Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pope Francis speaks out at the European Parliament

If the article on the comments by Pope Francis in today's NYT is even remotely accurate, and how could direct quotes from his two speeches not be, he said some remarkable things that no one in Europe or for that matter the rest of the world would have the audacity to say in such a direct public setting.

He warned that Europe had lost its vibrancy, with any vision or cohesion being clouded by economic malaise and a remote and vast technocratic European bureaucracy.  In a word, he cut through all of the bs.  To take a quote from his speech, "In many quarters we encounter a general impression of weariness and aging, of a Europe which is now a grandmother, no longer fertile or vibrant", or could he have said no longer in need of contraception which might be the only positive thing about this in his church's mind.

There is much more to this and it does not need to be rewritten here.  One takeaway is the thought that the European Union's managed economy is one that across all specters is as intricate, complex, and muddled as the Dodd Frank bill is in the U.S.  The Affordable Health Care Act could be mentioned as well.  These well meaning bills, each with certain highly positive aspects, but each with highly ambivalent or poorly designed language and some terrible politically motivated add-ons, are not conducive to innovation or risk taking.  Dodd Frank is the best example with one its primary goals having been to directionally eliminate "too big to fail" and in the end its complexity added on top of Sarbanes Oxley ten years ago has forced many community banks to throw in the towel and merge, and many mid tier banks to join in with the bigger banks, making them bigger.  There is much more that could be said.  Fortunately, unlike Europe the U.S. technology, media, consumer products,  industrial and most other areas are not dictated by highly complex, political, and opaque bills like Dodd Frank and in certain aspects ACA.

This post is, however, about Pope Francis, and one could think that both the Republicans and Democrats might just agree on one thing.  That is --- is there any way that we can keep this guy from getting a visa to the United States and speaking to a joint session of Congress, a United Nations assembly, and, God forbid, to the people themselves at Yankee Stadium.  In different ways he could end up giving this country equal treatment with Europe, as in a quietly and politely spoken tongue lashing that is both bi-partisan and perceptive. 

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