Friday, August 16, 2013

Gee, I hope the pope is a smarter Jesuit than James Martin!

A friend called my attention to USCCB Blog sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops1 on Google's dime, apparently. The most recent entry features "Three Steps to Reduce Income Disparities," supposedly personal advice that is assinine as only a cleric can write. This one claims to know something about the economy.

Here is the personal prescription "to reduce income disparities": 1) Educate yourself; 2) Pay a just wage. 3) Honor human dignity.

Oh, sure! I went to college and I have covered poverty for 30 years and -- shazam! -- income disparities were reduced. Not!

As to paying just wages, the pay of the 243 million U.S. workers in this country, is set by roughly 27 million people (11 percent of the workforce) in the U.S. economy who actually control wages and salaries2. In other words, item number 2 can only be put into practice by about 1 in 10 people.

Lastly, there's the matter of "honor" for "human dignity." I swear I hold human dignity in high regard; in fact, last I checked I was human myself. Which worker's wage just went up and which Fortune 500 CEO saw his pay sliced down to human scale because I said I honor human dignity? Well, speak up, I can't hear you.

So zero, zero and, to be different, nought.

Now if the author of these practical hints for making income less unequal was, say, the good Father Joe O'Brien, an imaginary but proverbial classic Irish-American parish priest who can't tell Keynes from Friedman, OK, I'd give him a pass. Priests don't know spit about money (except how to cajole for it) and bishops think that good management is saving string.

But no, Father James Martin, SJ, takes the time to brag that " I worked for six years at General Electric in their finance department. Before that, I studied at the Wharton School of Business, where I majored in finance, which also meant taking courses in accounting, management, securities, bonds and real estate."

Then he has the gall to write: "Why am I telling you this? Not to brag, but to establish a bit of bona fides when it come to talking about the economy, about business and about work on this Labor Day."

Really? Wharton does not teach enough about the economy that a graduate can't tell that these three pieces of "advice" are, to be polite, smellier that taurine excrement?

And, hey, he has that SJ for "Society of Jesus" (aka the Jesuits) after his name. The Jesuits are supposed to be smart. You sure he's not a Dominican or Franciscan or ... gasp! ... a lowly diocesan priest?

1. Truth in labelling: I was an employee from very, very long ago.
2. Truth in labelling, again: I am an employer and I do decide wages and salaries.