” and when did they make those statements?
And Obama himself quickly picked up the thread. “The combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American Dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe,” he announced in a speech at a Progressive think tank.
His proposed solutions have all been tried repeatedly: A higher minimum wage. Longer unemployment insurance. More government spending. And they’ve all failed every time they’ve been tried.
The sad part is that Obama’s speech contained the seeds of a more effective approach.
“A new study shows that disparities in education, mental health, obesity, absent fathers, isolation from church, isolation from community groups—these gaps are now as much about growing up rich or poor as they are about anything else,” the president declared. But that gets things backward. Those social ills are the cause of much income disparity.