Dear Pope Francis: Stay out of politics
Pope Francis has bad polls, especially from people who don't understand why His Holiness sounds like a Latin American leftist.
According to Leslie Eastman, Pope Francis is having a hard time selling his message to people in the U.S.:
Despite the fact that poll numbers are tanking so badly for Hillary Clinton that there is a new movement to draft Joe Biden, it turns out she has some competition for biggest drop in favorability!
New numbers from Gallop for Pope Francis show a significant drop in support for the pontiff. The favorability rating is now at 59%, down from 76% in early 2014.
… The drop in the pope’s favorable rating is driven by a decline among Catholics and political conservatives, two groups that have been ardent supporters of the modern papacy. Seventy-one percent of Catholics say they have a favorable image of Francis, down from 89% last year.
Pope Francis’ drop in favorability is even starker among Americans who identify as conservative — 45% of whom view him favorably, down sharply from 72% last year. This decline may be attributable to the pope’s denouncing of “the idolatry of money” and linking climate change partially to human activity, along with his passionate focus on income inequality — all issues that are at odds with many conservatives’ beliefs.
Why the plunge? As an independent conservative who is also Catholic, I must admit I am none too thrilled at the attacks on capitalism as a “structurally perverse” global economic system. I assert that these remarks that are too political and secular for a man who should be focused on more spiritual matters.
It's wonderful, and, I would argue, necessary for Pope Francis to remind us that there are pockets of poverty all over the world.
At the same time, Pope Francis is shooting at the wrong target.
We do not have too much capitalism in the Third World. On the contrary, we have a bad case of "crony capitalism," or the corrupt relationship that develops between elected leaders and big businessmen in places like Brazil and Argentina.
This is not capitalism. It is crony capitalism, or something totally different.
Pope Francis should say something different, such as the message that Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto has been writing about:
De Soto tells these heads of state that their poor citizens are lacking formal legal title to their property and are unable to use their assets as collateral. They cannot get bank loans to expand their businesses or improve their properties. He and his colleagues calculate the amount of “dead capital” in untitled assets held by the world’s poor as “at least $9.3 trillion“—a sum that dwarfs the amount of foreign aid given to the developing world since 1945.
Hernando de Soto has truly revolutionized our understanding of the causes of wealth and poverty. While many scholars have pointed to and explained the importance of property rights to rising living standards, de Soto has asked the hard question of what it takes to get the state to recognize the property rights that function within the communities of the poor. Can they transform the mere physical “extralegal” control of assets into capital, a key to sustained economic development?
De Soto affirmed that they can attain legal status and developed a guide to the “capitalization process” for poor countries. In his activism and in his books The Other Path and The Mystery of Capital, Hernando de Soto has done much more than apply the lessons of economics to old problems; he has asked new questions and provided both new understanding and new hope for transforming poverty into wealth.
Like many of you, I was thrilled to hear of a Latin American pope. Unfortunately, Pope Francis seems to have more in common with Latin American secular leftists who hate the Vatican than people like me who are practicing Catholics and understand basic economics.
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