Distinctly Catholic

Vischer - 1; Goodstein - 0


I had been intending to comment up Laurie Goodstein's article in the NYTimes about the USCCB meeting this week, but Rob Vischer beat me to it at "Mirror of Justice," making almost all the points I wanted to make and all of which I endorse.

I would only add one point to Rob's excellent commentary. In recent memory, the first time a Catholic prelate voiced his concern about religious liberty, it had nothing to do with contraception or abortion. It was in 2006, when Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles announced on the eve of Lent that if Congress passed a law requiring Catholic social workers, teachers or hospital workers to question the legal status of immigrants, he would order all employees of the archdiocese to disobey the law. Mahony did not frame the issue in terms of religious liberty, but it is the same concern.

Super Committee: Deal Or No Deal


A front page, above the fold article in this morning’s Washington Post details the looming showdown over a deficit reduction package as the deadline for the “super committee” to strike a deal looms. Some within the ranks of the GOP are looking to strike a deal, and the only deal possible will include some kind of tax increases, while others are intent on standing firm on their “no new taxes” pledge.

“Critics say that giving any ground on taxes would violate party doctrine that has not been challenged since President George H. W. Bush broke his ‘read my lips’ as part of a 1990 budget deal,” the article states. It notes that the conservative, anti-tax group, Americans for Prosperity, has mounted a campaign targeting some forty Republicans who have signified their willingness to raise taxes in order to shrink the deficit.

More Scrutiny for Newt


In this morning's Washington Post, Dana Milbank thinks that Newt Gingrich's record contains too much in the way of moderation for his to fulfill the desires of conservatives for an alternative to Mitt Romney. I am not sure I buy that, although Milbank assembles a fair amount of evidence to support his argument.

But, the bigger problem for Gingrich was in the news section where it was reported that he was paid some $1.6 million dollars by Freddie Mac, the quasi-private government backer of mortgage loans. Unwilling to blame the lapses of the market for the economic downturn, Republicans have tried to make Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae the whipping boys.

Exit Occupy; Enter Organize


The future of the Occupy Wall Street protests remains in doubt, after a court upheld Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to evict the 24/7 encampments from lower Manhattan. Similar efforts in other cities to rein in the protests have been undertaken, most notably in Oakland, after someone was shot and killed near the protest site in that city.

The Occupy Wall Street movement should declare victory but they should not go home, if by “go home” we mean abandon the field. Their victory lay in the fact that the protests have changed the national discussion, inserting a new metaphor, the 99%, into our nation’s political discourse. They have reinserted some populist vigor into the left, reminding the country that it is not only government bureaucracy that threatens Americans’ freedom and prosperity, but the decisions and practices of the titans of the financial class. They took the Republican charge that the Democrats were engaged in class warfare and turned it on its head by pointing out that there is already some degree of class warfare going on, but only one side in that war has been fighting and winning for lo, these many years.

About Time Dept.


It is not often these days when I read that a committee in the GOP-controlled House did something I want to applaud. But their vote to limit the pay of top executives at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae gets a two thimbs up from me.

There are plenty of top executives who go to work at the Treasury Department or the Defense Department, etc., who could make much more money in the private sector. Some, perhaps, are only looking to pad the resume for a still-greater payday down the road. Call me naive, I think some undertake these challenging assignments at rates that are hugely lower than they could command in the private sector because they want to serve their country. But, whatever the motives, and most humans walk through life with mixed motives at most times, I do not doubt that these two organizations could recruit plenty of top flight executives without offering them multi-million dollar bonuses.


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In This Issue

April 21-May 4, 2017