It is rather disappointing that so many religious figures think that compassion should be a function of the state and that bigger government is good for the less fortunate. This approach not only undermines personal responsibility, but it also is anti‐empirical because of the ever‐growing body of evidence showing that high tax rates and excessive spending hinder growth and thus make it harder for poor people to climb the economic ladder.
Notwithstanding this real‐world evidence, the UK‐based Times reports that the Pope is about to attack tax havens as part of broader call for more redistribution. Not surprisingly, Italy’s Prime Minster is delighted that his nation’s taxpayers are being told to behave like sheep:
In his second encyclical – the most authoritative statement a pope can issue – the pontiff will denounce the use of “tax havens” and offshore bank accounts by wealthy individuals, since this reduces tax revenues for the benefit of society as a whole. …In it the pontiff focused on “those peoples who are striving to escape from hunger, misery, endemic diseases and ignorance and are looking for a wider share in the benefits of civilisation”. He called on the West to promote an equitable world economic system based on social justice rather than profit. …[Italian Prime Minister] Mr Prodi asked, adding: “If memory serves, St Paul exhorted the faithful to obey authority.”