Pope Francis has condemned the "idolatry of big businesses" and the global economy for high levels of unemployment, but offered hope to people struggling to find jobs during a recent trip to one of Italy's poorest regions.
"It's easy to say 'don't lose hope,''' the leader of the Roman Catholic Church told close to 20,000 employed and unemployed workers in Sardinia's capital in Cagliari, Vatican Radio reported. "But to all of you who have work, and to those who don't, let me tell you: Don't let yourselves be robbed of hope.''
Daniel Webster famously observed that, "The power to tax is the power to destroy." We often see arguments over taxes framed as conflicts between the compassionate and the miserly. If you care about the poor, we are told, you will support higher taxes to provide them with better services. Any cautions about taxation are often dismissed as selfishness, stinginess or even greed.
But who is really victimized when the power to tax is abused or mismanaged? The Washington Post recently ran a series of articles exposing years of extensive incompetence and abuse in the collection of property taxes which put thousands of Washington, DC residents into potential foreclosure for owing as little as $150 in back taxes. According to the Post:
Since 2007, the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue put nearly 1,900 owners at risk of foreclosure by imposing liens on their properties and then erroneously selling them to investors at public auctions. The sales have stunned property owners across the city - many of them elderly and poor - who have scrambled to attend court hearings and plead with city officials to clear their names. more >>
President Barack Obama was criticized for delivering a highly partisan Monday speech on the economy while the nation was gripped by a shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., that left 12 dead. His speech had two main points that appear contradictory: (1) The economy is doing well. And, (2) It is the Republican's fault that the economy is not doing well.
The speech marking the five year anniversary of the beginning of the financial crisis was delayed until after noon due to the Navy Yard shooting. The Navy Yard and surrounding areas were still under investigation by law enforcement authorities as the speech began, and there were reports at the time that there may have been an accomplice.
He began by praising the courage of the first responders and sending his thoughts and prayers to those "who've been touched by this tragedy." more >>
Focus on the Family will be cutting additional staff this year, keeping with a recent trend found with the Colorado-based pro-family organization.
Monica Schleicher, director of public relations for the Colorado Springs ministry, told The Christian Post that part of the cuts were due to a new business partnership.
"We've…decided to partner with the Ambassador Advertising Agency to syndicate and distribute Focus radio products. This impacts our in-house agency, Briargate Media, and as of Oct. 1, 2013, Briargate will no longer distribute Focus radio products," said Schleicher. more >>
Income inequality has been expanding, with almost all, 95 percent, of the income gains going to the top one percent in income during President Barack Obama's first term, 2009 to 2012, according to a new report by University of California at Berkeley researcher Emmanuel Saez.
Average income grew 6 percent, with most of those gains, 4.6 percent, in the last two years, 2011 to 2012. Those gains, though, "were very uneven," wrote Saez, professor of economics and director of the Center for Equitable Growth. The top one percent in income grew 31.4 percent while the bottom 99 percent grew only 0.4 percent. "Hence, the top 1% captured 95% of the income gains in the first three years of the recovery."
For comparison, Saez says that income inequality is at it highest level since the 1920's, just before the Great Depression. more >>
There are times in history when God, in His providence, allows people to see in full view the pivoting of history. Patriots assembling in Philadelphia experienced it on July 4, 1776. Navy sailors looking to the westward skies saw it on December 7, 1941. Families listening to their radios heard it on November 22, 1963.
In an instant – the signing of a document, the dropping of a bomb or the firing of a gun – the world suddenly and irreversibly changes. Yet no event in American history quite compares to the morning of September 11, 2001.
Buildings that scraped the floors of heaven crumbled. Planes carrying businessmen, grandmothers, and children plummeted. For thousands, life and all its promises and possibilities ended – some in an instant, others while saving strangers, running up stairs or storming cockpits. more >>