Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Western Powers Are Behind Arab Revolutions

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Hindsight being 20/20, it would appear that as we've had time to reflect on the events to 2011 thus far, patterns are emerging, and the truth is beginning to come out. Our suspicions are being confirmed.

Western Liberals, particularly in the United States, have for the past three years (at least) been working behind the scenes to create these riotous revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East. Now when I say "Liberals" I'm including Neoconservatives in the United States as well. I'm talking about everyone from the far Left (George Soros and company) to the libertarian centrist (George Bush and friends). I am not talking about the truly right wing (paleoconservative) groups, which have been disenfranchised in the United States and Europe for decades.

Information emerging from Wikileaks is starting to confirm many of the suspicions we had, but were hesitant to voice, while the riots were beginning to unfold weeks ago. What we have here is an elaborate strategy that has been executed with precision to elicit a certain response in the Arab world. The manipulation began under the George W. Bush administration and is now continuing under the administration of Barack Obama. While the United States seems to be the principle agent, European powers are likewise in collaboration. This helps to explain the United States' seeming "standoffish" posture while the riot-revolutions unfold. The United States has been intimately involved, but this has been behind the scenes and under the table. Moving in too fast in a public way would tip the world off as to what is really going on.

In dealing with the Arab world the United States us using a threefold strategy to get what it wants. Here's how it works...
  1. First, major corporations within the United States (and Europe) pitch business deals to Arab powers, promising money and prestige to any Arab leader that will cooperate.
  2. Next, if the first step should fail, the CIA steps in and attempts to orchestrate a revolution from inside the nation, to change the regime and place people in power who will be more willing to make business deals with American (and European) companies. 
  3. Lastly, if the second step should fail, a pretense for war is manufactured resulting in military action from American and NATO powers, again attempting to produce a regime change.
We saw this entire scenario unfold in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We've been watching it unfold in Iran for about a decade now, and the plan has met considerable resistance from there with multiple failures in Step Two, and preparation being made for Step Three.  In the last two months we have watched Step Two unfold all across the Arab world as more and more evidence continues to surface of deep American involvement.  Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Syria; are all experiencing unrest.  So far the Saudis, Jordanians, Kuwaitis and Syrians have been able to pacify their people with financial aid to citizens and the promise of reform.  Saudi Arabia has been having increasing trouble in the south and is now moving troops into Bahrain for a direct confrontation with protesters.  Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak was not so lucky, and became the first leader to be ousted in this recent clandestine Euro-American venture.   The fate of Libya's dictator Muammar Gaddafi remains uncertain, though it would appear he is winning at the moment. (You will notice the emerging Euro-American pretense for war starting to develop as the West mulls over a transition to Step Three above.)  If Gaddafi prevails we can probably expect the accusation of "war crimes" and "ethnic cleansing" against him to come out of Europe and the United States as they attempt to coax their people to support a military "solution." 

Of coarse the logical question for anyone to ask is "WHY?"  Why would the Western world do this?  What is the purpose?  What's the benefit?  You might be surprised to learn is not about oil.  There is plenty of oil all over the world, especially in North America.  No, its about something a little more nuanced called "peak oil."  What is "peak oil?"  Here's is the definition from Wikipedia...
(Wikipedia) - Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. This concept is based on the observed production rates of individual oil wells, and the combined production rate of a field of related oil wells. The aggregate production rate from an oil field over time usually grows exponentially until the rate peaks and then declines—sometimes rapidly—until the field is depleted. This concept is derived from the Hubbert curve, and has been shown to be applicable to the sum of a nation’s domestic production rate, and is similarly applied to the global rate of petroleum production. Peak oil is often confused with oil depletion; peak oil is the point of maximum production while depletion refers to a period of falling reserves and supply.

Now to translate this into common English here is what it means.  There is plenty of oil all over the earth.  In fact, there is considerable evidence mounting that oil isn't even a "fossil fuel" and that it's actually produced as a byproduct of geological forces deep inside the earth.  NASA believes that there is evidence of oil on other worlds with high volcanic activity, and so if that is the case, it can't be the result of decaying dinosaurs and plant life as previously thought.  All that aside nobody is talking about oil depletion here, as it would appear that oil may very well be a renewable source of perpetual energy provided by geological-volcanic activity deep beneath the earth's surface.  So if the modern science is right, the earth will never run out of oil.  It just takes time for the oil to bubble up high enough in the earth's crust for us to drill down and get it.  That being said we run into another problem.  It's not about how much oil exists, or will exist in the future.  It's about how much oil can be extracted at a time even if every country is using all of its resources to get at it.  When you reach the maximum extraction rate possible, and the amount of oil consumption surpasses that, you have reached "peak oil."  In other words, it's not about how much refined oil hits the market, but rather it's about how fast it's being consumed by the industrial world.  Once you hit "peak oil" fuel prices go up, way up, and that slows down economies and threatens economic growth.  Without economic growth a nation's political power and corporate hegemony begins to decline, and that spells bad news for the people in charge.

Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 a new bipolar conflict has emerged between the United States and Russia.  That conflict is over peak oil, and both the United States and Russia are trying to gain control of as much oil producing countries as possible to gain the upper hand when peak oil occurs.  It's expected to occur sometime within the next few decades, so each superpower it vying for as much control as possible.  The nation that has the most control over the most oil production suffers the least in a peak oil world economy.  The Soviet Union lists as it's oil "producers" most of the "stan" states (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan) along with Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Iran. Within these states exist vital pipelines and oil fields supplying the new Russian Federation. Recently, the United States attempted to cut a deal with the nation of Georgia, promising oil revenue from the West and military protection under NATO. This was considered a political "invasion" into the Russian sphere of influence and resulted in a Russian military counter-invasion of Georgia in 2008. Russia seized a northern province in Georgia that contained the coveted oil pipeline, and accused Georgia of "ethnic cleansing" to justify it. (This was a direct "thumb in the nose" to NATO allies which accused Serbia of the same thing in Kosovo to justify the NATO bombing of this Russian ally in the late 1990s.) It was a little case of what comes around goes around. 

Among America's allied oil producers are most South American nations and many nations within the Arab world. However, the United States has run into a problem lately.  The Arab world has been getting "uppity" in recent decades, namely since the creation of OPEC and the tight control of oil production which dictates fuel prices.  The United States took it's currency off the gold standard in 1971 and indirectly placed it on the "oil standard" in that oil is now traded in U.S. dollars.  Thus as a result, when the price of oil goes up the dollar is weaker, and when the price of oil goes down the dollar is stronger.

After the economic collapse of the United States and Europe in late 2008, the western economies were propped up artificially with various bailout "stimulus packages" created by Western governments.  The United States of course led the way with the largest stimulus package and the printing of U.S. dollars to pay for it.  With this massive injection of liquidity (money printing) of U.S. dollars into foreign markets, the price of food rapidly increased creating inflation.  These increased food prices destabilized various economies that trade in U.S. dollars, particularly the Arab nations.  Euro-American involvement in clandestine populace movements sponsored riots and revolutions in these nations.  The idea here was to force Arab leaders to start pumping more oil to stabilize the U.S. dollar and give the Western world an upper hand in the emerging peak oil economy.  Those leaders that don't comply face more protests, riots and revolutions to come.  It's a nasty little game we're playing to maintain our political influence, economic prowess and corporate hegemony.  We're doing it to keep the Russians from getting the upper hand and maintain our superpower status both domestically and internationally.

The problem here is this is how we're treating our supposed "allies" in the Arab world. Granted, they haven't been treating us too nicely in recent decades, but nevertheless, we need their support to prevent Russia from gaining a peak oil advantage.  Supporting and sponsoring riots and revolutions within the nations of your supposed "allies" is not very conducive to good relations.  We're effectively acting more like a bully than a friend.  The only way this pays off for the United States and Europe is if it's successful, and regime changes occur all throughout the Arab world, but even then it's risky business, because if those new regimes are taken over by radicals, we could be in a lot of trouble.  Furthermore, if these riot-revolutions are not successful, we have just effectively pissed off our "allies" who give us the upper hand in a peak oil economy. On thing is for sure, if Gaddafi survives the attempted coupe in his nation of Libya, he'll never sell another drop of oil to Europe again.  His oil will go to Russia instead.

The problem with Western Liberals (both Leftist Socialists and Centrist Libertarians) is that they both believe their economic models will work just fine in the Arab world since they have proved to work so swimmingly well in the Western world.  (Well, sort of.)  So the Centrist Libertarians (otherwise known as the Neoconservatives of George W. Bush and company) have pushed to recreate the Arab world in the Western world's image, assuming that this will result in greater oil trading partners over time.  While the Leftist Socialists (George Soros and company) also believe their models will work well in the Arab world and so they likewise work with the Centrist Libertarians to accomplish the same goal of regime change.  In the end however, their final objectives are considerably different.  The Centrist Libertarians (Neoconservatives) would like to create a world where the United States and Europe have the upper hand in a peak oil economy, while the Leftist Socialists envision a new order in which there is an "open society" whereby socialist nations trade oil on equal footing.  Both groups are terribly mistaken.

The Arab world isn't going to fall for the Neoconservative or Socialist vision.  The Arab world has it's own vision and that is Shariah law.  Now there are various degrees of this vision, and a lot of it depends on what part of the Arab world we're talking about, but the basic premise of the vision is shared throughout.  They envision Islamic Sharia, under Arab political prowess, with their own economic hegemony.  The United States and Russia can just be dammed as far as their concerned.  So long as their leaders continue to cooperate with both superpowers they will be vulnerable to uprisings.  Right now the Islamic religious leaders in the Arab world are using the subversion of the CIA to their advantage.  They know that once their leaders are overthrown there will be a period of vulnerability which they can use to seize power.  It's happened before (Iran in 1979), and it will likely happen again.  Both the United States and Russia are playing with fire here, but the United States is more deeply entangled, at least as far as we can tell for now.  It is likely the whole thing will blow up in our faces in the not-too-distant future.

Those of us familiar with Catholic prophecy concerning the Chastisement of God (which we are now in and will likely soon conclude) will result in the fall of Europe to Muslim and Marxist powers in an upheaval of anarchy.  This may very well be payback for Euro-American subversion in the Arab world.  We also know that Russia is involved in this somehow, and it would appear the United States is strangely silent, as if we are unable to do anything.  We know this results in the fall of the Vatican in Rome, the assassination of our pope, and the rise of a new pope in exile who will crown a new French king that will eventually reestablish the Holy Roman Empire.  We also know that nothing short of a direct intervention from God, a disaster of epic proportions and unrivaled in all of recorded history, will be the decisive blow to the powers of evil in this age.  Before that happens however, the Church in Europe will be decimated, and European Christians will face the threshold of extinction.  Exactly when and how this will all unfold is not known to us at this time, but with each passing month the emerging picture becomes a little more clear. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Missouri Catholics CAN Support The Fair Tax

St. John of God, Patron of Publishers
Pray for us!
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT:  On January 21st, 2011 the Missouri Catholic Conference Messenger ran a number of articles outlining it's case against the Missouri Jobs Act, otherwise known as the "Missouri Fair Tax."  This series of articles was very condemning of the measure, creating the illusion that the legislation harmed the poor and opposed the social teachings of the Catholic Church. Catholic Missourians reading the articles were likely to walk away with the notion that one cannot support the measure and still remain a Catholic in good standing with the Church.  To make matters worse, the Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC) cites as it's board of directors the Catholic bishops of the State of Missouri (Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, Bishop Edward Rice, Bishop John R. Gaydos, Bishop James V. Johnston and Bishop Robert W. Finn).  The "Messenger" claims to write on behalf of the MCC and as a voice for Missouri's Catholic bishops.

There were two things I found particularly disturbing about this.  The first was the way the articles were written.   They left the reader with the impression that there was no redeeming quality to the Missouri Jobs Act, thus giving the reader the false impression that one cannot support it and remain a good Catholic.  The second was that the lead article was written by a person who may not necessarily have the best interests in mind for Missouri's Catholic bishops or the Catholic Church's social teaching in general.

Amy Blouin
Amy Blouin is the Founder and Executive Director of the Missouri Budget Project which David Catanese of KY3 News in Springfield Missouri described as a "liberal leaning" organization. Ironically, she is the former Director of Advocacy for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of St. Louis from 2001 to 2003. While she doesn't appear to be working within the internal structures of the Catholic Church anymore, she apparently still has connections with the MCC and the "Messenger." 

A snapshot of Rep. Oxford's blog
taken on 3/8/2011
Click Image To Enlarge
While it is difficult to discern Blouin's personal political leanings with a brief search on the Internet, we can learn a lot about somebody from the things she says and the people she associates with. Blouin's father, who was a Democratic Congressman in Iowa and ran for Governor in 2006, was listed as having a significant influence on her life in an interview with the St. Louis Business Journal in 2008. Blouin also listed her husband, Joe Squillace who teaches as an adjunct professor at Saint Louis University School of Social Work, as a significant influence who encouraged her to start the Missouri Budget Project. Background aside, what is revealing about Amy Blouin and Joe Squillace is their apparent connection to Democratic Missouri Representative Jeanette Mott Oxford - the first open lesbian elected to the Missouri Legislature. Representative Oxford is pro-abortion, and in 2010 received a "Pro-Choice" grade from NARAL. Oxford also appears to be a supporter of same-sex unions. The connection between Oxford and Blouin comes from a post on Oxford's own Internet blog dated July 14, 2006 in which she claimed a fundraising Party at Amy Blouin and Joe Squillace's home for her reelection would be held on Thursday, July 27, 2006 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and would be co-hosted by "Amy and Joe." 

Assuming this information from the State Congresswoman is accurate, and we have no reason to believe it isn't, it would appear that Amy Blouin has no problem actively supporting (even hosting fundraisers) for political candidates who oppose the Church's most basic social teachings against abortion and gay-marriage. This gives us some background context for Mrs. Blouin's article in the "Messenger."

Before I dig into the article, and Mrs. Blouin's consistently left-wing bias on many issues she speaks to on behalf of the Missouri Budget Project, I would like to ask some questions. Why is this person writing articles for the Missouri Catholic Conference? Do the bishops on the MCC's Board of Directors approve of people writing opinion articles on their behalf, who think so little of the Church's teaching against gay-marriage and abortion, and doing so in a newspaper that reports to speak for them? If Amy Blouin demonstrated such egregious lack of judgment, as to support and fund raise for an open lesbian candidate who supports the murder of innocent unborn children, why would the bishops of the MCC trust her judgment on any lesser social issue? Let alone, why would they let her speak for them on it? Furthermore, what has become of the "Missouri Catholic Conference Messenger?" Is it nothing more than a soapbox for Left-wing activists promoting their agenda under the cloak of episcopal representation? Is this how Missouri's Catholic bishops want to be represented?

Now while The Catholic Knight does not personally know the minds of the bishops of the MCC, I have been able to ascertain from their writings, statements and homilies that they are not men who would likely condone this.  I am left with the impression that the bishops of the MCC may not know (or may not have been fully informed) of the issue at hand, and the type of representation they got in Amy Blouin's article.  I suspect they may actually be misinformed by those running the MCC "Messenger."  I admit this is just an opinion on my part, but based on the evidence I've just presented above, I think it's a fair assumption.  In light of this, the bishops of the MCC may want to revisit this issue and perhaps investigate the way things are being run by the administrative staff of the MCC with particular attention to the kind of message that is being printed in the "Messenger."  Furthermore, to address the damage that may have been done to the conscience of Missouri's Catholics, the bishops might want to consider some form of statement, or press release, that addresses the matter directly.  These are just my humble suggestions, for as it stands right now, thanks to the January 21st edition of the Messenger, it would be fair to assume that a large number of Missouri Catholics are under the impression that they can't be good Catholics and support the Missouri Jobs Act at the same time.  This impression almost appears to bear the seal of Missouri's Catholic bishops, or at least that's the notion that was created by the Messenger.

Another notion created by the Messenger is the idea that matters of economics and taxation trump the Church's social message of abortion and same-sex marriage.  This message was created by giving Amy Blouin such a prominent position in the newspaper.  Her apparent support and fund raising for a pro-abortion lesbian candidate is scandalous to say the least, especially when she is placed in a position to speak for the bishops in their own newspaper.  One can only wonder how many Missouri Catholics now think fiscal matters and taxation are more important than abortion and family.  Again, this is another issue the bishops of the MCC may want to publicly address.

All that aside, let's get down to the nitty gritty of the topic at hand. The subject of the article written by Blouin was about the Missouri Jobs Act, sometimes referred to loosely as the "Missouri Fair Tax." Other articles written by different columnists followed - all of them negative.  Now the MCC opposes the Missouri Jobs Act, and Amy Blouin's article was used to back their position. How much Blouin's article influenced the MCC is not clear, but it is certain the MCC is using articles written by this Left-leaning activist to bolster their position. 

With all of the pressing social issues that surround us today, one would think Catholic newspapers would be preoccupied with addressing the big three - Life, Family and School Choice. Certainly the Wisconsin bishops have wisely decided to stay neutral in the ongoing dispute between labor unions and state budget cuts. To clarify the Wisconsin bishops' stand on the ongoing labor/budget dispute, Bishop Morlino of the Diocese of Madison issued the following statement...
...The teaching of the Church allows for persons of good will to disagree as to which horn of this dilemma should be chosen, because there would be reasonable justification available for either alternative. (This is unlike the case of abortion or euthanasia, for which reason can offer absolutely no justification in terms of the killing of an innocent victim.)...

read full statement here
This was a wise move indeed, as these bishops know full well that Catholics can hold to good-faith positions on both sides of the issue. Pope Benedict recently pointed out that the pressing issues facing modern civilization can be summarized as the...
"protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception to natural death; recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family -- as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage -- and its defense from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its de-stabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role, and the protection of the right of parents to educate their children."

- (Pope Benedict XVI, March 30, 2006).  
In a society where literally none of these big three necessities are met, one would think Catholic newspapers would focus on them with the full intensity of a red-hot laser beam, shuffling the other issues (such as budgets, taxes, government spending, etc.) to a secondary status.

Not so with the Missouri Catholic Conference Messenger, which for 2011 seems to have decided to put the issue of state taxes at the top of the list. Now Missouri is not like the West Coast or New England states with crushing state income and property taxes that burden families. In fact, Missouri ranks about middle of the road in income and property taxes in comparison to the rest of the country. The Missouri legislature is not contemplating a tax hike that threatens families either. No, what the Missouri state legislature is contemplating is a complete change in THE WAY it collects taxes. The Missouri Jobs Act is Missouri's version of the increasingly popular nationwide Fair Tax proposal. The measure is designed to attract jobs to the state of Missouri, which in the end is the greatest form of social justice and option for the poor in a depressed economy facing a "jobless recovery." Across the nation, economists of all stripes have pointed out that legislation of this kind would indeed attract business and grow the economy.

Here's how it works. All current state income, capital gains and sales taxes are completely eliminated. In exchange, the state implements a low state-wide sales tax on all new retail goods and services, gradually phased in over five years. There is no tax on the sale of used goods, income, investments or savings. The plan assures the changes will be revenue neutral for the state and local communities in each year of transition and allows revenue to grow as the state and local economies grow. Now before we go on let's review...
  1. All current state income, capital gains and sales taxes are completely eliminated.
  2. These are replaced with a single state-wide retail sales tax, on new retail goods and services that is phased in over five years.
  3. No used goods, income, investments or savings are taxed.
Now of course, any good Catholic should ask the question "what about the poor?" Yes, that's a good question. How are we to insure that the poor do not pay the same sales tax rate as the rich on the basic necessities they need to survive and thrive in Missouri's economy? This issue is specifically addressed with a sales tax prebate that is paid out to all Missouri citizens, compensating them fully for all taxes paid on basic retail necessities based on the poverty line. That means nobody in extreme poverty pays retail sales taxes, reducing the retail sales tax rate for the average Missourian in extreme poverty to zero percent (0%). This is because people in extreme poverty obviously can't buy as much retail goods to begin with.  The prebate insures that when they do buy retail goods (or have to buy retail goods) they will pay no state sales tax on those goods.  Those who buy more retail goods will obviously pay a slightly higher average percentage (1%, 2%, 3%, etc.) when averaged out with the prebate, depending on how much they spend. It is an established fact that people who make more money tend to spend more money. Those who make the most money, will obviously spend the most money, and those people will in turn pay the highest average percentage of retail sales tax. No income tracking mechanism is needed because the percentages average out on their own based on the prebate and how much you spend.  If you spend below the poverty line you pay 0%.  If you only spend a little above that, your average sales tax might be around 1% or less.  If you spend a little more, it may go up to 2%, all by itself, based on averages, because everyone is reimbursed with a prebate based on the poverty line.  What makes this system unique is that it requires considerably less money to operate, as the collection system is already in place at every cash register in the state. It's no different than collecting the state sales tax already collected at Missouri's cash registers....

So now the most commonly asked questions follow...
  1. Is this system perfect? The answer is no. That's because no system is perfect. 
  2. Is this system impossible to cheat? Again, the answer is no. There are ways to cheat the system, but then there are even more ways to cheat the current income and sales tax system already in place in Missouri.  Besides, this new system will eliminate far more cheating than that, in the sense that people who currently don't pay Missouri taxes (criminals, illegal aliens, people who are paid "under the table") will now pay Missouri taxes every time they buy something at the cash register.
  3. Is the system absolutely and perfectly fair? No. That's because no system of taxation is absolutely and perfectly fair, but in many ways it's a lot more fair and reasonable than the current system. 
  4. Is this system better than the current system? Now that's up for debate. A lot of it depends on how you look at at. The truth is nobody really knows the answer, because nothing like this has ever been implemented anywhere in the world before. It is truly a unique and different idea that has yet to be tried. Now this idea is growing in popularity, and in time somebody will try it. It may be another U.S. state, or it may be a completely different country, but somebody somewhere is going to try this eventually. When they do there is a very strong likelihood that state or country is going to experience some economic growth and an increase in jobs. So the question is should Missouri be the first to try it? That is the question before the Missouri state legislature now.  It's a question that should get a fair hearing and does not deserve to be crushed prematurely by rogue episcopal newspapers leaving Missouri Catholics with the false impression that no good Catholic can support this.
The Catholic Knight holds to the position that issues of taxes and economics are secondary compared to the far more pressing social issues of abortion and gay-marriage.  I think I'm in good company, as the pope holds to a similar point of view.  That being said, I am certain that good Catholics can hold good-faith positions on both sides of the Missouri Jobs Act.  This is an issue that should be up for healthy debate in which Catholics are free to support or oppose without feeling bullied by rogue newspapers claiming episcopal representation.

Now there are a few issues that are of direct concern to Catholics, which I will attempt to address fairly here.  The first has to do with the accusation that Catholic parents would be forced to pay sales tax on the tuition for Catholic schools.  This accusation is completely false according to Carl Bearden, the Executive Director of United For Missouri, who points out that under the current legislation proposed no charitable organization will be made to collect the sales tax and no taxes will be collected on any level of education.  Meanwhile, the Messenger painted a completely different picture, leading readers to believe churches and religious schools would be taxed.  This is misleading.

The Messenger also leads readers to believe that the poor would be taxed disproportionately.  As pointed out above, this is simply not the case, as the extremely poor would pay no tax at all, and those who spend at levels just above that would pay an extremely low average sales tax, compared to people with higher incomes and spending, once the prebate is factored in.  Also as pointed out above, the legislation rewards thrift.  So people who shop at second hand stores, garage sales, swap meets, flea markets, and so on will not pay any state sales tax whatsoever.  The legislation encourages the poor to save their money by buying second hand items whenever possible.  Once again, the Messenger gets it wrong and misleads readers into false information about the bill.

As I pointed out above, churches and private charities will pay no taxes under the current form of the bill.  In Tennessee, which has no state income tax, charitable giving is much higher than Missouri, even though Missouri has a specific income tax deduction for charitable giving.  In other words, Tennessee Catholic parishes are collecting more tithes per family than Missouri parishes.  Yet the Messenger would have you believe churches will lose money under the Missouri Jobs Act.  Once again we have misleading information from the Messenger.

Finally, the Messenger paints the picture that Missouri's public services will suffer under the proposed legislation, that revenue will be cut, and there simply won't be enough money to go around anymore.  Well, that's a pretty bold assumption when you consider that not even the State Auditor Tom Schweich could make such a claim.  Schweich admitted that the cost or savings to the state could not be determined at this time.  However, we can look at other nearby states that have eliminated their income tax in favor of a sales tax, and what we see is that indeed these states do have the necessary revenue to keep their public services operational and sufficiently funded.  Proponents of the Missouri Jobs Act never claimed it was a panacea to solve all of Missouri's financial woes.  What they claim is that the legislation will simplify the tax code, eliminate the need for Missourians to report their income to the state, attract more jobs to the state, and be just as fair to the poor as the current system if not more so.

Yes, Missouri Catholics CAN support the Fair Tax.  They can also choose not to support it.  It's a matter for an informed conscience and open debate.  Catholics can hold good-faith positions on both sides of the issue, and still be good Catholics in good standing with the Church, and I dare say remain in good standing with the Catholic bishops of Missouri.  Again, it would be helpful if Missouri's bishops would publicly address this issue themselves, since the MCC has already seen fit to address it for them in such a troubling and confusing way.  Until then I want to encourage my fellow Catholic Missourians to get both sides of the story, look into this matter carefully, and not be bullied by rogue Catholic newspaper columnists who claim to be speaking for the bishops of Missouri.  But you don't need to take my word for it.  If you want to know what your bishop really thinks, write him a letter and just ask.  "Dear Bishop, Is it possible for a Catholic to hold a good faith position on either side of the debate surrounding the Missouri Jobs Act?"  The Catholic Knight says "yes," while the Messenger seems to say "no."  Maybe it's time for Missouri's Catholic bishops to research both sides of the debate and speak for themselves on the matter.