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Posts Tagged ‘welfare state’

Pope Francis: Liberation Theologian

Posted by M. C. on February 8, 2020

Others were traditional welfare state redistributionists. Bergoglio was among this group.

Since then, the percentage of world’s poor has been reduced to under 10%. The Bookings Institution, a Keynesian, middle-of-the-road think tank, recently announced this.

This is what the present world economy is delivering. But the Pope doesn’t see it this way. He thinks the world needs a new taxation system and a new ethic.

This week, the Pope called for international economic redistribution. I have reprinted his speech here.

Gary North

Pope Francis is a liberation theologian.

Liberation theology was popular with a hard core of far-Left Catholic priests in Latin America from the mid-1960’s until December 25, 1991. A few of them were outright Marxists. They believed in armed revolution against the state. The Pope, then Father Bergoglio, , criticized this interpretation of Christianity.

Others were traditional welfare state redistributionists. Bergoglio was among this group. With the disintegration of the Soviet economy in the late 1980’s, followed by Gorbachev’s announcement of the suicide of the USSR on December 25, 1991, liberation theology ceased to be the latest and the greatest. It became passé overnight. It began to fade.

Bergoglio was the head of the Jesuit order in Argentina in the mid-1970’s. A decade earlier, the Jesuits had been a formidable force for theological conservatism within the Catholic Church. Then, within ten years, the Jesuits moved to the left theologically and politically. They abandoned four centuries of tradition in a decade. The story of this astounding transformation is recorded in Malachi Martin’s book, The Jesuits: The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church (1987). Martin was appalled by the change. In contrast, Garry Wills applauded it in his book, Bare Ruined Choirs: Doubt, Prophecy, and Radical Religion (1972), which I reviewed in The Wall Street Journal.

From the foundation of the Jesuits in the mid-16th century until about 1965, the Jesuit order had been militant in its defense of the papacy. Pope Paul VI (1963-78) radicalized the Jesuits. He was the most theologically liberal Pope in history. He was also the most radical in terms of his social views. Pope Francis is extending his legacy after a four-decade gap. His predecessor, Benedict XVI, was the most conservative Pope since Pius XII, who died in 1958. That was a gap of almost five decades. He was a staunch opponent of liberation theology. The magnitude of this change is conveyed in the new Netflix movie, The Two Popes. The dialogue is fictional, but the theological confrontation was real. To get some idea of the change, imagine Calvin Coolidge deciding that the best person to follow him as President would be Franklin Roosevelt.


This week, the Pope called for international economic redistribution. I have reprinted his speech here.

Last June, the Vatican posted his statement on the need to care for the poor. In that statement, he did not mention the need for state action. I have posted it here. In terms of traditional Catholic views on voluntary charity, there was nothing new in the presentation from a theological standpoint. But his language and his rhetoric was clearly that of liberation theology.

We can build any number of walls and close our doors in the vain effort to feel secure in our wealth, at the expense of those left outside. It will not be that way for ever. The “day of the Lord”, as described by the prophets (cf. Am 5:18; Is 2-5; Jl 1-3), will destroy the barriers created between nations and replace the arrogance of the few with the solidarity of many. The marginalization painfully experienced by millions of persons cannot go on for long. Their cry is growing louder and embraces the entire earth. In the words of Father Primo Mazzolari: “the poor are a constant protest against our injustices; the poor are a powder keg. If it is set on fire, the world will explode”.

This statement was issued to promote the Church’s World Day of the Poor: November 17. Why his statement was published five months early, I do not know.

His latest declaration reveals his commitment to a non-Marxist, meaning non-revolutionary, form of liberation theology. It is also consistent with what is sometimes called the new social gospel, best represented in the United States by political activist Jim Wallis. I devote a department to his theology and his tax-exempt political mobilization. It is here. The Pope has a lot more followers than Jim Wallis does. But his rhetoric is the same.

Structures of sin today include repeated tax cuts for the richest people, often justified in the name of investment and development; tax havens for private and corporate profits; and, of course, the possibility of corruption by some of the world’s largest corporations, not infrequently in line with some ruling political sector.Every year hundreds of billions of dollars, which should be paid in taxes to finance health care and education, accumulate in tax haven accounts, thus preventing the possibility of dignified and sustained development for all social actors.

Impoverished people in heavily indebted countries are suffering from overwhelming tax burdens and cuts in social services as their governments pay off insensitive and unsustainable debts. In fact, public debt incurred, in not a few cases to promote and encourage a country’s economic and productive development, can become a factor that damages and harms the social fabric. When it ends up being directed towards another purpose.


One of the most astounding facts of the last two decades is the dramatic reduction in life-threatening poverty around the world. Nothing like this has ever taken place in man’s history. It is becoming a well-known phenomenon because of the remarkable 2007 TED talk video by Swedish statistician Hans Rosling.

Since then, the percentage of world’s poor has been reduced to under 10%. The Bookings Institution, a Keynesian, middle-of-the-road think tank, recently announced this.

Looking at poverty trends worldwide, World Data Lab now estimates that on New Year’s Day 2019, just under 600 million people across the world (excluding Syria) will live in extreme poverty. By 2030, this figure is expected to fall to some 436 million.The good news is that 2019 will start with the lowest prevalence of extreme poverty ever recorded in human history—less than 8 percent. In all likelihood, this level will set the “ceiling” for a new era of even lower single-digit global poverty rates for the foreseeable future.

This is what the present world economy is delivering. But the Pope doesn’t see it this way. He thinks the world needs a new taxation system and a new ethic.

You, who have so kindly gathered here, are the world’s financial leaders and economic specialists. Together with your colleagues, you help set global tax rules, inform the global public about our economic condition, and advise the world’s governments on budgets. They know first-hand what the injustices of our current global economy are, or the injustices of individual countries.Let us work together to end these injustices. When the multilateral credit agencies advise the different nations, it is important to take into account the high concepts of fiscal justice, responsible public budgets in their indebtedness and, above all, the effective and leading promotion of the poorest in the social network. Remind them of their responsibility to provide development assistance to impoverished nations and debt relief for heavily indebted nations. Remind them of the imperative to stop man-made climate change, as all nations have promised, so that we do not destroy the foundations of our Common House.

The Pope’s mindset was formed by 1975. His worldview has not changed. His rhetoric has not changed. Meanwhile, the world is getting steadily richer. The poor are steadily getting richer.

While I don’t have a biblical passage to support the following, I recommend to Pope Francis a familiar slogan in American life: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”


For over half a century, I have been arguing that the system of property rights mandated by the commandment against theft (Exodus 20:15) and also by the Mosaic laws defending private property inevitably produce a free market society when they are widely respected by the public and defended by civil government. In turn, free market society inevitably increases per capita wealth. I have defended this position in 31 volumes of economic commentaries on the Bible. I have defended it in four volumes of detailed economic analysis.

The Pope does not believe that biblical law and biblical ethics promote a private property social order which in turn produces capitalism. The theologians in Salamanca, Spain, argued that this was the case back in the 1500’s. But the Pope either is unaware of this or does not believe what the school of Salamanca taught.

I hope that a future Pope spends his years as a priest, a bishop, and a cardinal reading and re-reading the economics books written by members of the school of Salamanca. Even better, maybe he will read my books. I can always hope. After all, I’m postmillennial.




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Socialists Want To Destroy the Family – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 30, 2019


A previous blog suggested and made some arguments that congressional policies pushed by Democrats and democratic socialists are achieving the destruction of the family. Statistics on family breakdown, drug use, divorce, single-parent families, out-of-wedlock births, struggling and poor single-parent families, higher crime and delinquency from progeny of fatherless families, and dropout levels of children of single-parent families all attest to the destruction of stable nuclear families.

One factor explaining this is the welfare state. The deterioration of families coincides with its presence and expansion.

Is this what leftists and socialists wanted and still want? Do they intend to enact legislation to destroy the family? Or are they mistaken in thinking that their legislation helps people and in overlooking the actual effects? Or are both intent and blind ignorance operating together?

Motivations are a more difficult thing to ascertain, hidden as they are. One source is what the socialist intelligentsia say. A first example of socialist thinking is the article “Love and Socialism” (Feb. 13, 2018). It’s explicit:

“The end of the family as a social and economic unit will form the basis of free love, where people will be able to enter and exit relationships at their will and without fear of economic consequences. It will form the basis of equality between men and women, and remove the structural imperative of gender roles. It will open society up for love as expansive comradeship rather than as private possession.”

Even as the welfare state destroys the family, an alternative philosophy of free love is on the rise to replace it. Lew Rockwell has a 1998 article on this subject, and he refers to the pathbreaking work by Mises titled “Socialism”:

“Proposals to transform the relations between the sexes have long gone hand in hand with plans for the socialization of the means of production. Marriage is to disappear along with private property…Socialism promises not only welfare-wealth for all-but universal happiness in love as well.”

Trotsky, a major communist/socialist, had this to say in 1937 in his book Revolution Betrayed:

“The revolution made a heroic effort to destroy the so-called ‘family hearth’ — that archaic, stuffy and stagnant institution in which the woman of the toiling classes performs galley labor from childhood to death. The place of the family as a shut-in petty enterprise was to be occupied, according to the plans, by a finished system of social care and accommodation: maternity houses, creches, kindergartens, schools, social dining rooms, social laundries, first-aid stations, hospitals, sanatoria, athletic organizations, moving-picture theaters, etc. The complete absorption of the housekeeping functions of the family by institutions of the socialist society, uniting all generations in solidarity and mutual aid, was to bring to woman, and thereby to the loving couple, a real liberation from the thousand-year-old fetters.”

What this means is that the state controls the raising of children through social institutions. The family becomes an empty shell….

Socialism 2019, a conference of radical socialists had an anti-family panel:

“Transgenderism, gender nonconformity, and abolishing traditional family structures were huge issues at Socialism 2019.

“One panel, ‘Social Reproduction Theory and Gender Liberation,’ addressed how the traditional family structure reinforced capitalism and contended that the answer was to simply abolish families.

“Corrie Westing, a self-described ‘queer socialist feminist activist based in Chicago working as a home-birth midwife,’ argued that traditional family structures propped up oppression and that the modern transgender movement plays a critical part in achieving true ‘reproductive justice.’”

The conclusion is warranted that socialist philosophy, expressed by socialist intellectuals, aims to destroy the traditional family. When the welfare state causes family deterioration and amplifies the role of the state, far from this bothering these thinkers, they understand it as helping to achieve their goal.

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FALSE: Hillary Clinton Said the Role of the State Is to ...






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The Biggest Danger of Uncontrolled Immigration – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 16, 2019


The extent of our economic freedom and the defense of our property rights are the key factors in our accumulation of wealth (goods and services) and a rise in our standard of living via the division of labor. But economic freedom and property rights depend critically on our laws and institutions, that is, the kind of government we have.

There is no question that we’ve moved away from the good laws and institutions that promote capitalism and embarked instead on a course of bad laws and institutions that promote socialism. This is why over a period of decades our living standards have not grown as much as they could have, and why some large portions of Americans can’t seem to get ahead, drop out of the labor force, live on welfare or even live on the streets.

Immigration is good for a country under two conditions. First, the country has the good laws and institutions that protect economic freedom and property rights. Second, the immigrants assimilate to the good laws and do not change them for the worse.

The socialist aspects of our current system are its bad laws. Immigrants don’t do Americans any good if they burden those parts of our system that offer “free” or subsidized goods and services. We cannot have a welfare state and allow unlimited immigration. Too many immigrants will opt for the free benefits. The wealth transfer is a tax upon working taxpayers. This amounts to greater socialism and economic retardation.

In order to benefit from immigration, as we have in our pre-1930s past when the welfare state and socialist regulatory laws were minimal, we need to get rid of these bad laws and institutions. This being unlikely at present, immigration becomes a worse and worse problem. It must be stopped, but stopping it requires a wall and police state measures. As George Reisman notes, the welfare state becomes a police state with unlimited immigration.

Then there is the second condition, which is that immigrants assimilate to our laws and institutions if they are the good laws supportive of and consistent with capitalism, private property rights and economic freedom. If they assimilate to what we have in our country today, this means adopting and supporting a system that has large socialist elements. This is definitely undesirable in terms of promoting the growth of wealth. We do not want to teach immigrants that American prosperity owes to our panoply of socialist interventions.

Worse yet, there are conflicting sentiments among immigrants to contend with. Some or many come because they want to work, educate themselves and get ahead in ways they couldn’t where they came from. But some or many also bring with them sentiments and political attitudes of their mother countries that they’ve imbibed and do not realize are contradictory to economic freedom and private property rights. Once within the bosom of our system with its socialist elements, they are likely to fall right in line with them, thinking they are being true Americans in supporting laws like Obamacare, Medicare for All, or other socialist laws and administrations…

Although the Republican party has been no stranger to socialist legislation, such as extending Medicare to prescription benefits, the Democrats are worse. They typically propose the socialist extensions and campaign for them for years on end until they become law.

The biggest danger of uncontrolled or unlimited immigration is that it shifts American politics even more greatly toward socialism.

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La-Raza-Founder (1)

…from the USA




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The Welfare State is Tearing Sweden Apart | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on May 28, 2019

Forced associations, such as outright invasion and conquest, will fuel embitterment and conflicts along cultural/ethnic lines and maybe even usher in the rebirth of old conflicts. The welfare state is another type of attack vector in the a matrix of forced associations. It merely has different particular properties. The end result is the same: people that do not wish to tango are forced to jot each other down for the next dance.

Swedes do not toil under a Communist yoke. We are thankfully a market oriented society, and particularly in rural areas, Swedes are ruggedly individualistic and responsible citizens. But we do have an enormous welfare state with which to contend — and it poisons our nation much in the same manner that full blown communism would; if perhaps not to the same degree. Doubtlessly; it sets the stage for some rather dystopian developments, both in terms of its steady consumption of productive capabilities — but also in its toxic effects on our culture. On top of this, Sweden has accepted a considerable amount of immigrants (to put it mildly) from cultures that differ wildly from the Swedish. In this text I will take a look at the welfare state through the prism of Sweden’s current multicultural challenge.

First and foremost, is multiculturalism a good thing? When multiculturalism emerges through voluntary interactions it is apparently valuable — otherwise it would not occur in a free society as it so often does. Again: in the marketplace there is, over time, the beautiful possibility that the identity of the tribe expands by including, assimilating and adapting to previously unknown things. Adaptation and cultural appropriation by means of voluntary associations cannot be a bad thing! But in such a situation; isn’t multiculturalism a misnomer? I would rather call it an emergent convergence towards a shared culture, in a pace that participants set. All in all: a desirable thing, especially compared to the alternatives.

Forced multiculturalism, on the other hand, increases polarisation and tribalism along the most basic, and most easily recognised dividing lines. In times of flux; easily distinguishable traits tend to become elevated and adored, uplifted to a place of high honour. They become a substitute for truly shared cultural values and norms, which under healthy circumstances are necessary for cooperation. In times of rapid and involuntary change; they become a superficial false bulwark against the unknown. Instead of engaging in market opportunities across divides, we tend to spend time fortifying our positions. Craving security, we start leaning towards the totalitarianism of simplistic purism.

Forced associations, such as outright invasion and conquest, will fuel embitterment and conflicts along cultural/ethnic lines and maybe even usher in the rebirth of old conflicts. The welfare state is another type of attack vector in the a matrix of forced associations. It merely has different particular properties. The end result is the same: people that do not wish to tango are forced to jot each other down for the next dance.

Spontaneously emergent cultural change through win-win situations on the one hand, and forced associations on the other, are two radically different ways in which societies evolve. These mechanics often overlap in history. In any given situation it may be hard to untangle which has primacy.

When a welfare state offers upkeep and support to large quantities of people from cultures that differ enormously from the predominant culture, despite the wishes of the current residents, we have a clear cut case of forced association. It’s a powderkeg that inevitably will get packed with resentment. People who would like nothing better than for the whole thing to blow up will inevitably start to congregate, with torches at the ready. Cultural homogeneity to some degree smooths over and props up the inherent fault lines that ripple underneath any redistributive scheme, while cultural heterogeneity rapidly exposes fissures. Why is this exactly?… Read the rest of this entry »

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Abolish Foreign Aid, All of It – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on April 20, 2019

If U.S. officials were honest, they would acknowledge that foreign aid is nothing more than bribery.


On the welfare-state side, the big-ticket items are Social Security and Medicare, the two crown jewels of the American welfare state. Abolishing them would go a long way toward resolving the fiscal problem.

Yet, to even suggest such a thing brings howls of lamentation, despair, and rage from both conservatives and liberals. These two socialist programs go to the core of their joint statist philosophy. They’re not about to touch either one, especially since that would alienate seniors, who unfortunately have grown dependent on the government dole.

On the warfare-state side, the big-ticket items are the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, the CIA, and the NSA, along with their foreign and domestic empire of military bases and their forever wars, occupations, regime-change operations, coups, invasions, wars of aggression, and ongoing assassination program. Dismantling America’s national-security establishment and restoring a limited-government republic to our land would go a long way toward resolving the fiscal problem.

Yet, to even suggest such a thing brings howls of lamentation, despair, and rage from both conservatives and liberals. The warfare state goes to the core of their joint statist philosophy. Moreover, there is no possibility that the national-security establishment would ever consent to its own dismantling or to even a major reduction in the amount of tax money that it expects to be allocated every year.

In the middle of this fiscal morass are a multitude of mid-sized or small-sized federal programs, such as the drug war, farm subsidies, education grants, the SBA, and Radio Martí. Abolishing all of them would go a long way toward resolving the fiscal crisis. But conservative and liberal supporters maintain that abolishing any one of them would do nothing significant to reduce overall federal spending and, therefore, they say, each and every one of them should be left intact.

So, where does that leave the nation?

Think Greece. At some point, things could get pretty nasty, with the feds desperately looking everywhere they can to seize money, such as IRA accounts and 401k accounts, and replace them with government bonds, much like President Franklin Roosevelt did during the emergency economic crisis in the 1930s when he seized everyone’s gold and replaced it with government bonds.

But here’s an idea: Why not abolish foreign aid, all foreign aid?

After all, foreign aid is really nothing more than welfare for foreign officials. Like other welfare-state programs, it’s funded by money that the IRS extracts from American taxpayers…

If U.S. officials were honest, they would acknowledge that foreign aid is nothing more than bribery. The foreign aid is never “free.” It comes with strings. The strings say: Do as we say or you will lose your dole. So, when the U.S. government needs votes in the United Nations, international dole recipients know full well what their duty is. Or when the U.S. government needs a “coalition of the willing” to support one of its imperialist adventures, it knows that it can call on its international dole recipients. Even when the U.S. Empire is going it alone in some foreign escapade, it knows it can count on no criticism from its dole recipients, or else.

There is also a moral element to foreign aid — the fact that American tax money is being used in immoral ways, including oppression of innocent people. Two good examples of this phenomenon involve Israel and Egypt. U.S. foreign aid to Israel helps the Israeli government maintain its brutal system of oppression against the Palestine people. U.S. foreign aid to Egypt enables the Egyptian military dictatorship to maintain its brutal system of oppression against the Egyptian people…

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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment » Abolish the Welfare State to Solve the National Debt Crisis

Posted by M. C. on April 18, 2019

Richard Ebeling emails:

I have a new article on the website of the Future of Freedom Foundation (FFF) on, “Abolish the Welfare State to Solve the National Debt Crisis.”

Few things are more frustrating to the friend of freedom than the difficulty in successfully making and winning the case for liberty. But a major reason is the hesitancy or unwillingness of some declared friends of freedom to forthrightly make the case for the abolition of the interventionist-welfare state.

It is the “entitlement” programs of the welfare state that are really behind the growth in government spending and the increasing national debt of, now, over $22 trillion as a result of annual budget deficits to help fund these redistributive expenditures. Rather than politically taking the bull by the horn, too many think that they can fight the growth in government spending and the increasing national debt through fiscal subterfuge.

I take to task “supply-siders” such as Steve Moore, who argue that cutting taxes can stimulate sufficient growth in the economy that government spending and the national debt can be reduced as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product; thus, growing our way out of fiscal ruin.

I detail some of the practical problems and political impossibilities of ever hoping to solve the problem of Big Government primarily through playing around with the tax code, so as not to have to deal with the core problem head on: government should not be playing the role of political paternalist in managing and co-opting individual freedom and choice in such matters as old age and health care.

Until this is admitted and the case for abolishing the entitlement programs is forthrightly defended and argued for, the welfare state and the national debt will continue to grow.



Abolish the Welfare State to Solve the National Debt Crisis
By Richard M. Ebeling

Why is it so difficult to win the case for freedom in modern American society? A variety of possible answers come to mind. The collectivists are more effective in appealing to people’s emotions. The interventionist-welfare-statist argument is easier to make than it is to follow the logical chains of reasoning required to make the free-market case. Socialist-leaning teachers and professors who indoctrinate their students with statist ideas from a very young age dominate the government educational system from kindergarten through the Ph.D.  Popular, celebrity culture inculcates society with leftist biases and presumptions.

All those answers have strong elements of truth in them. But there is one other element at work that makes it difficult to effectively make the case for a fully and truly free society, indeed, that can undermine the ideal and understanding of the free society. That element is that too many advocates of a free society compromise its case.

Trillions more in debt on the way.

For example, let’s look at the national-debt crisis. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), in its June 2018 Long-Term Budget Outlook projected that given current trends for federal tax revenues, government expenditures under existing legislation for “entitlement” programs, and likely general economic growth over the next ten years, the national debt will continue to dramatically increase because of the return of $1 trillion-a-year budget deficits just over the horizon.

The primary source of all the federal government’s budgetary problems is the entitlement programs. In Uncle Sam’s 2018 fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2018, total government spending was $4.1 trillion. Social Security and health-care spending (Medicare and Medicaid) combined, was about $1.95 trillion. Net interest on the national debt came to $371 billion. Together these mandatory spending categories came to almost 60 percent of the federal government’s total budget. Department of Defense and other related military spending came to $601 billion, or 15 percent of Uncle Sam’s expenditures. The remaining items in the budget were those counted as part of “discretionary spending.”

The CBO projects that in ten years, in 2028, total government spending will come to $7.05 trillion, with total tax revenues of $5.52 trillion. The budget deficit a decade from now will be $1.53 trillion just for that fiscal year. The CBO forecasts that because of annual budget deficits of more than $1 trillion, by the end of the federal fiscal year for 2028, the national debt will have increased from its approximately $21.8 trillion today to $34.8 trillion, for a 60 percent increase over the decade.

The growing debt burden

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Uncle Sam's "Debt Crisis Is Coming Soon" | Zero Hedge ...

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How Countries Fall into the Welfare Trap | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on April 1, 2019

Just like war. Infrastructure crumbles while we are busy building aircraft carriers that cannot launch planes.

People like the welfare state because they suppose that it comes at no costs and provides many benefits. If people knew how much the present consumption of social benefits entails less prosperity in the future, the population would have a critical attitude towards the welfare state and politicians would have a harder time selling their fraud. Just as a society that ranks security over liberty loses both, a society that attributes a higher value to social benefits than to wealth creation ends up with neither wealth nor benefits…

Redistribution is unjust and economically irrational when it punishes those who produce. When the redistribution of income and wealth becomes excessive, the active part of the population withdraws from production and parasitism takes over, economic progress will falter und finally disappear. This way, society will impoverish, and the poor are left with less to nothing. In the end, the poor themselves will pay the steepest price of this policy because they will be the hardest hit when growth falls and the misery rise…

Without productivity gains, there is no increase in real per capita income. The labor productivity of a country determines its income level. The industrialized nations must get out of the whirlpool of welfare spending, public debt, and weak economic growth. Lifting the purchasing power of salaries requires higher productivity. Not more state control is the way to higher productivity but less regulation, less intervention, and less redistribution.

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