In America, the rightful role of politics and politicians is to defend the Constitution. And the essence of that Constitution is to limit the powers of government while protecting the unalienable rights of the people as described in the Declaration of Independence.
But according to a prominent Catholic sister, Pope Francis has a very different view, one which she obviously shares. Appearing on MSNBC's Up With Steve Kornacki today, Sister Simone Campbell said that the Pope was "very clear" in his encyclical. Rather than controlling government, he believes the role of politics is to "control the economy."
When John Hart of Opportunity Lives took issue, saying that controlling the economy sets us down a dangerous path toward redistribution, socialism and shared misery, Campbell denied that the Pope is advocating central planning or socialism. She said that he advocates measures to limit economic disparity, citing Glass-Steagall as an example of ways to "manage markets" that have been effective and need to be reinstituted.
Her denial notwithstanding, it certainly sounds as if Campbell and the Pope favor much more intrusive government control of the economy. The irony of course is that free market capitalism has been the single greatest engine to lift people out of poverty. The very interference in the economy she advocates would condemn many more people to a life of want.
Note: Campbell was a speaker at the 2012 Dem convention. In past years she lobbied for Obamacare and against Paul Ryan's budget.
SISTER SIMONE CAMPBELL: Pope Francis in the encyclical is extremely clear that the role of politics is to control the economy. And the only way we'll have an economy of inclusion is if politics provides an appropriate bound on the free market capitalism. He also says that all of creation has, what we believe in private ownership has a mortgage, a social mortgage to be used for the common good.
Now, that teaching is challenging for liberals and conservatives, because what it means is the focus of our work has got to be to address the issues of disparity, address this crisis of exploitation which is both a conservative and liberal issue. We've got to make change and make sure that all are included in the economy, but politics at the heart of it has got to be controlling the economy. That is a big change for our nation.
. . .
JOHN HART: I would take issue with the fact that politics should, quote, control the economy. Because that sets us down a very dangerous path towards a redistribution system, the dark side of socialism which is shared misery. And so I would take great issue with some of the Pope's economic ideas. And I don't think the job of politics is to control. It's to create a process by which those differences can be resolved peacefully.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Well let's, Sister Simone, you respond.
CAMPBELL: Oh yes, because I think we think of control as -- the only way we think of it is as this centrally controlled economy. That's not what he's talking about. What he's talking about is appropriate measures that limit the huge economic disparity that we currently have. Currently congress is pretty stalemated in a politics that is crippled, partially because of private money in politics. So what he's calling us to do is to say the role of politicians -- he's very clear on this -- is a noble occupation and what we need to do is offset the excesses in our economic systems, the excesses of exploitation. That's not a centrally planned economy, it's not socialism. It's offsetting excesses and that's things like Glass Steagall or the other ways of managing markets that have been effective in the past that need to be reinstituted.