Perhaps focusing less contempt on the poor and vulnerable who need our help…

and focusing more defiance at the rich and powerful who rob us blind would be wise if we really want to sound like Catholics critiquing an incompetent and corrupt state:

US taxpayers spend 1,000 times more on corporate subsidies than the entire welfare program.<br /> Source:</p><p>via @[407983411392:274:The Bitchy Pundit]

  • Maggie Goff

    Mark, I can’t make out what it says in the blue lettering bottom right. Is that the source of the statistics quoted? If it is, will you tell me what it says so I can verify before I share it? If it isn’t, will you cite your source, so I can share that? Thank you.

    • Dillon T. McCameron

      It looks like…BitchyPundit?
      *ahem* and

  • Doug

    I’d love to see vetted stats since the only sources I can find for this image are the Democratic Underground. BTW, that’s not a “ritually impure” site, it’s what we might term a “filthy, utterly untrustworthy” site.

    In any event, I’ve long believed that corporate welfare vastly outstripped personal welfare, but I need clean stats if I’m going to publish that.

    • Dan C

      I would add the enormous luxury budget items we now have that did not exist in the 1970′s like the phone budget and the cable budget and the household IT budget.

      This is the reconstruction of our concept of our national wealth. Once, our communal wealth was something in which we took pride , such as our library or our parks. But now, the evil of the age has led us to think taxes for this is socialism and redistribution, and this is a thought process led by Acton and First Thing. We have re-structured our national wealth to personal luxury away from communal wealth.

      • Andy

        Our political parties have come to worship mammon – as long as Wall Street does well, all is well right he world. People loosing jobs, being food or housing insecure, medically insecure – all their fault-heaven forfend however, that a corporation pay its own way.
        One needs to only read what various popes have written to see the evil of what we have done with our economy and how we view people who work – as commodities to be thrown away when they are no longer the current model.

        • Dan C

          In terms of restructuring how we view economic life, attempting to appeal to the base instinct of selfishness of our society and its radical individualism as if this is divine (this is a gift of the impact of the Moral Majority and political Evangelicism’a pagan tendencies.

          It is not as if Wall Street does not get a huge philosophical support from a certain arm of Catholicism. This is a huge problem. It will be routine on EWTN in a year to openly critique Caritatas in Veritate and folks like Maradiago.

          It nearly is now.

          • Andy

            The philosophical boost that Wall Street receives is the most troubling component in our current society. The reduction of people to the status of commodities, the growing lack of recognition that wealth is not for private consumption, but rather to support the world boggles the mind.
            The deliberate pattern of ignoring what has been written by numerous popes and even seen int the Bible is beyond the pale. I do not think it will be a year and EWTN will be critical of Caritatas in Veritate, will give short shrift to Catholic Social teaching – I unfortunately see it happening in small way now and these small ways will only expand.
            The prosperity gospel has replaced, I think for a segment and a growing segment Catholics the gospels of the Bible and the teaching of Jesus.

            • Dan C

              The capacity for open dissent ong the self-proclaimed orthodox has increased. Let Mueller at CDF have some positive things to say about liberation theology, let the martyrs of San Salvador’s UCA be acclaimed more prominently at the Vatican and we will see far far more division in American Catholicism.

              • Andy

                You are so right!

                • Dan C

                  Catholics have had a long slow dance with political Evangelicalism. We have now heard that we need (as the allegory goes) to put a little distance- save some room for the Holy Spirit-between us and our dance partner. Political Evangelicalism has too close an association with elements of conservativism easily summarized as promoting a “You’re On Your Own” rugged individualism for both individuals and families. Catholics have, since the Gospel and The Acts of the Apostles, recognized the community as vital and an enormous priority.

  • MClark7

    The numbers are bogus. A married couple with $50000/yr and one kid only pay about $1900 in income taxes, so how can they pay $4000 in corporate subsidies? The other line items don’t match up with what the whitehouse says the income tax pays for: What constitutes a corporate subsidy, exactly? NASA research contracts? Wind and solar research? DOD research contracts? The mortgage interest tax deduction? Internet memes are to provoke an emotional response, not provide any kind of factual data or careful reasoning.

    • Ken Crawford

      I completely agree. The fact that $4000 is a round number also suggest is is a highly estimated number and thus not very reliable.

      My guess is the logic behind it is that there are all sorts of tax breaks for corporations who do certain things and loopholes they can use to reduce their taxes. So what they did was come up with an estimated number of how much money that was, divide it by the number of households in the US and say that’s the subsidy the $50k person is “paying”.

      BTW, it’s clear they very carefully picked a person/family in a tax bracket that wouldn’t look like they didn’t pay much taxes, thus artificially making the numbers spent on charitable things look really small, just because they don’t pay a lot of federal taxes.

  • Dan C

    What we spend our national wealth on is obvious. Spending is for the military and this is spent in ways to secure supply lines for resources for the nation.

    What we have never budgeted is such things as serious disaster relief that would involve “nation-re-building”, such as for largely Catholic countries as Haiti or Philippines. We have budgeted, to the cheers many Catholics, wars of choice.

    We as Catholics are not anti-government. No read of Caritas in Veritate or Paul 6th PP can accept libertarianism or Norquist-style government budgets as Catholic. Our priorities as Catholic citizens is clear- personal wealth, and militarism (with dehumanizing jingoism). This is what we have spent our money on these last 25 years.

    • ivan_the_mad

      It’s as if the Church taught that “Economic activity, especially the activity of a market economy, cannot be conducted in an institutional, juridical or political vacuum. On the contrary, it presupposes sure guarantees of individual freedom and private property, as well as a stable currency and efficient public services. Hence the principle task of the State is to guarantee this security, so that those who work and produce can enjoy the fruits of their labours and thus feel encouraged to work efficiently and honestly.”

      Never mind, that’s exactly what was taught in Centesimus Annus § 48. As usual, the American political dichotomy manages to miss the principle(s) enunciated in the social doctrine in spectacular fashion from either direction.

      • Dan C

        I claim neo-liberalism is a project which had attempted to re-align Reagan Democrats who bought into Willie Horton scares and were seduced by the inaccurate and unfair language of “welfare queens” to come back into the Democratic voting block.

        Neo-liberalism’s project of welfare means-testing and local decentralized administration through block grants is a failure with shockingly disparate usages of block granted money Medical Assistance in a state like Alabama vs. Massachusetts. The persistent and endless need to go to office after office reporducing documents for means-testing on routine bases is not only inefficient, but a barrier to service delivery.

        Subsidiarity is the Church’s approach, but this also demands good, expert and competent actors at the local level in addition to a relief from the constant regulatory burden of neo-liberalism.

        As a policy construct, it is inefficient, inept and unevenly exercised. It should be seen as a failure.

        • ivan_the_mad

          I won’t contest your claim.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    If you have 2 cloaks and your neighbor has none, then your 2nd cloak belongs to your neighbor. If you don’t give it to him, it is you who are the thief. All our modern talk of “market forces” cannot do away with that.
    Basic economic morality is really quite simple.

    • Dan C

      One needs to reference the lives and words of the Fathers of the Church for this.

      Also, one can see an administrative charitable arm in Gregory’s Rome as he responsibly becomes the government and develops a welfare program.

      If the First Things Party of Catholicism wants to end welfare, the roadmap has been laid out before it. It has to have something in place to replace it. First.

    • Clare Krishan

      Caveat: in Greek Luke’s “ὁ ἔχων δύο χιτῶνας μεταδότω τῷ μὴ ἔχοντι” doesn’t mean “your 2nd cloak belongs to your neighbor”

      “metadotou” means something like split-gift with the “no-ekhonti” or non-kitted-out ones (an anagram coincidentally of the word for cloak — χιτών khiton — the “kitted-out” one, hence Latin ‘tunic,’ Arabic ‘tiraz’*). Note St. Martin’s heroic generosity wasn’t that he shared the ‘ownership’ of his cloak with a naked indigent but that he risked his whole livelihood by cutting the uniform that belonged to the Roman Empire in half – an offense that would have meant he would have been fired from his privileged position of honor, and become an outcast despised and detested as a beggar himself. His gift was totally self-emptying not merely “divide by two” sharing…

      * In ancient civilizations where taxes could be paid in kind, cloth was ‘owned’ by the state-potentate and he would gift woven garments to his liege lords and bureaucrats, a custom Islamic cultures continued with fine tiraz textiles (tagged with “Property of the Sultan” on the selvedge edge rather like our penitentiary uniforms or hospital gowns do today) as this presentation by Jochen A. Sokoly, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar illustrates (at 1:00 hr in, courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
      Material goods were tokens signifying the great grace of their creator-benefactors. Indeed anything we have, our talents and skills and the goods we acquire thereby, is gift, a grace that was freely given by God, pro bono communis for the common good of all his precious children including the unborn. Do we share out kit with all naked un-kitted out ones, or only those we wish to see?

  • SatelOb

    Those figures look pretty suspicious. Citation Needed. Or better yet: Figures made up out of the air are useless, so just take it down.

    Not to mention, is the implication that I should be more pissed off at corporations than the government? The government has far more direct power over us and they sure do abuse it. Not really a big fan of corporations, but it’s clear that the government is worse because it wields more power.

    • Dan C

      This is not true. That the power one wields indicates error and culpability is not true. Populist appeal in America (and not other countries) tends to this.

      This is not the thinking process of any of the social encyclicals.

    • Andy

      I think an examination of how our laws come to be would show you that corporations have far greater control over what happens to us through the government, then the government alone. It is called money talks.

  • Andy

    Regardless of the source for the above chart- from Archbishop Chaput – I guess he is not ritually impure, nor is he known to be soft on capitalism – I copied these excerpts from Whispers in the Loggia from his keynote Vatican-organized Mexico City conference on Guadalupe, the New Evangelization, and the Continental Mission declared by the now-Pope Francis

    Archbishop Chaput said: “Poverty is an acid that destroys human
    kinship. It burns away the bonds of mutual love and obligation that make
    individuals into a community. The United States is the richest, most
    powerful nation in history. But one in every six persons in my country
    now lives below the poverty line. And poverty always, inevitably comes with a family of other ugly issues: hunger, homelessness, street crime, domestic violence, unemployment, human trafficking.

    All of these evils now belong to the shadow side of both urban and rural life in my country. They eat away at our sense of justice. They undermine the integrity of our public discourse. The trouble is that the economy of the United States still
    succeeds so well for so many of its people that the poor become invisible. And being invisible, they can be ignored.”

    I would add to being ignored, they are easy to vilify because they have no advocates, as they can’t afford them. I look at some of the comments made
    about the poor on Catholic websites and I am shocked by their lack of human
    compassion let alone civility. Poverty and our disdain for those who live in poverty, and our worship of our own comforts, has eaten away at our ability to see the humanity in others, it is an acid as the Archbishop says. I would only question if the economy really works that well for so many of us, or if we are living on borrowed time, so to speak.

    He also said: “Real human development takes more – much more – than better science, better management and better consumer goods, though all these things are wonderful in their place. Human happiness can’t be separated from the human thirst for meaning. Material things can’t provide that
    meaning. Abundance can murder thesoul as easily as scarcity can. It’s just a different kind of poverty.”

    Our fascination with the cult of the manager as being the solver of all problems, that latest and greatest and more science, and that more money is better, is as I read this replaced our concern of others and meaning. Meaning – the ultimate question of why am I here is hard to answer when one has to only buy an object to find a sense of satisfaction – of course this satisfaction slips away so quickly. I see in many an empty stare, myself included, that comes about when I look for a way toignore what my greed, our greed is doing.

    Further he says: “And like material poverty, moral poverty has consequences. It
    brings fear of new life, a turning away from children, confused sexuality and
    broken marriages. It results in greed, depression, ugliness and aggression in our popular culture, and laws without grounding in truth.”

    I think the above speaks for itself. I would recommend reading the entire
    address – it was powerful, and seems to be the Archbishop’s way of moving
    towards a view of evangelization in line with Pope Francis, a focus on what
    poverty causes and that we must reach out to those who live in poverty.

    • Dan C

      I read that this weekend on First Things. It was very good and a substantially different tone than anything else he has written thus far.

      I would hesitate to consider that when we speak of, as Christians “much more than material wealth” is needed, we should be understand this as “much more than mere wealth” or material needs are required. Then I have absolutely nothing to argue about with the speaker.

      I would hesitate also to reject the role of the manager. In Pope Gregory’s Rome, he developed an intense adminsitrative structure in which there is developed the role of the manager. It overlapped as the a feature called the diaconnia that also named the building of a parish in which a modestly sophisticated welfare enterprise evolved.

      • Dan C

        As far as the execution of a task, I have decided that the performance of tasks done well is a virtue lost today. So, I do expect competence and expertise with the delivery of charity and welfare.

        • Andy

          I am trying to respond to both, while advising grad students on the thesis – please forgive my disjointed response

          I am not rejecting the manager, I am suggesting that we have a cult of the manager – we look to someone else to solve a problem, to be the leader instead of looking to ourselves. I expect competence in activities , but I know that competence must be learned and that it is learned by doing. I agree that doing one’s job well is a virtue that is lost today – we value expediency and rapidity instead of thoughtfulness and diligence leading to lasting results.

          When I read this I wondered if this was the same Archbishop who seems so removed from the people at times. I agree with your comment about wealth, it is my belief that we now view wealth as the end-all and be-all. We have moved away from valuing our fellow travelers on this world and it in these relationships we find the missing wealth.

  • Clare Krishan

    It is perhaps unfortunate that the polemical “make” can be misunderstood in many ways. The numerical metric used to measure the “making” is in itself not static, for the Fed is the one who “makes” dollars. Their purchasing power is “made” by those who attempt to use them in exchange for something else in a free-will bargaining over price. Some ‘earn’ income actively via their own labor exertions for which they are remunerated by an employer or benefactor (creative artists exchange the value of the works they sell not the value of their labor time it took to create the work, they don’t “make” the value, their patron esteems it). Some others earn income passively from the assets they invest to “make” returns via computer-aided trading on global stock exchanges, futures exchanges and associated shadow banking rehypothecations of these same assets. The “makers” of what we call ‘money’ are the ones who control what the value of the circulating currency is worth. That would be the central bankers who bail out their client banks using…. nothing real, just a computer-data entry in their electronic accounts. They “make” it up as they go along… pumping currency units into the world’s economy that dilute the purchasing value of those already in use, “made” and exchanged as income by previous banking transactions. This inflationary activity is called seignorage and it is completely undemocratic. Senora Janet Yellen will be in charge of the “making” of new monies – to the tune of $85 billion a month – next year when Senor Ben Bernanke steps down as Chairman of “making” dollar money.

    • Clare Krishan

      incidentally the “you pay” is equally polemical.

      Currently all taxes don’t cover all outlays. Your children will be left “paying” our deficits. Meanwhile the salaried stewards of large corporations have pocketed their bonuses in tax-sheltered off-shore accounts to “make” more money from the bailout monies our grandchildren children may still be left paying for (retirees’ Medicare is paid for by payroll-withholding of current workers not from “savings” of past workers, that went to pay pensions then). Note the costs of waging World War II have not all been incurred yet – expenses for current VA benefits to geriatric soldiers is ongoing. Same for Korean war, Vietnam war, Iraq, Afghanistan. The DOD is different line item on the budget from the VA.

      Time flows in reverse as all ideological dictats based on “futuribles” – Marxist or Keynsian – do. Extraction is practised by the mafia in the same way: “Fate can be cruel taskmaster, cough up the goods now and we’ll ensure you avert disaster later”

      • Jon W

        Your children will be left “paying” our deficits.

        Hey, what’s up with the argument that we can just carry debt perpetually, and the only real worry is our ability to service that debt? I mean, I know that eventually people (our own, China, et al) will stop loaning us money and then we’ll have to do a bit of belt tightening then, but as long as people continue to loan us money, we don’t really have to worry about how much debt is actually on the books.

        • Clare Krishan

          I didn’t make a distinction between the two, did I? I simply corrected the incomplete logic of the rhetorical expression “you pay” since that payment didn’t clear due to insufficient funds. Fact: part of any tax withheld is shaved off as an interest payment to cover past insufficient taxes. That’s detrimental to all the data on the chart: they would have to be redacted downwards for the sum lost to our creditors using a parenthetical expression perhaps for the share of the new debtor-sum incurred per taxpayer expressing the resulting increase in interest payment thereby occasioned, perhaps with footnoted by an asterisk “subject to change” depending on the price of borrowed funds determined by the Fed.)

          So you see its not the “economy” per se that needs the QE funds that are flooding the markets with cheap money, its the government… if the Fed tapers, it will scupper the fiscal budget and the whole house of cards will come tumbling down…

          • Jon W

            Sorry, Clare. Just to be clear: I wasn’t in any way criticizing you. You just seem knowledgeable, and I wanted to know what you thought. (I will read your posts more carefully tomorrow. My areas of expertise are theology, philosophy, English, and physics. Economic and tax jargon takes me a long time to process.)

            • Clare Krishan

              O criticize me do – if there’s a hole in my argument I’d be more than glad to be able to relax the anxiety I’m feeling about the situation we find ourselves in. Paying interest on past-due interest can’t be part of the natural law, surely?

  • Elmwood

    Wow! Subsidies suck.