I really don’t like Pope Francis. Some popes have been positive, world-historical figures, like John Paul II. Others have been clueless tag-alongs with the intellectual fashions of their time. I am afraid that Francis falls into the latter category. His hostility toward free enterprise is the fruit of ignorance, not holiness. His best defense is that as a citizen of Argentina, he has no experience of the benefits of free enterprise. But as the leader of a world-wide church, he is obliged to inform himself before he pontificates.
A reader passes along this graph, from EconLog, which plots on the horizontal axis a person’s position in his own country’s income distribution, and on the vertical axis, a person’s position in global income distribution, as of 2008. The poorest Americans (points 1 or 2 on the horizontal axis) have incomes that put them above the 50th percentile worldwide. Note that 12% of the richest Americans belong to the global top 1%:
Any sane person would look at this chart and say that other countries should emulate the U.S. It would be interesting to see the same graph updated, with values for some of the countries that have bypassed the U.S. in economic freedom during the Obama administration. Still, the basic point is inescapable. Our reader comments on the American left’s enthusiasm for Pope Francis’s redistributionist ethic:
Any American household with income at about $125,000 is at around the 88th percentile in the U.S. — and in the 99th percentile, the 1%, globally. Essentially NO American household has income below the global 55th percentile and virtually NO household in India has income above about the 10th percentile of U.S. income. And we’re not even looking at places like Bangladesh or almost anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa, truly desperate places.
So where does the American left, hypocritically praising the Pope’s misguided encyclical, THINK the redistribution is going to?…..and from whom, comrade, is it to be redistributed?
Unless you are rich, enthusiasm for redistribution will almost certainly dissipate when it turns out that it is your money that is to be redistributed.