LETTERS: Capitalism, Christianity not at odds

To the editor:

Once again, Steve Sebelius has written a column that assumes the reader’s general lack of education and ignorance of history (“Thus saith the Lord: Buy low, sell high!” Wednesday Review-Journal). The development and success of capitalism went hand-in-hand with the Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment, all of which had religious aspects and formed the basis for the development of the modern worldview. In particular, the Reformation helped promote a religious justification for the virtues of individual industriousness and the accumulation of wealth that could be invested.

And capitalism doesn’t meet the definition of a “tool.” It’s an economic system that’s usually associated with a high level of regard for individualism and personal liberty. Socialism is a form of statism and is much more commonly associated with atheism, the most extreme example of this being Marxist-Leninist communism.

I suggest that Mr. Sebelius read the works of Adam Smith, along with “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism,” by Max Weber, then rethink the idea that capitalism and traditional Christian values are not related.



Jesus definitely a capitalist

To the editor:

Don’t you just love how leftists such as Steve Sebelius pick and choose when they want to use religion (or in this case, Jesus) to back their agenda? (“Thus saith the Lord: Buy low, sell high!” Wednesday Review-Journal.)

In the first place, Mr. Sebelius totally ignored the part of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s statement noting that, “in order for it to produce a good and stable society,” capitalism depends on Christian virtues. You know, things like honesty and fairness. Of course Jesus would be against dishonest wealth or taking unfair advantage of people. But Jesus had no qualms about honest gain. Jesus was definitely a capitalist. Does anyone believe he and Joseph did their carpentry work for free? And then went down to the local commune for their food?

Second, I wonder why Mr. Sebelius doesn’t refer to Jesus’ opinions in a column about abortion, or same-sex marriage. Actually, I do know why. Jesus’ opinions in those areas would not fit Mr. Sebelius’ agenda.



Work vs. welfare

To the editor:

Kudos to Ronald Najarro on his Sept. 9 commentary (“It’s time to restore value of work, not welfare,” Review-Journal). I believe there’s a fairly simple way to start that process of restoring the value of work. Instead of increasing minimum wages to keep up with welfare, let’s reduce welfare and reward working people.

How about no longer having hundreds of agencies and programs that can be gamed. A welfare recipient, with physical identification and a passed drug test, receives all of his or her entitlements from one federal governmental agency through one government employee. The entitlement package would consist of average national minimum wage for a 40-hour week. A second government employee, preferably at the state level, would be available for financial and job counseling. Those capable of working but not actually looking for a job would get 15 to 20 percent less. No more moving state to state for better benefits; move to where there are jobs. Job training or educational funds could be added after qualification.

Employed people at or below the average welfare level could also apply for welfare. They would receive a premium of up to 50 percent of their earnings, as incentive and to cover payroll deductions, and/or a supplement to bring them to the welfare level, plus their work premium. The 50 percent premium would be stepped down to zero as earnings plus premium reached two times the average welfare level. Other supplements would end at that point, as well.

These steps would provide less incentive to work for unreported cash. Social Security and income tax funding would increase, and a fair amount of administrative expense savings could support the change. No more trading food cards, bus passes, etc., for cash.

And there would be no income tax for those below the welfare level.