Poverty is a Choice


A recent study found that Americans collectively owe over one trillion dollars in car debt. Couple this with the one trillion dollars in student loan debt, and it is little wonder that most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Many of us cannot possibly get ahead financially because we have borrowed our way into debt slavery.

Now this blog is not financial in nature, but our astronomical debt is a national problem. The amount of Americans who are barely scraping by present a wonderful pretext for big government to swoop in and save the day. There’s no denying that Americans have a terrible financial problem, and government could not be happier about this. Where there is a problem, there will always be government attempting to “solve” it by increasing their scope and size. Poor financial decisions by the average American are one of the major causes of our immoral behemoth-government.

There is also another angle which must be discussed here. How often do we hear complaints about the rich and wealthy oppressing the poor? How often do we hear that the little man cannot get ahead due to structural flaws in the American economy? How many lame and pitiful excuses do we hear attempting to justify able-bodied Americans living in a state of poverty?

Gobbledygook and bafflegab, says this writer. Poverty in America is a choice. If one is able-bodied, there is work. And ya know, work is a great place to go when you’re broke.

So stop this nonsense, America. Stop borrowing your way into oblivion. Stop giving pretext to socialism. Stop complaining about the most economically dynamic country in the entire history of the world. Make a budget, get on a plan, pay off your debt, save an emergency fund, save for retirement, build wealth, and most importantly, give. Personal finance is about you–stop making it about the government. Reckless financial behavior is seriously damaging our nation, and it is high time we get our ducks in a row.

Poverty is a choice, and we have got to stop choosing it.


75 thoughts on “Poverty is a Choice

  1. Government entitlements have created this kind of poverty It isn’t necessary to have a job or need one, when someone else will pay for your lifestyle. Why work? And no one seems to care, Poverty is needed for politicians to get their votes for freebies so they can continue to spread until the government is broke, and everyone will suffer in one way or another. The worst thing is that no one tells the truth about what is coming. Real poverty is not the same as one’s own self induced poverty. Lila K.

    1. You’re right. Ronald Reagan said that government entitlement programs are the closest thing we’ll see to eternal life in this world. Once people are dependent upon entitlement programs, it’s darn near impossible to get them off. But get them off we must! It can be done if only Americans got a wake up call.

    1. Hmm. That’s some rather terrible English for one claiming to desire scholarly work. Or perhaps you only desire others to do the work so you can stay home and call people names behind the safety of your keyboard?

  2. This is complete bs. This writer hasn’t had to look for a job lately, obviously. In addition, nearly all work is so low-paid that even if you work 3 jobs you can afford neither a house or car. And that is *with* college degrees. Deficit cutting drives the private sector into debt. Before the Clinton surplus, deregulation and NAFTA, almost no one in America *had* private debt, not even student loans. Millions of Americans didn’t choose to go into debt just for fun. Nobody in their right mind takes on debt if they can pay cash instead. This was a *policy* choice, not personal choices.

      1. Tom you are a smug, pompous man. You reply to everyone that did not agree with you with nasty sarcasm. You stuck up little punk. I watched that video on you tube and at the end the priest says he hopes that if some kind soul offers constructive criticism you would appreciate it very much and you sat there and lied to him. You said I would.

      2. You are so full of yourself. Every one of your comments to those that disagree are nasty.

  3. “Stop complaining and go to work!”

    Says the blogger who complains about poor people existing without any semblance of style, original work, or thought in general.

  4. I used to think the same way. Merica, oorah. However, as I got older, the truth came through the political propaganda.

    First, check your pride. From you picture, it looks like you had good parents, grew up in a good environment and received a good education.

    God was good to you. You weren’t born in some inner city or in Nigeria. It wasn’t your doing, The majority of your success is due to where God placed you.

    If you were born on the south side of Chicago, and had parents that did not teach you the “American Way,” then you would not hold the same beliefs. It is virtually impossible for a majority of the poor to pull themselves up by their proverbial bootstraps. They lack the mindset to do so. They have been indoctrinated with the idea the only way to get money is through crime or sports. They are resigned to live as their parents and grandparents lived.

    Stop living by sound bites and cliches. Think out what you believe. It was said, St. Thomas argue the opposition side better then they did. It is a good practice.

    1. So let me get this straight. The less-fortunate cannot overcome poverty due to their mindset, but you disagree with an article that says they should change their mindset. How does that make sense unless you want them to stay poor?

      Most of America’s poor are poor because of logic like yours which tells them it’s impossible. I prefer to live in a world where individuals accept responsibility for their actions.

      1. Logic, hahahahha. They are not going to change their mindset, because Tom wrote an article. You are not that influential.

      2. ” I prefer to live in a world where individuals accept responsibility for their actions”

        Which planet do you live on?

      3. Constructive criticism given by Mark, Tom not one word of malice in it, but your smug reply seems to have some. And you told that priest you would appreciate constructive criticism. For shame.

      4. Condescending like your stupid article. So this is what Catholics believe? Spit on the poor and leave them in your dust or something close to that.

      5. Why are you so quick to judge? Mark assumes that I’ve had an easy life after looking at one picture of me. How ludicrous is that? Yet you’re doing the same thing. How do you know anything about my relationship with the poor?

      6. Why are you so quick to judge? You ask me that ? Your article, and replies are full of judgement. Don’t be a toss pot who calls the kettle black. Mark assumes that you have good parents. Do you ? Mark assumes you grew up in a good environment. Did you? Mark assumes you received a good education. Did you? I do not see where Mark assumes where you had an easy life. I’ve had an easy life after looking at one picture of me. How ludicrous is that? I don’t know anything about your relationship with the poor outside of your condescending article and your nasty replies. And from that I see that you despise the poor.

      7. There is no way to go back and edit your comments I copy and pasted your reply in my last comment so I did not have to keep scrolling up and down. And I did not delete it all before posting

      8. I laugh at this reply. you say ” even if I am guilty of rash judgement.. .” IF … I surprised you said that much. What about the questions I asked? Are you going to ignore those? Are you going to ignore the rest of my reply? Will you not answer one of my questions ? Was Mark wrong in his assumption ? It was not a mean assumption, and yet you attack him for it. Grant it, you wrote an article and post it on the internet, and you probably expected a Pulitzer prize for it, and when you received negative comments your got upset. Your tail feathers were singed and you couldn’t handle it. Still Can’t. Suck it up buttercup . You should be thanking Mark for his time and consideration he has given you.

      9. Mark was wrong in his assumptions. He looked at one picture of me and made several silly extrapolations. Anyone who employs such ridiculous methods deserves to be attacked.

      10. Well Tom, I am sorry to hear that you did not have good parents,and you had not grown up in a good environment and had not received a good education. I can understand why you are full of anger. Mark, unknowingly stepped on a sensitive issue, but it wasn’t done deliberately or with malice. You need to realize that. His was merely trying to be helpful with his comment. Tom if you still have these deep seated issues that you have not come to terms with yet, perhaps you should put the blog post on the shelf. This last reply of yours is really venomous. Deserves to be attacked? Turn the other cheek Tom. That is what Christ tells us.Forgive another command of God. Silly extrapolations? (I don’t think that word applies here) “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” 1John :7
        Peace of Christ be with you Tom

      11. First, I wrote, it looks like you had a good upbringing. In addition, having been a Traditional Catholic for 25 years(Father Jenkins heard my first confession), I have seen very few Trads from the hood.

        Since you seem to lack charity, and justify attacks based on an error in a assumption, I am not surprised by your intransigence. Further, I would be interested to see if you are honest. Please enlighten us with a description of you upbringing.

      12. Haha yeah, I guess I’m not a “Trad from the hood.” I don’t think my intransigence stems from my want of charity. I just think I’m right. And I’m stubborn. But being stubborn about the truth is not something I can apologize for.

      13. You wrote:

        “Mark was wrong in his assumptions. He looked at one picture of me and made several silly extrapolations. Anyone who employs such ridiculous methods deserves to be attacked.”

        But that is a lie, isn’t it Tom. My assumption was not wrong, as you admit.

        Further, your Facebook page indicates Loveland, Ohio is your hometown. Loveland is a bedroom community of Cincinnati. It is 95% white. the median family income is $90,000.

        Is lying a virtue at Immaculate Conception? If so, does Father Jenkins approve? if so, maybe the faithful should go to St. Gertrude. As i recall, Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada teaches that bearing false witness is a sin.

      14. Oh, Mark, I don’t want to start a silly fight! I’m sorry I said that you deserved to be attacked. I didn’t mean that. I was wrong. What I wanted to say is that the practice of assuming things about me after looking at one picture is not very smart. That is a recipe for disaster.

        Your assumptions about my upbringing are wrong.

        I haven’t lied about a thing.

      15. No worries. However, I don’t think I am wrong. Why don’t you tell us how you were raised as a poor black child. All the evidence points to the contrary.
        You decided to make ad hominem attacks against me, rather than address the point I made. My point is that you have a normalcy bias. You see the world through your personal anecdotal experiences.

        So again, tell us about being raised in poverty and how you pulled yourself up by your own bootstraps. If not, then you really don’t understand the nature of poverty in America.

      16. I didn’t make ad hominem attacks against you. There is no evidence that contradicts me. I did pull myself up by my own bootstraps. I do understand the nature of poverty in America.

      17. “Mark was wrong in his assumptions. He looked at one picture of me and made several silly extrapolations. Anyone who
        employs such ridiculous methods deserves to be attacked.”

        That seems to be an ad hominem attack.

        Anyways, like I said all the evidence points to you lying. You could clear it up by providing a bio of yourself. Until otherwise proven, I will stand by my assertion that you are lying.

        FWIW, I did not simply draw my conclusion from a picture. It was based on other evidence, in addition to the picture.

      18. I don’t much mind if you think I’m a liar, Mark. You can make all the erroneous assertions and assumptions you like, but none of that changes the truth. I prefer not to “clear it up” for you because you have been so hostile towards me from your very first comment. “Tell me the truth, you liar,” generally isn’t a very effective method for extracting the truth. However, I do plan to divulge some of my personal background over time through various posts, so I hope you’ll stick around to read those. 🙂 If not, I understand. No hard feelings. I know my posts evoke emotions. God bless, Mark.

      19. It was not my intention to “best” you. My intent was for you to state clearly, whether Mark’s assumption was correct or not. Instead you come back with red herrings. When I pressed the issue you then said Mark was wrong and he deserved to be attacked. Then I responded with ‘sorry to hear that…’ You said ‘…good retort…’ This implied that Mark was indeed correct. Later you said he was wrong. Now, if Mark was correct and you say he was wrong, than you have bore false witness against your parents and possibly more than that. If Mark was wrong than your implication that he was right is a lie. By deceiving me into believing he was right, by your ‘good retort’ comment. A later reply to Mark you apologized for saying that he deserved to be attacked and that you did not mean it. That is not true you did mean it. And when something is not true it is a lie. Which brings up another comment of yours …’I have not lied about anything.’ Yes you have. I know Catholics have a great way of spinning the truth, to put politely. Catholics can come up with rationalizations to justify their lies. Catholics will lie without batting an eyelash and you are no exception, However, you are probably the worst I have come across, to be so deviant as to imply your parents provided you a bad upbringing, How could you stoop so low ? For what? To protect your love of money, vanity, pride,? I have read a few other posts of yours, it is inexplicable how you can write these things and ignore the fact that you commit the same offenses. Final example you said:
        I just think I’m right. And I’m stubborn. But being stubborn about the truth is not something I can apologize for. Thinking you are right does not make it so. And I believe you are really being stubborn about protecting your pride. When you find yourself in a hole Tom, the first rule is to stop digging

      20. My good retort comment did not imply that Mark was right. I meant it as a compliment to your polemical skills. Your arguments are very clever, witty, and well-composed…but they’re all still wrong 🙂 The children of the world are very clever indeed. Like I told Mark, I don’t mind the personal attacks against my integrity. It was once said that no man is as hated as he who speaks the truth. Certainly, I have spoken the truth.

      21. “I’m sorry I don’t live up to your standards.”

        Another lie. You are not sorry.

        What are my standards? I am simply stating the standards the Catholic Church sets forth for all the Faithful. Are you a Catholic?

      22. Oh, Mark, I don’t want to start a silly fight! I’m sorry I said that you deserved to be attacked. I didn’t mean that. I was wrong. What I wanted to say is that the practice of assuming things about me after looking at one picture is not very smart. That is a recipe for disaster.
        Your assumptions about my upbringing are wrong.

        I haven’t lied about a thing.
        See the line “I didn’t mean that” that is one thing you lied about (there are more) You meant that

      23. Your good retort comment did indeed imply Mark was right. Tom you insist you did not lie and you have spoken the truth. You claim Mark’s assumptions are wrong, but like many Catholics you can believe your own words, so saying his assumptions are wrong may mean something different to you thereby allowing you to say you spoke the truth.So I like to ask again and I would like you to answer with a yea or a nay. Did you Did you grow up in a good environment ? Did you receive a good education ?
        let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

    2. That is precious, buttercup. I was hostile to you. Since you hold yourself out to be a patriot, I hope you never actually have to face hostility.

      Anyways, in fraternal charity, you come off as a arrogant child. You won’t address arguments against your position. You stomp your feet and say you are right. If you want to be taken serious, you may want to try humility.

      The Church you claim to belong to puts a high value on charity. Read about Our Lady. Read about St. Thomas. Read about any of the saints. They do not act like you do.

      1. I’m sorry I don’t live up to your standards. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not perfect, but I know that I don’t claim to be. Hopefully, with your prayers and God’s grace I can overcome all my faults and shortcomings.

      2. “I’m sorry I don’t live up to your standards.”

        Another lie. You are not sorry.

        What are my standards? I am simply stating the standards the Catholic Church sets forth for all the Faithful. Are you a Catholic?

      3. Wow you really like calling me a liar. I think we should just stop, Mark, because we obviously aren’t making any progress. I don’t want either of us to sin against charity, so let’s just drop the whole thing and agree to pray for each other?

      4. Actually, I don’t like calling you a liar. However, your posts force me to call a spade a spade.

        I would have preferred to have an intelligent discussion with you. However, you refused to address my arguments and attacked me instead.

  5. “How often do we hear complaints about the rich and wealthy oppressing the poor?”

    Well, in today’s quasi-socialist welfare states (be it Western Europe or the US, Canada, Australia, etc) it’s rather the other way around. The “poor” – i.e. those who pay no taxes but benefit from welfare – oppress those who have to keep paying higher and higher taxes (at the point of a gun) in order to pay for all those entitlements. Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, there is no way to end (or even significantly diminish) the welfare state…not while those who contribute nothing have the right to vote (which they naturally use to vote for more benefits, to be paid for by the “rich”). It will only end once the whole edifice collapses…and it won’t be pretty. Once you institute universal suffrage, this sort of outcome is inevitable.

    1. Actually, it is not the right to vote, it is either the right to count the votes or the right to buy the politician that matters.

      Take Obama, the champion for the poor. He did far more to enrich the wealthy than he did for the poor. Sure he threw them some phones and platitudes. Obama gave far more to those that funded his elections.

      Obamacare a plan to enrich insurance companies. It made everyone buy the private companies product. It backstopped the companies from losses.

      QE1-?, gave US Treasury money to the wealthiest people in the world.

      Too big to fail backstops, again huge corporate welfare.

      Prosecuting wars enriched the military contractors and banks.

      If you stepped back and thought about what truly is happening, you would not fall for either the liberal or conservative talking points. The fact is that the wealthiest people get the most welfare money. The amount they get dwarfs what the poor receives. Not only do the wealthiest get richer, they also divide us among ourselves. Middle class versus poor. Black versus white. Conservative v. liberals, etc. No one thinks anymore. If Rush Limbaugh said it, I will parrot it. If Rachel Maddow said it, I will parrot it.

      1. Sure, crony capitalism is also a problem (indeed it’s a natural part of our rotten system). But we were talking about the welfare state that half (if not more) of the population benefits from (at the expense of those who pay taxes). Right to vote does matter in as much as no politician who wanted to end welfare would have even the slightest chance to get elected. Western civilization survived and thrived for a thousand years with no welfare state; but as soon as we’ve instituted universal suffrage, boom…the welfare state was created in no time.

      2. It is not the problem it seems. Politicians need to pander to the welfare class for enough of their votes. They throw small amounts of money at them. Give them phones and food.

        However, it distracts the real problem. They are actually owned by the corporations that give them money. Money is more important, because it buys votes, i.e. their jobs.

        So small amounts of money go to the “poor” and large amounts of money go to the rich. Most conservatives buy the lie that it is the entitlement system that has bankrupted the country. When, in truth, it is the vast amounts of money funneled to the rich.

  6. According to The Brookings Institute, not a conservative think tank by any stretch, there are 3 things one needs to do yo not be permanently poor in the United States: 1. Graduate High School 2. Find a full time job and keep it 3. Don’t have children until after you get married.
    So yes Tom I agree with you Poverty is a Choice and people make really bad ones that will only serve to keep them poor.

    1. Right. A high school education will get you $15 an hour. Good luck raising a family in that.

      A choice implies that the chooser has known options. Go among the poor, Catholic saints have done it for 2,000 years. Ask them what there choices are. Most will have no clue what the Brookings Institute is, nor have they read the white papers.

      Given the environment in which they were raised, there is not path to the middle class.

      1. I only have high school education (from a poor communist country at that) and have done perfectly well by creating business opportunities, saving (by living frugally), and avoiding all debt. Quite a few other people I know have also been able to do so with only secondary education. And it’s even more true today when college diplomas are (for the most part) not only utterly useless but counterproductive.

        The real issue is that even the “poor” today want to have living standards that are vastly superior to even those of the wealthy people/families of past generations. A few generations back it was perfectly normal for all clothes to be passed from the older children to the younger ones; toys and such were a rare luxury; as were holidays, etc. Today everyone must have all the newest gadgets, not to mention flat screen TVs, cars, i-phones… so naturally, after all that is attained, little to nothing is left for having and raising children. We give absolute priority to material things, comforts and luxuries… so let’s just admit it instead of blaming “poverty”.

      2. Roger that.. I am a first generation American. My mom’s family immigrated from Hungary. However, with respect to poverty being a choice, my family and I suspect yours taught us not to choose it. Many poor people have not been taught or shown that they have options, thus they are not making a choice. Further not everyone has the ability to be an entrepreneur.

        Regarding materialism, you are spot on. It is one of the worst evils of our time. Rich and poor, sacrifice their families and spiritual life to worship at its altar. I believe that very few women would need to work, if it weren’t for materialism.

      3. Indeed. Unfortunately the lure of materialism is extremely strong…seemingly too strong to resist even for people who should know better. After all, once the Faith is lost and this life becomes the only thing there is, chasing pleasure and material goods appears to be the only worthwhile objective of life. My generation (which grew up under communism) still had a great aversion to debt, much like our forefathers did. Yet when I visit Eastern Europe today, the younger generations are already all hooked on credit cards, car loans, mortgages, etc. They were taught better by their parents but alas, much like people in the West, they want to have all the shiny new things they see in movies or magazines (not to mention feeling the need to keep up with the Joneses) – and of course they don’t want to patiently wait until they’ve saved the money when credit is so easily available.

        That’s why I generally agree that poverty is a choice…you can see this destructive debt-binging behavior everywhere, and most people know the consequences of taking on more and more debt. (Of course that doesn’t mean there aren’t some who are genuinely clueless…but for most that’s not a valid excuse – especially when you consider that even intelligent and/or highly educated people behave in much the same way.)

        Either way, I’m not optimistic…people don’t voluntarily give up a standard of life they can’t afford but have grown to feel entitled to. Things will only change after the whole rotten edifice collapses (which is inevitable).

        In any case, this has been an interesting discussion. God bless you and your family & ancestors from that small honest nation, as the great Cardinal Mindszenty called it.

      4. I share your pessimism. Hopefully, the church will return and the civilization it encompasses.

  7. Oh, okay. I’ll stop writing good things then because I’m “not that influential.”

    The point is that you are drawing a conclusion based on your normalcy bias. Just because you and I can agree in theory, does not mean in the practical order it applies.

  8. Poverty is both a choice and a punishment. Choice is when a person decides on austerity as a mean of controlling the worldly nature and appetites, and as a mean to devote more time for God. Undoubtedly, for most men acquiring of more and more assets of wealth in life, eats up more precious time. Men forget eternal things and focus on temporal. Thus being content with little, is a virtue. On the other hand, poverty is also a punishment. When lands are parched, crops gone, pick can’t break the hardened soil, locusts thrive, rain fall amiss, and no comforting word around, it’s the realm of poverty as a punishment.

    In case of America and its debt, it is the case of the latter, and the result of it today is directly connected to the establishment of the country, and the ways of its economy, which was borrowed, better to say transplanted, from the Anglican England. To understand the paradoxes of the economy of Anglican England, though, we must go back in time, and see what had happened during the so called Reformation during and after the Henry VIII.
    We may learn a lot from the book by William Cobbett, “The History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland”. It was published in 1824, reprinted many times. William Cobbett was an Anglican man by birth, publisher and a public speaker, who wrote about the history of England after the rule of Henry VIII, and how detestable his country became because of the new economic system that was born along the so called Reformation. What kind of economic system was born then? That system was new, but got its popular name later, under the name of Capitalism.

    Capitalism was found to be inherently unjust, because it favours capital (money) and the creditor (money owner, the lender), at the expense of the debtor and his labour. Capitalism is also in favour of means of producing more money than the transaction actually requires by nature. Money is incredibly liquid, that is, it transforms faster into more power and new assets, much faster than labour. Securing capital in fewer hands, and lending money at an interest, is how capitalism works: without that mechanism, there would be no Capitalism. Catholic thinker Heinrich Pesch stated once that the Capitalism is “state sponsored usury”, which is correct analysis, because it is the usury, protected by laws promulgated to protect creditors, that gives creditors such bone-breaking power over debtors.

    But the Bible teaches that usury is a grave sin, one of sins that creates such effects that cry heaven for vengeance. Usury instrumentalises greed (mortal sin) in perpetual motion. It causes rapid poverty and unrepayable debts. Usury wishes to destroy charity. Christianity throughout centuries fought against the usury. Traditional Catholic view on money and usury, is not only borrowed from Scripture, but also from Aristotle. Aristotle saw interest as something unnatural and unethical. But Christian world split during the Reformation, witnesses coming of usury, and consequentially, challenge and overturn of all moral values that value charity.

    The world without Capitalism, however, was the world of Christian Europe in the Middle-ages. European economy then was outlined roughly by Benedictine rule, which valued prayer, and honest labour: a man and his family would owe to his landowner labour, not money, and all extras which was not consumed from the production, was accumulated and preserved within the cities, monasteries and abbeys, chapels, distributed where needed. William Cobbett goes,

    “.. to (abbeys) belonged cells and chapels at a distance from the convents themselves ; so that it would have been a work of some difficulty for a man so to place himself, even in this poor heathy county (Cobbett uses an example of poor Farnham), at six miles distance from a place where the door of hospitality was always open to the poor, to the aged, the orphan, the widow and the stranger. Can any man now place himself, in that whole county, within any number of miles of any such door? No, nor in any other county. All is wholly changed, and all is changed for the worse….” → William Cobbett, The History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland, § 183

    After many centuries, such accumulated wealth was enormous. Protestant uprises were mostly orchestrated by princes and lords to loot that common property into private hands, and when they lost the loot to debauchery and carnal pleasures, they instituted — national debt, and its engine, the usury. From those times we have Capitalism spreading in the Western world. That was the main reason for Protestantism; theology was only an excuse. And that is what has changed in England during the Reformation. William Cobbett goes,

    “This monstrous thing, the usury, or funding system, was not only a Protestant invention; not only arose out of the “Reformation”; not only was established for the express purpose of carrying on a war for the preservation of this Church of England against the efforts of Popery; but, the inventor, Burnet, was the most indefatigable advocate for the ‘Reformation’ that had ever existed. So that the thing was not only invented by Protestants to do injury to Catholics; it was not only intended by them for this purpose; it was not only destined, by the wisdom and justice of God to be a scourge, to be the most terrible of all scourges, to the Protestants themselves; it was not only destined to make, at last, the ‘Church by law established’ look at the usurers with no very quiet feelings; the thing was not only thus done and thus destined to operate; but, the instrument was the fittest, the very fittest, that could have been found in the whole world.” → William Cobbett, The History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland, § 405

    “Thus arose loans, funds, banks, bankers, bank notes, and a national debt; things that England had never heard or dreamed of, before this war for “preserving” the Protestant religion as ‘by law established’; things without which she had had a long and glorious career of many centuries.
    And had been the greatest and happiest country in the world; things which she never would, and never could, have heard of, had it not been for what is audaciously called the ‘Reformation’, seeing that to lend money at interest; that is to say, for gain; that is to say, to receive money for the use of money; seeing that to do this was contrary, and still is contrary to the principles of the Catholic Church; and, amongst Christians, or professors of Christianity, such a thing was never heard of before that which is impudently called ‘The Reformation’.

    The Reverend Mr O’Callaghan, in his excellent little work, which I had the honour to re-publish last winter, and which ought to be read by every man, and especially every young man, in the kingdom, has shown, that the ancient philosophers, the Fathers of the Church, both Testaments, the Canons of the Church, the decisions of Pope and Councils, all agree, all declare, that to take money for the use of money is sinful. Indeed no such thing was ever attempted to be justified, until the savage Henry VIII had cast off the supremacy of the Pope.” → William Cobbett, The History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland, § 403

    The USA faithfully followed the Anglican example, to developed an economic system that cuts off all alternatives to usurious Capitalism. For example, introduction of credit cards during the 1970s and early 1980s, that is, giving workers an illusion of money rather than full wages (because wages were severed by different Trade Acts in that time, work and production started to be outsourced to third world countries), was a mean of rapid impoverishment of the working class in the post WW2 Western world. When wages and real money were withdrawn, and credit given instead, national debt starts growing rapidly. That is not real debt, however, but is inflated through the cumulative interest rate (usury) and is impossible to repay, and the Capitalist, protected by legislation (sacredness of debt, as we are obliged to replay all debt) wishes that things go that way forever.

    There is no economy nor mode of production that can ever equal debt under such usurious pressure. Because usury is unnatural and irrational, yet the economy relies on natural and rational means only. One can never match the other. The case for a fairer way of production, reward and distribution is almost out of question now, and no one challenges usury anymore. Talks about unfairness of the Capitalism are steered immediately into a Socialist turf, as if the Socialism is the only alternative to crony Capitalism. The narrative is skewed immediately, as if someone challenges the question about the right for private ownership? That is where the conversation is deliberately dumbed down — it is not a question about the private versus public ownership, but about institutionalised and publicly advertised and by law protected usury, which is at the same level as an institutionalised, legalised and advertised abortion. Both are mortal sins, which cry heaven for vengeance. And yet, despite all the sinful nature and consequences of it, even in Quadragesimo Anno encyclical by pope Pius XI, about fair social and economic treatment, not even once usury is mentioned, nor the interest rate, etc. It is safe to say now that the battle against that atrocious mortal sin instituted and promulgated by the Protestant Reformation is now lost, and we all bear the crushing weight of it, thinking that sin is now perfectly normal, same as the abortion, sodomy, unjust war, theft, looting, lying, etc.

    1. Very interesting. Obviously you’ve thought about this a lot, and you know that Father Jenkins and myself will discuss all of this soon. 😉

      I need to do your suggested reading before I get into too deep a debate, but I can tell you that not all interest is usurious. There are parameters for charging interest on a loan that keep the practice perfectly moral.

      And speaking of morals, if they are the basis for a nations economic system, capitalism is not immoral. There is such a thing as a moral capitalism because the system itself is intrinsically amoral. Granted, America (and probably everywhere else) do not exactly practice a moral capitalism, but it is possible to do so.

      1. Interest on a loan, that is, asking more money for the borrowing of money, and asking that throughout the lifetime of a loan, will always be immoral, and is condemned by ancient philosophers, Church Fathers, Scripture, etc.

        But one may still argue, that, say, 40% interest is usury, but mere 4% is not? From 16th-19th century, interest rates were high indeed, caused much revolt. Anglo-american bankers could not risk sudden uprises, so they approached to psychological warfare. The system became subtler. However, there is no difference in an outcome of a high interest on small principals, and smaller interest on large principals. Smaller interest is only psychologically calming, but the net effect if far more devastating for the entire society, because psychological calm sustains prolonged negative impact of usury, which becomes institutionalised sin.
        It inevitably forces devaluation of natural means of creation of a new value, and that is labour. Only labour can create new value in economy. If money is allowed to create new value, then we denaturalise economic system. That is why I compared usury it to other unnatural sins, like abortion and sodomy. If they are allowed, but in calmed down fashion, and say, abortion allowed in first three months of pregnancy only but not later, and sodomy allowed in a new form of ‘marriage’ but not openly in the streets, it is more digestible? We have already denaturalised ourselves, and there is no psychological calm in that — we have accepted mortal sins: usury, abortion and sodomy, as the modus operandi. Their cumulative effect in time will destroy the society.

        There is another issue. Is servant greater than his Master? If God does not ask for impossible penance from us, and refrains from commandments man could not possibly follow, why would his servant ask more than God asks from servant’s fellow men?
        Usury destroys charity, it destroys the grounds for even the most common Christian prayer given by our Lord (Our Father). Moral code and values come from God only, and if God asks no impossible commandments, and if God preserves the dignity of man’s existence by delivering him from slavery, then forbids usury in any form … what men try to justify then as a ‘moral Capitalism’, which uses usury to work?

        There is no justification for any interest on the borrowed on money, as there is no justification for more sex than what marriage, which is natural and God’s institution, allows. However, different smaller fees that are associated with the operation of issuing a loan, can be legislated and justified.

        Moral Capitalism is a contradiction in terms, because if it were moral, it would come from God. Capitalism is called capital-ism for a reason, because of its balance turned on one side, that is, values capital and protects the creditor, versus the debtor and his labour. What creates value, labour or money? Scripture says labour and sweat will be man’s toil, never God mentions men should use money to produce more money, while they may sit in comfort of their homes, expecting their fellow men to work outside to repay more than what they borrowed. That mode of work, when one party forgets the merits of other and incurs them harm, in Scripture is called Egypt,

        “Meanwhile, a new king of Egypt had arisen, who knew nothing of Joseph. See, he said to his people, how the race of the Israelites has grown, till they are stronger than we are. We must go prudently about it and keep them down, or their numbers will grow;” — Exodus 1:8-10

        Money should be transaction neutral, but in Capitalism it is not, because money is given unnatural power through unfair legislation to copulate with itself to create more money. Debtors become all people who do not possess enough money to live from the interest. Living from interest is a parasitic life, because it gives enormous freedom and wealth to the creditor, while severely curtailing freedom and inevitably brings poverty to the debtor.

        Thus in time, with economic power being held in fewer and fewer hands (oligarchy), Capitalism becomes cronyism, a system where rich protect the rich to remain rich, and then from there, Capitalism inevitably becomes Communism. No wonder then that major orchestrators and financiers of communist revolutions in the east of Europe were rich bankers of the Anglo-American Protestantism. Capitalism and Communism are linked because one created the other.

        In oligarchic and crony Capitalism, private ownership of all debtors becomes extinguished in time, as they must sell that little left to them, what they earned or what they inherited, to repay endless loans. A fair wage has been taken away from them, credit cards given instead, and prices, through an artificial instrument of constant small inflation (similar to a drum beat in the galleon), are ever rising, and in turn deflate value of their labour. In such an economy prices of goods ever rise, while the value of labour is cheaper and cheaper. That is, people work for mere necessities of life. Sounds familiar? It is even mentioned in the Scripture,

        “… so I looked, and saw there a black horse, whose rider carried in his hand a pair of scales; I thought, too, I heard a voice that came from where the living figures were. A silver piece, it said, for a quart of wheat, a silver piece for three quarts of barley; but do the wine and the oil no hurt.” — Apocalypse 6:5-6

        These are famine prices, at which a labourer would have to spend the whole of his day’s wages to provide bread for himself alone. In such times, oil and wine are not necessities and cannot be bought by a labourer, even if their price remains same. But still, they are there, and some can enjoy them — those on the opposite side of scale.

        One may ask, how to get two silver pieces a day then? In crony Capitalism, people wish to get new skills which add to their labour, that will enable them higher wages. But the university system, as a part of the same denaturalised and artificial money making apparatus, rises fees, forces students into enormous student loans, which students cannot repay before they can start to work. All they can get is unpaid internship, while universities become banks and money lenders.

      2. I think some interest may be morally justified. It would seem to me that the interest that offsets inflation would be morally justified. For example, if I loan you $100 today. If you pay me back in 10 years, I should receive $100 plus the decrease in the value of $100 over 10 years due to inflation.

        I would argue, but am open to correction, that a lender is also entitled to charge a default risk premium. If I loan you $10 today, I am taking the risk that you will not pay me back at the end of the loan.

        Where interest is usury is when the lender profits from the use of money.

        Debt has allowed wealth to transfer to the very few. Have you ever considered why the US government issues bonds, notes and bills instead of printing money? The net effect is the same. However, the primary banks that issue the debt make an enormous amount of money from a riskless transaction that can only be done by a few banks.

        Distributism is probably the economic system that we should have. However, we are way to far down the rabbit hole to change. It is interesting that many traditional Catholics see the capitalism and political conservatism as being the “Catholic way,” totally discounting that they are at odds with Catholicism.

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